THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The crass and common condom ads during Top Billing on SABC3 and sold by SABC Sales, does damage to all these brands.


The SABC might say the shocking independent skills audit report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is old, but seriously deficient, mindless areas within the SABC are clearly visible - such as crass and common condom adverts placed and shown on SABC3 during Top Billing.

Keep in mind that Top Billing is positioned to be the SABC's most glamourous, high society and upmarket television hour.

The SABC knows that Top Billing is a premium brand, SABC3 knows that it is it's premium brand (and markets it a such). But someone please has to tell, or apparently failed to tell the SABC Sales division.

Or the people who sell the ads don't care, or don't know better.

It's not clear why the SABC and its SABC Sales division which sells the advertising and advertising slots, would place and allow inappropriate and unseemly condom ads during a show such as Top Billing.


It's not that Top Billing viewers don't have sex. They're people too.

It is that its not appropriate for the TV property, the brand, and the viewer experience of the hour which the SABC and Tswelopele Productions tries very hard to create on a Thursday night.

It exhibits such a lack of thought, context, ad planning, ad buying and ad strategy.

Thursday's condom commercial shows a lack of actual brand building and brand enhancing strategy (on the side of the ad buyer), and a lack of respect for a brand such as Top Billing from the SABC and SABC3's side.

Lovers+ condoms meanwhile throw wasted money in the water. Money which could have been spent better with a better positioned TV commercial strategy in better slots on the SABC's TV rate card.

And poor Top Billing sits with trash inserted in-between its bigger narrative of trying to sell escapism and fantasy to viewers for a precious hour a week.

Does the SABC as a public broadcaster simply want to make money at all cost and then just run and place ads willy-nilly in whatever timeslots?

Are actual thought given to what the product or service is, what the actual show or programming is, and whether those complement each other, serve the advertiser and its audience ... or not?


Or perhaps the Top Billing audience and Top Billing viewers on SABC3 are the type of people who sit at a table and throw condoms on it while they eat like the Lovers+ condom ad depict. I don't think so.

Last month DStv Media Sales did the same thing, advertising callus commercials and showing how to get ear wax out of your ear during a cooking food show on M-Net Series Reality.

Everybody needs to make money and pay the bills. We all get that and respect that. But the people who sell ad space and TV spots just need to be more clever about it and stop being lazy and thoughtless and take more care with ad bookings.

The SABC, in fact all South African TV broadcasters and TV brands, need to judiciously protect, foster, and jealously guard their hard-built and premium brands. That's why companies want to advertise during those shows in the first place.

Showing low-class ear wax removal ads and condom ads luring a woman in under a blanket during your best, high LSM attracting programming, is doing the opposite.