Lowe SA in media blackout after ‘homophobic’ Flora ad debacle

Lowe South Africa is currently subject to what effectively constitutes a media blackout following instructions from Lowe & Partners headquarters in London to decline media interviews. The Johannesburg office of the agency was heavily criticised in media and on social platforms for an ad it produced for Unilever margarine brand Flora that was deemed homophobic by critics.

Lowe + Partners criticised for ‘homophobic’ Flora ad

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Agency Lowe + Partners is having a rough couple of months. First its Cape Town agency faced international criticism for using blackface in a TV ad for client Cape Town Fish Market. Now the Johannesburg agency faces another backlash, this time for what critics suggest is a homophobic ad for Flora margarine. The ad, on a pink background, displays the words ‘Uhh dad, I’m gay’ in the shape of a bullet, heading for a porcelain heart. The tag-line reads “You need a strong heart today”.

Hermaneutics: ‘Blackface’ ad faces international backlash

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Cape Town agency Lowe + Partners and client Cape Town Fish Market has been strongly criticised for using ‘blackface’ in their latest TV commercial. The ad has even been featured on Al-Jazeera who reported that the it had sparked ‘outrage among South Africans.’

In American history especially, ‘blackface’ was used to create stereotyped caricatures of black people. Today it is still sometimes used as social commentary or satire but it is generally considered politically incorrect.

The ad in question references a stereotypical ‘African Dictator’ – with an actor in blackfaceand wearing an Afro – diverting funds into his “expense account.” The ad, which consists of various vignettes, features the same actor also playing a prostitute, a dodgy doctor, porn director and rental agent.

Mvelase Peppetta blogged that he found the ad seriously offensive and suggested lack of transformation in the ad industry might have played a role in the ad getting flighted in the first place. “People far smarter and more experienced in SA’s marketing industry than me have time and again explained how the lack of diversity in our ad industry leads to these kind of horribly offensive and stereotypical ads,” wrote Peppetta.

SA wins Design, Press & Radio Lions, takes first gold #canneslions

The Design, Press, Radio and Cyber Lions category winners have been announced at the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Lowe drops Bull, Peter Badenhorst joins as ECD

Lowe Bull is rebranding as Lowe + Partners South Africa after the international parent company acquired a majority share in the local agency. Its two offices become Lowe Johannesburg and Lowe Cape Town.

Breaking now: Matthew Bull talks about the new NY shop he is launching with Andrew Whitehouse

Breaking news: Matthew Bull, former chief creative officer of Lowe & Partners (an Interpublic Group company) and founder of SA agency Lowe Bull, has teamed up with Andrew Whitehouse, Executive Creative Director at FoxP2, to launch a New York based ad shop, the Bull Whitehouse. The agency will be a sister agency to South Africa’s FoxP2.

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