Entries tagged with “Ogilvy”.


Two months ago Cape Town Tourism launched its new Ogilvy-developed advertising campaign, with the slogan ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’. It would appear that this slogan has not been supported by the Cape Town Tourism staff, most of whom have been on holiday over the festive period!

Seeing Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold Tweet from her Pringle Bay ‘holiday shack’, as she calls it, a year ago I was astounded that our city’s tourism bureau could close down its management over the period during which Cape Town is at its fullest.  Sadly, this is true too of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, marketing the Western Cape.   Mrs Helmbold is on maternity leave until the end of April, so can justify her time off this year.  The Communications Manager Skye Grove took a trip to the Cederberg region between Christmas and New Year, she communicated on Twitter, and the new Marketing Manager Velma Corcoran is still on leave, despite only having started with the organisation in September, surprising then that she has leave to take already!

As I have not seen a Cape Town Tourism media release for a while, the last one having been the poorly written one about the tourism performance in November, I visited the Cape Town Tourism website yesterday, and noted the following:

1.   The grammar-deficient media release is still on the website, with ‘warts’ and all, and was the last media release issued, more than three weeks ago.  Given the good tourism performance over the festive period, one would have thought that Cape Town Tourism could have written about this, and proactively supplied the paper-thin newspapers with material about Cape Town, to share with their out-of-town readers!

2.   The website contains an outdated list of accommodation ‘Winters are Cool’ specials!

3.   Blogposts on the Cape Town Tourism Blog on the website contain typing errors, if there is any writing at all, as most blogposts are a Flickr pic of the day!

4.  The biggest surprise was the poor content of the ‘Beyond Cape Town’ pages,  in that

*  there is no mention of the attractions in Stellenbosch, the largest, oldest and most visible wine region in our country, in the Cape Winelands sub-section!  Wine estate names are misspelled, and the wine estates mentioned are in Stellenbosch, but are not identified as being in this town, looking as if they could be in Franschhoek from the text!

*   in the Cape Overberg section, there is no mention of the Hermanus Wine Route (and not to be found in the Cape Winelands section either), focusing only on the whales for Hermanus. Hermanus suffers badly outside of the whale watching period, and its excellent wines could be an important means of bringing tourists and locals to the town from December – May in particular.

5.  In her ‘From the CEO’ statement on the website, Mrs Helmbold announces her five month maternity leave, with Enver Duminy heading up the operation in her absence.  Interesting is that Mrs Helmbold finally acknowledges that 2011 was ‘one of the toughest years for tourism’, having tried to counter our blogposts about this crisis months ago. Badly written, her statement suggests that ‘there is some optimism in the air’!   Mrs Helmbold does not reveal her organisation’s goals and marketing plans for 2012, but writes that ‘we have been soul-searching, and have worn our hearts on our sleeves’, an interesting and innovative marketing planning approach!  Could the Communications Manager not have corrected the poor writing, one would ask, but then she is on Twitter continuously, having little time to do any other communication work for Cape Town Tourism, it would appear!

Cape Town Tourism receives R40 million from the City of Cape Town, money which is generated from the ratepayers of Cape Town. Grant Pascoe, the (DA) City Councillor responsible for the Tourism and Events portfolios on the mayoral committee, has a most annoying habit of ignoring all e-mails, telephonic messages, and Tweets directed at him, and one wonders how the City can justify the wasted expenditure of some of the projects which Cape Town Tourism sponsored in 2011, and in not delivering on marketing Cape Town, as little marketing is likely in the next four months of Mrs Helmbold’s absence!

POSTSCRIPT 5/1: Enver Duminy, Acting CEO of Cape Town Tourism, replied today, after I called him and he read the blogpost we wrote today about the non-reaction to this blogpost“I would like to thank you for bringing some of your website comments to my attention, and the team have been tasked to review your points and amend spelling errors and remove expired content where and when possible, and as appropriate. Thank you for highlighting  the “Beyond Cape Town” sections, which the team will look into, and with the support our LTO and RTO colleagues in the regions, provide us with updated content to populate as such”.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The ANC’s Lynne Brown (previous Premier of the Western Cape) and Carol Beerwinkel are blaming Premier Helen Zille for having caused the tourism crisis in the province.  The party seems undecided about the exact cause of the crisis.  Just recently the ANC’s City of Cape Town Councillor Tony Ehrenreich blamed the exorbitant prices of crayfish and wines for the tourism crisis!

Writing on Politicsweb, the ANC politicians state that it is the ‘DA’s politicking’ that caused the underfunding of tourism.   The R40 million budget allocated to Cape Town Tourism by the City of Cape Town is too little to ‘properly market and grow the Western Cape as an international desired destination’, they write (the budget goes to the marketing of Cape Town only).  They state that it was Ms Zille, in her role as Mayor, who cut the budget, ‘to plunge the industry into the dire situation it finds itself in now’.  From having been the top tourist destination for local tourists, the Western Cape has slipped to fourth position.   They blame the DA for playing ‘political football’ with an industry that has an important job creation responsibility.  This led to Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism being divided, which meant that Cape Town could not capitalise on the World Cup, ‘with many tourism products like hotels and restaurants underutilised‘, they write.  ‘Today we see a fragmented and scattered messaged marketing plan which is very dangerous to the industry’,  they write in poor English.  The writers conclude that ‘no amount of money in the short term will fix the problem, if some basic problems are not addressed in the industry’, and they call for an Indaba to allow the transformation of the industry.

During Ms Zille’s tenure as Mayor of Cape Town, the Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Simon Grindrod, appointed a consultancy to analyse the success of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and found the organisation to not be meeting its brief adequately.  He motivated the cancellation of the City of Cape Town’s 50 % share of funding to Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and arranged for the amendment of the Cape Town Toruism constitution, to allow Cape Town Tourism to take on the marketing of Cape Town in addition to offering Visitor Information Services.   The Western Cape province, now headed by Premier Zille, funds Cape Town Routes Unlimited with about R15 million, for the marketing of the Western Cape, which includes the duplicated marketing of Cape Town by both tourism bodies.

We absolutely agree with the ANC that the Marketing Plan is poor (being ‘dangerous’, as they describe it, may be an exaggeration), but one wonders how they know what is in the Marketing Plan, as no one in the tourism industry has seen a copy of the Plan, as Cape Town Tourism is refusing to make it available to members, and it has not been posted on their website.  Ms Brown appears to have forgotten the tourism structure in the province. She should know that Cape Town Tourism is only focused on marketing Cape Town (although they do seem to go beyond their geographic boundaries, as with last week’s  ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ competition.)

The poor tourism performance since the World Cup cannot be laid at the door of Premier Zille, but rather must be blamed on the recession, the excessive rates charged by FIFA’s MATCH agency,  and the oversupply of accommodation, developed to cash in on the world’s largest sporting event.

We must also question how the City of Cape Town could have allocated the marketing funds to Cape Town Tourism, without evaluating the Marketing capabilities of the organisation’s CEO, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.  With no marketing experience, her organisation had to appoint a Marketing Manager, and the first incumbent of the job was Lianne Burton, a journalist with no Marketing experience.  This led to the appointment of a PR Manager and an e-Marketing Manager.  Burton left Cape Town Tourism at the end of June this year, but had already changed her relationship with the organisation to that of a consultant from the beginning of this year, meaning that Cape Town Tourism has been anchorless as far as Marketing goes for the last eight months, at a time when the tourism industry slid into crisis mode, without Cape Town Tourism picking this up.  A new e-marketing manager, Kaanita Coleman, was also recently appointed due to resignation of the previous incumbent, but no past experience of the new Manager detailed by Cape Town Tourism.  Whilst surprising for someone in e-Marketing position, it may be a good thing that she has only written four Tweets on her Twitter account to date, given the excessive time spent on Twitter by Cape Town Tourism’s PR Manager!

We doubt that the newly appointed Executive Marketing Manager Velma Corcoran will make any difference, coming from FMCG brand strategy and research consultancy OIL, linked to the Lowe Bull group, where she headed up its Cape Town office.  Mrs Corcoran’s first faux pas, on the day before joining Cape Town Tourism, was to rant as follows on public medium Twitter (@VelBotha) about SAA, an important partner for tourism in Cape Town, and her turn of phrase in such a senior position is not impressive (she still has her ex-employer profile on Twitter!): “EVERYTHING about makes me grumpy, miserable and pissed off. They seem to take pleasure in making it difficult”. Cape Town Tourism wrote as follows about Mrs Corcoran’s appointment: “..we believe that Velma brings a specialist branding and communications experience to our team at a time when we are committing to a strategy based on a strong urban brand positioning to grow demand for Cape Town locally and globally.  The tourism market is facing considerable challenges at the moment, and competitive and commercial experience was a prerequisite for this position’. We wonder then why Cape Town Tourism needs an Australian Strategetic consultant, when it has employed a local brand strategist.  Interesting is that Cape Town Tourism announced the appointment last week of ad agency Ogilvy, not waiting until Mrs Corcoran started her new job on Thursday, so that she could give the appointment her blessing and approval, given her agency background!

As much as the City of Cape Town evaluated the performance of Cape Town Routes Unlimited in terms of meeting its Marketing mandate, we believe that the City of Cape Town should do the same with Cape Town Tourism, as many tourism players do not believe that they are doing a satisfactory job in marketing Cape Town.   Neither Cape Town Tourism not Cape Town Routes Unlimited has the creativity nor the expertise to devise nor implement a Marketing Plan for the city, and therefore a fresh and new joint city and province tourism marketing body is needed, we believe.

POSTSCRIPT 13/9:  We have removed the content of the comment by Mavis Wilken, under threat of legal action by Webber Wentzel, lawyers of Cape Town Tourism.  On the same day as posting the comment on our blog, Ms Wilken forwarded to us an e-mail she addressed in June to the City of Cape Town’s Nombulelo Mofoko and the Western Cape province’s Theuns Vivian, and subsequently forwarded to Premier Helen Zille and to provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde, alleging irregularities at Cape Town Tourism.

POSTSCRIPT 15/9:  We have just received a further lawyer’s letter from Webber Wentzel, referring to the comment by Maria about Ms Grove, but no demand is made (yet).  In addition, the letter demands again, but not actioned by us, that we apologise to Mrs Helmbold for Mavis Wilken’s alleged ‘defamatory comment‘, that we promise never to write any ‘defamatory’ comments about Cape Town Tourism on Twitter, Facebook and on this Blog in future, and that we provide the full name and contact details of the commenter Mavis Wilken, so that they can take action against her!

POSTSCRIPT 15/9:  We have written an Open Letter to Mr Ian Bartes, the Chairman of Cape Town, after receiving his letter of threatened membership termination of our Whale Cottage Camps Bay, due to our Blog generally, and the comments received on its specifically!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter@WhaleCottage