Nando’s CEO ad: Great fun, but is it effective?

I love the Nando’s CEO campaign, but it’s still an old school advertising campaign in the ‘interrupting the viewer’ model. There is no doubt that it’s witty and clever and it uses multiple channels effectively, but I am not convinced that it will retain appeal after the initial reaction from viewers.

I have always been a fan of opportunistic advertising, and I love the new Nando’s viral ad. In tried and tested Nando’s style, it makes sure that it will be noticed, and that is always the biggest problem that advertising faces!

When you are thinking in the traditional marketing way, you think of how to interrupt people. You find people driving down a road and you put up a billboard, you find people watching a movie on TV so you put in an ad, but they will just ignore you unless you do something to get noticed. The ad must be relevant, original and impactful. There are so many ads out there that our best defence is to ignore what we don’t care about.

The Nando’s CEO campaign does an excellent job of interrupting you because it is able to ride on the massive awareness created by the huge Cell C campaign.

In case you missed it, you can check it out right here:

In January I was persuaded to write a forecast for the year ahead. You know the kind of thing which we all get completely wrong and hope will be soon forgotten. I called it “2010 – The year the penny drops?” I felt that marketers and agencies would start getting the message and start understanding the power of the internet in 2010.

Looking back on the year, I think at least some of that has happened.

There is no point in rehashing the Cell C campaign, but under the cover of Noahgate, Cell C is running a drive to establish its data product. If any of you have used the Cell C speedstick you will know as I do that the third mobile operator does currently provide the best broadband data product in South Africa.

Did the Trevor Noah campaign help them spread the message in any way? I doubt it. In fact I think it made the job more difficult as they had created a crisis of trust. What helped was when the early adopters started using the product they loved it and told their friends. I was given a 5GB Speedstick by Lars Reichelt, the actual CEO of Cell C and I know I have told my 10 000 closest friends about how well it works.

I have met Lars Reichelt a number of times since my articles on Cell C appeared. I like him, I think that his strategy is good. I think that he really cares about the customer experience; I think that he is sincere about delivery. I have also experienced his personal commitment to this goal. Having said all that, I still think that the campaign was a waste.

Neither campaign has used the internet as well as they could have. Nando’s merely used the internet as a channel to broadcast their message, while Cell C’s use has been really to stumble about in the channel talking about engagement but really mostly doing an enormous amount for ad industry profitability.

In the final analysis this is all noise, both the Nando’s campaign and the Cell C campaign are making enough noise to get noticed.

It only drives awareness. Yes, everyone is talking about it but there really is no correlation between awareness and purchase, although there is obviously a correlation between no awareness and no sales.

What I think is significant about the Nando’s campaign is that it is a signal that corporates are starting to understand the power of the internet and, because it is being successfully used, more and more will use it and the industry will grow.

The real power of the internet is not because it’s cheap or because it’s a better way to interrupt. The real power of the internet is the social connections it creates. It’s because of how it adds value to where brands are really built, by the customer experience and because when you have a good experience you will tell your friends.

The Nando’s campaign is really just another campaign designed to interrupt you. Social media will show its real value when corporates stop doing campaigns and start building resonance or relationships with their customers.

Cell C has finally gotten the early adopters talking and it’s not because of Trevor Noah. They are talking because they have noticed that the Cell C speedstick is fantastic, and more would talk if the agency started giving them, the talkers, an easy way to talk about it. That’s what social media marketing is about.

The Nando’s campaign will soon fade away, quicker than the Noah noise. But Cell C data will be successful because people have noticed how good it is and the word will spread.

Stop thinking campaigns: Think experience, think relationships.



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