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Advertising and Media

  • Uk’shona Kwelanga review: if only it weren’t an ad

    With the rise of digital media comes a host of interesting ways for storytellers to express themselves. We've seen the likes of movies told exclusively on Snapchat, and television shows enriched by the fictional social media lives of their characters. And now we've seen a WhatsApp drama. Uk'shona Kwelanga (or Death of Langa) is an innovative ad campaign by Sanlam about a family dealing with the loss of its patriarch. Told entirely as if the viewer is part of the family's group chat, Uk'shona places you front and center for the drama that a family death inevitably brings. Unfortunately, what is an intriguing and exciting concept...

  • Tornadoes and Katrina: the totally fake news from Cape Town’s storm

    If you're reading this piece, good for you. It means that you're actively searching for the truth among the steaming pile of manure that is "fact" on social media. There have been a number of fake images and videos circulating on social media during the intense cold front currently lashing Cape Town and surrounds. Thanks to swelling public interactions, they've also gone viral. And that's not a good thing. Considering the severity of the storm -- the fact that people are now homeless in the likes of Imizamo Yethu, Khayelitsha and Mfuleni -- should be more than enough reason for people...

  • Track Cape Town’s storm in realtime with these 3 free resources

    You might've heard passing reports about Cape Town's inclement weather forecast today. These reports suggest that the oncoming cold front will be one of the fiercest the city has seen in quite some time. While you'll likely need an umbrella before leaving the house tomorrow, you can also track the progress of the front as it sweeps across the peninsula. Cape Town’s winter storm coverage: Cape Town storm: what’s running, delayed or cancelled in the city #StormHelen: Twitter names Cape Town’s storm after Helen Zille Alerts ring across Twitter as Cape Town’s Wednesday storm bears closer Much like hurricanes and other weather systems, cold fronts...

  • Coconuts: Cape Town entrepreneurs feud on Facebook after ‘blatant’ foul play

    We've been giving avocados stick this month on Memeburn, but today, we're looking at two coconut-orientated Cape Town startups locked in a social and legal battle. A piece published on blog Fury Marketing this week details the story of Jenna Leigh Smuts -- the owner of small Cape Town business Coconut Connection. Smuts is accusing Heather Cheung -- her former business partner -- of stealing her business. Cheung refutes these claims, suggesting that Smuts registered the business as sole shareholder without her consent. Cheung currently owns the competing business dubbed Coconut Connect. The maelstrom While the original business is three years old, it...

  • Sanlam debuts SA’s first WhatsApp drama in novel marketing campaign

    We've seen social media used extensively as the vehicle for performance art, but what about less image-heavy services like WhatsApp? Arriving via a clever marketing campaign by Sanlam, South African drama series Uk’shona Kwelanga (or The Death of Langa) is set to debut on the Facebook-owned chat app next month. Yes, a drama series made exclusively for WhatsApp. According to the press release, the show "tells the tale of a South African family struggling to deal with the emotional and financial ramifications of loss while planning their father's funeral". The screenplay is penned by Bongi Ndaba (previous head writer of Generations) while a...

  • McDonald’s ‘Dad’ ad trends on YouTube again after global backlash

    When Pepsi suggested that its product could solve the world's problems with the help of Kendall Jenner, you might've thought it would be the most ridiculed brand of the year. But nope. McDonald's just joined that competition. The global fast food company this week pulled an advertisement it first aired on 12 May, featuring a boy and his mother chatting about the former's dead father. Although the ad is well filmed, adequately paced and genuinely touching, McDonald's too makes the mistake Pepsi made, suggesting that a Happy Meal (or in this case, a filet-o-fish) can help you forget about dead loved...

  • Android O is killing Google’s blob emoji (and replacing that adorable kitty)

    Google might've announced a slew of updates to its products yesterday, but its most important development was mostly swept under the rug. The company's derpy emoji, which featured anthropomorphous blobs wearing emotionless faces, will finally be replaced by more expressive figures. This is all part of Android O's -- Google's upcoming mobile operating system -- support of Emoji 5.0, part of Unicode 10.0. According to Emojipedia, there are also a number of new emoji heading to the OS, including a mage, a face that's enjoying a good vomit, and of course a face with a hand over its mouth. If those...

  • WordPress debuts new TV ads in limited trial run

    Content publishing platform WordPress has this week debuted its first television advertisements. This is the first push in the company's larger marketing budget for 2017. WordPress co-founder and CEO of Automattic Matt Mullenweg noted that the company will be increasing its public advertising, presumably to compete against the likes of Wix and Squarespace. On his personal blog, he also explained that the company still has "lots to learn" in the television advertising space. "There is lots to learn and much to follow, but we have our first TV ads up in six markets to test. Each shares a story of a business...

  • 15+ SA journalists you should follow on Twitter [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. Twitter, although not exactly lucrative for its creators, is a fantastic tool for journalists. From sourcing stories to tweeting their final copies for all to read, Twitter has become an essential tool in the journalist's tote bag. But the social network is actually changing the face of journalism and story-telling itself. How, I hear you ask? Twitter has become...

  • 15 classic Star Wars GIFs to use this #MayTheFourth

    We know the pressure you're under today. While mashing away at your keyboard trying to get those reports and submissions prepared, you're also trying to find that perfect Star Wars GIF to use on Twitter or Facebook for #MayTheFourth. But no need to worry. We've got you covered. Trawling the length and breadth of GIF repository Giphy, we've listed some of the most iconic moments in the Star Wars saga captured in pure rolling-image format magic. These's are some of the classic GIFs you should probably think about using today. It's a trap via GIPHY Sensual Yoda via GIPHY Angrykin Skywalker via GIPHY Toodles, Lando via GIPHY Deal with it,...

  • SoundCloud now features Spotify-like personal, curated playlists

    SoundCloud has long been known as a portal for recording artists to upload their tracks, and listeners to indulge in them gratis. But it's also becoming a key player in the content discovery race. The company's new feature, dubbed The Upload, takes a leaf out of Spotify's personal playlist curation handbook. SoundCloud will now provide listeners with a "regularly updated, bespoke playlist of new music relevant to you". "With a constantly expanding mix of music uploaded to SoundCloud every day, we've now made it easier to filter through it all," the company writes in its blog. SoundCloud now features a Spotify-like curated, regularly...

  • Facebook knows when teens are vulnerable, then targets them with ads

    "Don't be evil" is a common phrase uttered by Google executives, but we can't help but think Facebook should perhaps adopt it too. A 23-page document, which sheds some light on Facebook's more sinister algorithm and advertising practices, was leaked Monday and obtained by online paper The Australian (paywall). Later picked up by news.com.au, the document reveals how Facebook Australia and New Zealand employed the hive of user data it gathers to help advertisers better promote campaigns. And no, it's not just talking about age, location or preference in pizza toppings. The document notes that the social network can target teenagers as...

  • Wikipedia’s new crowdfunded newspaper ‘can fix news’

    Today, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune -- an online crowdfunded newspaper looking to combat "fake news." According to Wales, media's move to the internet broke news reporting. Whereas before people paid newspapers to give them the truth, now readers expect content for free, forcing publications to rely on ad revenue. Wales argues that this has derailed news media's role as truth-tellers. He also criticises how social media algorithms spoon-feed users what they want to hear to "keep clicking at all costs." His remedy is a publication that hires professional journalists to work "side by side as equals" with the community. This team will author, fact-check, and verify...

  • Cracked: could this comedy site’s model prevent another ‘Shelley Garland’?

    I’ve been reluctant to add my voice to the hailstorm of opinions surrounding the ongoing Huffington Post South Africa 'Shelley Garland' saga (you can read a full summary of the events here). Suffice to say it's a mess. People have used the opportunity to settle personal scores, throw around racial slurs, and defend ethically questionable journalism. Not only is this not helpful, it means that some of South Africa’s most senior journalists have wasted energy venting anger, rather than trying to find practical solutions. That's a pity, because there are solutions. They don't require slamming shut the gates of publishing, or burning the whole...

  • Google doesn’t want you using adblockers, so its building its own

    Google's wildly popular Chrome browser could soon feature its own adblocker, according to sources quoted by the WSJ. "People familiar with the company's plans" suggest that this adblocker, built by Google itself, won't function entirely like uBlock or AdBlock Plus which allows users to block all ads on demand. Instead, it will filter ads that don't meet Google's specific criteria. The criteria, outlined in the Initial Better Ads Standards, deem around 12 current advertising systems and techniques to be unsuitable and downright annoying for users. Pre-content pop-ups, ads that just won't stop playing or shutting up, or ads that stick to...