by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) YouTube has spawned a new generation of video creators — people who create content in the form of short programmes, traditionally done using a webcam. But ever since the first YouTube millionaires hit the headlines, production values have improved dramatically.

Today’s mini-moviemakers seem to have access to uber production, including proper editing, graphics and scripting. South Africa is up with this trend, and, although some attempts are cringe-worthy, there a host of breakthrough and standout brands — and Suzelle DIY is becoming a firm favourite after I added her channel to my subscription list.

The “Bitesized Do-It-Yourself Webseries” is conceived by filmmaker and animator Ari Kruger and illustrator/designer Julia Anastasopoulos, also known as Knolc. In December 2014, online retailer used the holiday season and four episodes of Suzelle DIY to promote the brand, as well as its wish list feature— and I think it’s a very clever association.

The series is professionally shot, and, unlike many vlogs, the sound is well-produced — no echo or fuzzy microphones, and well-balanced music. The comedy lies in the delivery.

We South Africans love to poke fun at ourselves. We especially like to parody our archetypes: the bumbling politician; the hoity-toity housewife from [insert the name your ‘larney’ suburb here]; the socially inept schoolteacher; or the self-aggrandising, the self-conscious and the self-defeating among us. These parodies can be unkind sometimes but, if done with charm, empathy and good humour, they can be a window into what it means to be ‘Seffrican’.

Suzelle has what one might call a ‘typical’ South African delivery, a fascinating aesthetic and entertaining content. The channel provides DIY tips, from the unusual and quirky, to the crazy but practical. Want to peel a whole bucket of potatoes in a hurry? All you need is a drill and an unused toilet-brush. How about making an avocado face-mask, or a ‘braai pie’? The tips are eclectic, unusual and usually useful.

Presenting herself as a ‘boeremeisie’ (farm girl) from Somerset West, Suzelle’s hair is done up in a 70s-style ‘beehive’, usually with some sort of bow or flower adorning it. She smiles and bats her eyes at the camera, and the editing takes advantage of the awkward moments when Suzelle says something with a double meaning, or when Marianne, her assistant, does something wrong. The great dynamics between the two adds to the humour.

Suzelle has an accent that certain people assume when they’re trying to sound ‘posh’ — which is just a layer of pretension on top of small-town mannerisms and enunciation. For example, she would pronounce the word ‘hyena’ as ‘high-heenah’ — that, combined with a sort of singsong delivery, typifies this character.

At the end of each of the four videos is an embedded link, generally to ‘Suzelle’s Wish list’. Click on this and you are transported to the website, where Suzelle has selected a wide range of items — and most of them are pink, because, well, she really likes the colour pink.

Suzelle DIY Christmas Special sponsored by TakealotThe idea of a wish list isn’t entirely new, but the association with Suzelle works: just seeing her eclectic range of pink items helps to bring home the concept, while showcasing the range of products that has to offer.

With over 24 400 subscribers and some 2.7 million combined views, the channel certainly has a dedicated following (and there’s also Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). In terms of digital advertising, it is certainly more impactful than banner ads or those annoying spots that get slotted in at the start of a YouTube clip, where you are forced to watch for at least five seconds before you can hit the ‘skip’ button.

YouTube is starting to be present viable opportunities for marketing in the digital space. As the cable-cutter generation spends more time on their small screens than in front of the TV, there’s massive opportunity for breakout entertainers and up-and-coming content creators on YouTube; all they need is the commercial support.

May and Suzelle DIY be just the start of something new and fresh!


Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.

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