‘First ever’ crowdsourced ad competition to showcase SA

South Africa’s International Marketing Council (IMC), custodian of Brand South Africa, is sponsoring a first of its kind online ad competition to crowdsource creativity and insight from around the world to showcase South Africa as a vibrant and competitive nation brand.

Launched in conjunction with the Chief Marketing Officers Council, a global organisation of senior marketing executives, the Get Wildly Creative About South Africa ad contest is being hosted on Zooppa.com, a revolutionary social media site which brands like Microsoft are using to generate people-inspired viral advertising.

The IMC, the CMO Council and its new GeoBranding Centre will use viral communications, online conversations, blog postings and cyber chatter to talk up interest and participation in this innovative country branding initiative targeted at the world’s 1.7 billion Internet users.

Current and aspiring creative professionals, digital media buffs, South Africans at home and abroad, and anyone whose heart and soul are stirred by South Africa and its continent are invited to come up with inventive ways to produce a fresh and evocative message about a country on which the world’s attention will be riveted when the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 100 days.

“With the world’s eyes upon it as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is seeking to establish itself as a competitive and relevant nation brand,” said Paul Bannister, CEO of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. “We’re excited about the potential for social media channels to generate greater discourse and narrative about our brand from people who have experienced or researched our special place in the world.”

Entry information and a creative brief designed by the IMC, giving background on the contest assignment and links to South African resources, are available on Zooppa.com.

Cash and prizes — donated by SA Tourism, in-country partners and creative technology solution providers — will be awarded in a range of categories including Best Print Campaign, Best Online Banner Campaign and Best Video Segment or Commercial. Top entrants will have their work showcased globally to the CMO Council’s 5000 members who control more than $150 billion in annual marketing spend. Winners will be recognized at a special IMC-hosted reception in New York City, the world’s media center and creative hub. They will also win trip packages courtesy of SA Tourism and other travel, hospitality, lodging and merchandise partners in South Africa.

The CMO Council’s founder and executive director Donovan Neale-May is a prominent member of the Global South Africans “digiaspora” initiative the IMC has launched to help mobilize the talent and knowledge of South Africans who live abroad but who, like Neale-May, retain a deep commitment to the country’s success and the well-being of its people.

“We’re looking for inspired messaging and out-of-the-box advertising executions that capture and convey the essence, attributes and qualities of Brand South Africa,” said Donovan Neale-May, who pointed to the country’s growing tourism, trade and economic development success.

With Get Wildly Creative About South Africa and the “digiaspora” project, the IMC extends its track record of pioneering exciting new uses of social media to build the South African brand. In addition to operating the hugely successful national portal, southafrica.info, and mediaclubsouthafrica.com, which offers high quality copy and royalty-free pictures for use by global media, IMC has launched the people-powered brandsouthafricablog.com, plus an array of Twitter streams and Facebook pages. In 2008 the IMC scored another first by bringing top US bloggers to South Africa to live blog the country’s accomplishments in science and technology.

The contest is part of a major Nation Branding research project being undertaken the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the International Marketing Council of South Africa, which is responsible for defining and shaping Brand South Africa’s image throughout the world.

With social media networks hosting billions of monthly visitors, conversations and connections, the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center is looking to evaluate the level of voice, influence and creative pull in these interactive online communities, particularly as it relates to shaping perceptions of countries, destinations, locations and origin of products.

Separately, the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center will be conducting monthly analytics on the tonality, sentiment and prevalence of conversations, commentary and news about Brand South Africa leading up to the four-week FIFA World Cup event, starting June 11. It will source Social Media Analytics from PR Newswire, which tracks the tonality and sentiment of global media coverage through 30,000 online news sources in 12 languages. It also intelligently agents and analyzes five million forum posts a day, as well as conversations and commentaries in 20 million blogs social media networks, news groups, bulletin boards, etc.

With billions invested in this year’s Africa sports spectacular, the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center will be looking at the host country’s effectiveness in shaping perceptions and using the global football extravaganza to optimize its reputation and appeal worldwide. Key determinants of Nation Brand value creation will be effective message management and clarity of brand positioning relative to the visitor/player experience, global media attention, and viral online community conversations and content sharing. Special research in the area of Nation Branding and the measurement of mega-sports event sponsorship effectiveness is a new area of authority leadership by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.

The International Marketing Council of South Africa was established in August 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa.



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