Don’t you just love it when you read that a R140 million tender, which included coming up with a new international marketing slogan for South Africa, generated a slogan that is not any more creative than the previous boring slogan, and is not original, in having been used in other countries! Now it has been canned!
Last week the government approved the new slogan “More than you can imagine…” for South Africa, reports the Cape Times. The contract was handled by the International Marketing Council. The slogan will be used not only by the International Marketing Council, but will also be adopted by S A Tourism for its marketing of South Africa as a tourism destination. The new slogan replaces the meaningless slogan: “Alive with Possibility”, as it had slipped in its popularity rating to 64%, it is reported.
The only problem is that the slogan is not only totally generic, not creatively and uniquely defining what makes South Africa special, breaking a cardinal marketing rule in finding a positioning that differentiates one from the competition, but also is not unique to our country. Other uses of the same slogan have been in Portugal, the state of Maryland in the USA, the county Clackmannanshire in Scotland, by a training company in Australia, and in an advertising campaign in the USA!
Themba Maseko, a cabinet spokesperson, said the cabinet did not know of the slogan’s use elsewhere: “When the cabinet approved the slogan, it was not aware it had been used by other countries. Our understanding was that thorough research was conducted before the recommendation was made to cabinet.” The International Marketing Council CEO, Miller Matola, defended his Council’s slogan choice on the basis that it has not been used for any other country!
Now the government has canned the slogan due to its use elsewhere, reported the Sunday Times. “Once it had been brought to our attention that the slogan was not original, we had to investigate”, government spokesperson Vusi Mona is reported to have said. Bodies that had been consulted in the development of the slogan included the Departments of Tourism and Trade and Industry, Nedlac, S A Tourism, and the provinces. Excluded from the consultative process was the tourism industry!
The slogan development is part of a four year R140 million contract to market South Africa via the International Marketing Council, and cost R470000 to generate.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage