Who Are South Africa's Bankable Stars?

I recently added a new title onto my work profile. Few brands, through an advertising agency I have worked with before, hired me to be a media consultant on their new campaigns. The job basically entails recommending celebrities for brands and my research on local stars and their star power yielded some interesting results. 

Through my research I was able to divide our local stars' bank-ability and value to brands in few categories. The categories reflect the celebrities' influence on brand exposure, sales influence and media coverage.

So who are Mzansi's most bankable stars? 

The ladies might get the most media coverage but it is still a man's world in SA's entertainment industry. Turns out, if you want to get your money's worth as a brand aligned with a celeb, then your best bet is to collaborate with a guy. 

The most bankable stars for brands are House DJs. The likes of Black Coffe, DJ Fresh, DJ Naves & Sphe, DJ Tira And Euphonik to name a few, are money makers for brands because they can actually get fans to spend money. 

This is how it works; A brand would sponsor or have the DJ as its celebrity ambassador. Instead of doing a big print and TV campaign, they do a concert or a party at a club. Fans buy tickets to see the DJs an d by association the brand get its mileage.

Furthermore, the DJs are like a pack of wolves, they are always around each other so sponsoring one means by extension a brand would have others attached to it. 

The second most bankable stars for brands are Hip Hop artists. Not all of them though. Khuli Chana is by far the most reliably bankable SA celebrity brand, in that he can sell tickets for events, he has influence on fashion within the hip-hop culture and he is entrepreneurial — and advertisers are noticing. 

While AKA is seen to be too- American for a brand that may want to appeal to a wider South African market, the likes of Khuli and Cassper are the quintessential South African stars. This is why you see brands that have a stance in black culture like KFC working with Khuli and DSTV which is trying to extend its footprint on the black market would use Cassper. 

The ladies have value too ...

Do not write off the ladies just yet. While our fairer sex celebrities may not get brands to be sold out or sellout tickets for events, they offer something that the boys cant — brand visibility!

When Bonang, Boity, Pearl and Poppy endorse a product, it is likely to be a big deal in the media. The ladies also command a decent pull on social media so if a brand wants to send a message to a mass audience, they are the best partners to have. 

Revlon was always seen as a brand for white folks. Even though it has had black celebrities on its campaigns such as Halle Berry, it still did not have that South African black person appeal. Bonang helped change that. 

Did black South African ladies suddenly queue outside Revlon outlets to buy the product just because Bonang is part of the campaign? Absolutely not but the partnership was beneficial to both parties.

Bonang made money and added a big brand on her profile, Revlon changed its image and appeal in South Africa and the results will be a long term benefit to the brand. 

The reason why female celebrities are not bankable enough has a lot to do with the fact that everyone wants them. Yes, their success in attracting numerous offers is also the kryptonite for their value for brands. 

For instance, take BIC. Did you know that Bonang was a brand ambassador for the brand? I bet not. Why? Simply because the brand's relationship with Bonang was completely overshadowed by her Revlon endorsement. Revlon had the big bucks and it is a sexier brand... of course everyone reported about that Rev over BIC. 

The other issue with the ladies is that because they work with too many brands, as a brand you may not get what you pay for by endorsing them. If Pearl Thusi is aligned to 5 brands, she can't tweet about all of them at the same time or give them the same attention. Inevitably she will gravitate to pushing the one that pays her more.  

So essentially, a relationship a brand has with female celebrities might not necessarily bring in money immediately but like a billboard, it creates brand awareness and visibility especially now with the advent of social media. These ladies have the numbers afterall. 

Brand Alignment

A star's value to a brand can be gauged by the brand being aligned with the star's growth. That is; the popularity of the brand simultaneously grow with the star's.   

Take Boity and USN for example. The brand has been around for a while but it was never a popular common brand. Then comes Boity and her booty, suddenly as Boity becomes a household name so does USN.

It's all relative...

What has become apparent to me and my clients is that; in the end it all depends on the objective of the brand. Unlike in the states where branding is mainly about sale [dont get me wrong it still the case in SA too because companies exist to make a profit] here it is more about cultivating a relationship with the consumers that will last beyond the campaign with a particular celebrity.



1 comment:

Phil Mphela said...

Always thankful for the knowledge you share.

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