Newspaper Advertising - The Creative Potential: Doom - South Africa

BACKGROUND

This campaign for Doom insecticide has picked up accolades at home and abroad. The work was designed for newspapers by TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, which invented its own print brief and then went to the client for permission to use the ads. They ran from the end of 2004 and into the first part of 2005.

The three executions, which were intended to be unlike any insecticide ad that had been seen before, were illustrated in an old-fashioned, comic-strip style. They had a horror-genre feel to depict the sorts of terrors that might prevail in a world of insects. The art director Adam Weber doubled up as the illustrator.

The campaign has attracted great interest, winning a silver Lion at Cannes, appearing in the D&AD Annual and landing a Grand Prix at the South African Loerie Awards. It also won gold and two silvers at the country's Eagle Print Awards.

The Eagles, which are dedicated to print advertising, have been running for the past decade. Two judges are recruited from other parts of the world and the work is judged anonymously. The awards have helped to elevate the standard of print ads in South Africa.

TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, which became part of the TBWA network in the late 90s, is ranked the number-one agency in South Africa in terms of creativity.

Other internationally recognised agencies include The Jupiter Drawing Room, Network BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather.

Newspapers in South Africa tend to be a more creative environment for advertising agencies than other media, given the relatively small budgets that go into TV. Newspapers reach 39 per cent of all adults. Of the estimated R15 billion (£1.25 billion) total adspend in South Africa, approximately 25 per cent is spent on newspapers. Print (newspapers and magazines combined) attracts 40 per cent, closely followed by TV with 39 per cent. Radio accounts for 13 per cent.

REVIEW - Graham Warsop chairman, The Jupiter Drawing Room

According to an article I chanced upon recently, the Brits can proudly take credit for the growth of the newspaper medium in South Africa. When the British settled here, their insatiable desire for news from home had the presses working overtime. As the settler population moved into the hinterland, it took the paper-reading habit with it and the country-town newspaper was born. Thus marketers were afforded the opportunity to promote their goods and encourage consumption of their products nationwide.

So how are newspapers faring in South Africa today? Rather well, actually, in a couple of respects. In contrast to one of our neighbours to the north, South Africa has one of the world's most liberal constitutions and the freedom of the press is enshrined within it.

While newspaper sales in recent years have been relatively static, the launch of the Daily Sun has created an entirely new market no-one believed existed - the 25- to 35-year-old urban working class sector. This market is cash-strapped, is the generation most affected by poor education and has the least reason to read. Yet, they've flocked to this "entry level" newspaper in their droves. I am reliably informed this cannot be attributed solely to the topless page-three models.

If I were to choose an ad that was representative of much of the press advertising here, you'd be looking at ugly product shots of baked-bean tins with big prices. So I've chosen instead an ad campaign that delivers what all good advertising should. It's distinctive, relevant and likeable, with liberal doses of charm.

Doom is a well-known insect killer in South Africa. Many households have a can tucked away under the kitchen sink. So the task was to build brand usage and loyalty by differentiating the brand in a likeable, memorable way. Each ad in the series does this quite nicely. Whereas most newspaper ads use colour photography, it's refreshing to come across a campaign that relies on black-and-white illustration (even for the product shot).

The ads don't require a high degree of literacy and the work that went into them gives me confidence that we are dealing with a quality brand.

The campaign, like the product, demonstrates that execution is everything.

CREDITS Project: Doom Client: Adcock Ingram Agency: TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Johannesburg Writer: Hennie Stander Art director: Adam Weber Creative director: Paul Warner Illustrator: Adam Weber