by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Vodacom, Ogilvy & Mather South Africa and director Teboho Mahlatsi of Bomb Commercials celebrate its refreshed image with a summer campaign that aims to get mobile users movin’, movin’ or, rather, shakin’, baby, shakin’.

For mobile network operators, summer is the ideal opportunity to promote their services — December is the time when friends and families reconnect. Vodacom continues its strategy of enticing customers to interact using its cellphone app. Why not, given how successful the mobile operator’s competitions generally are? Last year’s “Play Every Day” campaign, which rewarded customers with daily prizes from airtime to cash, was reportedly the its most successful campaign to date; publicity material states that the campaign engaged 16m customers over a 10-month period. The mobile operater is building on last year’s gains with #ShakeEveryDay: a new app-based interactive campaign that gets customers to shake their phones in order to win prizes. The gamification is simple but solid; the concept is based on the fun use of motion-detection that is standard in most smartphones.

Vodacom also revealed its brand refresh a month ago. It’s changed its logo to a simplified form with a flat design execution, the ‘speech mark’ in white reversed on red; this is in line with Vodafone’s new look (Vodafone owns 65% of Vodacom). The new slogan is “The Future is Exciting. Ready?”

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But back to the campaign. The ad revolves around a character who introduces himself at the beginning as “Bra Shakes”. Throughout the TVC, he’s is dressed in a variety of different, brightly coloured outfits, from a lime, green and gold suit to a cream-and-gold Bollywood outfit, and a few others. The whole ad is a kaleidoscope of colours and shake-worthy activities.

“Vodacom is giving you stuff for free. Well, there’s a small, nyenyane [little] thing,” he says. “You must shake, baba.”

This launches the ad into a montage, set to a jazzy uptempo piece.

Vodacom Shake every day 2Tsonga women do a traditional dance shake their hips in time to the music, with cellphones attached to their waists. In a bus driving down a bumpy road, there is a ‘Bra Shakes’ bobble-head doll on the dashboard, beside a cellphone in a mount. The shaking of the bus has triggered the Vodacom app, which comes alive with a graphic displaying a prize of 2GB of airtime, and confetti flies out of the screen. (In the actual app, when you win a prize, there is a graphic animation of confetti — so this is a bit of fun poetic license that takes the ad into the realm of fantasy.) In the next scene, a carguard is directing a car into a parking spot, and holding his phone in his hand. The result? His phone also explodes with confetti, and he exclaims: “Yay! Dis hy! Yay! [Hooray, that’s it!]”

“The carguard shake!” says Bra Shakes, seated at a nearby table.

In a scene that could be taken from a Bollywood movie, all the dancers are holding cellphones, and their energetic moves are making their phones shake. Bra Shakes appears in their midst. “The Bollywood shake!” he laughs.

In the final scene, two men are filmed from behind, seated on deck chairs at the beach. Two women in bikinis walk past and wave to them, saying, “Hi, Bra Shakes.”

Both men reply, “Hi.” They catch each other’s eye.

“No,” says Bra Shakes, “I’m Bra Shakes.”

The camera cuts to a closeup of the other man. It is none other than Shakes Mashaba, former Bafana Bafana coach. “I’m Bra Shakes,” says Mashaba.

The app works as advertised, although I felt a little silly shaking my phone until a graphic circle filled the screen. But this is aimed at the younger crowd, for whom airtime and data are often much needed. There are also 12 cars to be won, and a grand prize of a million rand.

This is a vibey, fun refresh of a campaign that proved its mettle. Well done to Vodacom and its brand team for an advertising effort that drives efficacy and great returns.


Agency: Ogilvy & Mather South Africa
Chief creative officer: Matthew Barnes
Creative director: Nashville Mungofa
Copywriter: Balekane Mokoditoa
Art director: Nyiko Mahange
TV producer: Helen d’Hotman
Brand lead (client service): Kim Kullmann
Senior digital project manager: Brandon Schimper
Production company: Bomb Commercials
Executive producer: Gavin Joubert
Director: Teboho Mahlatsi
DOP: Werner Maritz
Post-production company: The Upstairs Ludus Johannesburg
Special effects: Sphere
Editor: Andrew Trail
Grader: Michelle Wilson
Online operator: Schalk van der Merwe
Audio engineers: Sean Williams and Lorens Persson



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. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at

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2 replies on “Ad of the Week: Shake it, Vodacom”

  1. Hi vodacom,iam looking for ur song on the advt.bra shakes #shake it pls,iam a dj ill be proud to play the song

  2. We appreciate vodacom network as one of our best network, which makes our daily bases easier to communicate with our love ones everywhere at anytime with proper connection of mobile cellphones.

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