Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new — ads, product, packaging, design, insight, food, décor and more!

  • King Price captures consumers with comedy
  • Burger King’s Whopper guide dog
  • Ballo expands into apparel

A-tractor humour

King Price Insurance has once again put its light-hearted brand tonality and messaging at the forefront for the first TVC in a new brand campaign to raise awareness in the cluttered insurance industry.

In an industry not traditionally known for its sense of humour, the new ad (about a farmer getting sexy with his tractor) is essentially about something being lost in translation, which is something that happens all too often in South Africa. This is one of the reasons, says Natalie Bisset, King Price general manager of marketing, that King Price goes to such lengths to write its policy wording in easy to understand, everyday language, rather than complicated legalese: “Our clients understand exactly what they’re paying for. King Price is big on humour — it’s the way we take the ‘eina’ out of insurance. And, if we can encourage South Africans to own that they’re flawsome, we’ll do that, too. Because we totally own that, while we’re awesome, fixing our flaws is always top of our to-do list.”

Strategically, this is the first ad in a brand campaign conceptualised in-house, and the series isn’t focused on the insurance offering. Freckle, the creative baby of writer/actor/film-maker duo Bennie Fourie and Bouwer Bosch, was responsible for the concept and production. The brief was open-ended: “Push brand. Be funny. Embrace cultural diversity. Disrupt the clutter. Emphasise that we make sense when others don’t. That was pretty much it.”

“What makes the ad so funny,” says Fourie, “is that we stripped away all the gimmicks and focused on capturing the human element. It’s a simple story. Our main character, Callie, doesn’t even know he’s funny. That’s where the comedy happens.”

In terms of raising brand-awareness, and distinguishing the King Price brand in a cluttered insurance market, the ad has been viewed more than 326 000 times on YouTube and reportedly went viral all over the world on WhatsApp in less than 24 hours. Bisset says that this level of online uptake enables massive re-marketing opportunities, which is where targeted product-specific messaging will come into play: “Having a holistic plan in place is critical. Advertising is just one part of any successful strategic marketing campaign, and must translate back into sales. We’re still very much the ‘new kid on the block’ and we don’t have massive marketing budgets to throw around, so everything we do translates back to our ‘lean-and-mean’ family value. Minimum spend for maximum impact.”

Brendan Barnes, of punk rock band Crash Car Burn-fame, did the cinematography for the ad, and Peach van Plezten created the music.


The best nose in town

The second-largest fast food hamburger chain in the world, Burger King, has always had an open-door policy when it comes to certified guide dogs. To show how important this is to the brand, some time was taken to teach Flynn, a guide dog, how to sniff out a Whopper anywhere in the world and make a visually impaired Whopper fan’s wish come true.

Nathan, 29 years old and visually impaired, loves flame-grilled burgers from Burger King. His faithful companion, Flynn, never leaves his side, so to enjoy flame-grilled burgers whenever Nathan desires, he came up with a great idea: combining the obvious. Nathan asked Burger King about the possibility of training Flynn to recognise the special scent of flame-grilled burgers and Flynn started his special training for his new position as a “Whopper Dog”, leading his owner to the closest Burger King restaurant on command. The story that follows, beautifully captured by German ad agency, Grabarz & Partners, takes the viewer on a two-week journey to witness Flynn’s progress and ultimate success at finding a Whopper in Paris, France.

Ezelna Jones, marketing executive for Burger King SA, says, “This film proves that our flame-grilled burgers are not only superior when it comes to taste but also when it comes to the delicious aroma.”


More bling from Ballo

Cape Town-based, wooden sunglasses brand, Ballo, is making waves as the success of its unique sunglasses has resulted in an expansion of its range into the apparel market, using hemp as the material of choice.

Ballo apparel collageAlistair Barnes, owner and founder of Ballo, came up with an idea to design and create a pair of sunglasses that are unique and completely sustainable. The first material used was a pair of the designer’s old jeans and since then. ShweShwe fabric and cork offcuts, old advertising billboards and hemp canvas offcuts have been used. Sticking to local heritage, the Ballo range comes in different shapes and sizes, with locally inspired prints showing off the brand’s African design.

According to Barnes, sustainability and durability are core principles of the brand and are being carried through to the range of apparel currently being developed: “This is possible because China has been fine-tuning its hemp production for thousands of years and [has] managed to perfect a process that has almost no impact on the environment.”

Men’s t-shirts, shorts, caps, bum-bags and totes are all coming soon.


Cheryl HunterShelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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