Why Minnie Kick Off Cover Makes Business Sense

Minenhle ‘Minnie’ Dlamini is the first woman ever to be on the cover of KickOff Magazine, and lots of people are shocked and unimpressed. As startling as the decision may seem on KickOff 's part,  a Minnie cover when you look at it in context it actually makes more sense than you think. 

Let me prefix this by getting the issue of why Minnie, in a moral sense, was the wrong choice for this magazine's milestone cover; once again people like Carol Tshabalala and Portia Modise are not getting the recognition they deserve by the sports media.

The list of women who have been and some still are actively involved in soccer is long. Think Desiree Ellis, Noko Matlou, Amanda Dlamini, to name a few, were overlooked, as it has been argued on social media, and have a more interesting insight and story to tell about the game than Minnie.

However, sometimes fans forget that this is a business. It is not about moral gestures. The magazine hardcopy industry is floundering and editors are being backed in the corner to sell copies. According to the latest available magazines circulation numbers provided by Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa, in the fourth quarter numbers (Q4 Oct - Dec 2016), Kick Off sales have dropped to 23 795 from 28 566. compared to the same period sales in 2015. 

With that it makes sense that the magazine is looking at other ways to attract attention and sales. I have articulated the argument why these so called 'it girls' in Mzansi still get all the gigs even when it can be proven statistically that their influence on sales and ratings is minuscule at best. 

I have explained before that Minnie, Bonang, Boity, Pearl and Khanyi do not sell. They also can not bring their huge social media following with them to watch the shows they host or buy the products they endorse. Again, look at Top Billing and Club 808, they are the lowest rated shows in their categories in South African television. Bonang's baby star hand bag line failed and Boity didn't do much for Iman Cosmetics sales. Minnie's calendar was a sales flop. 

However, you look at Pearl Thusi's Lip Sync Battle, for instance, while it is also not ratings gold, it has a massive cross platform presence. People may not tune in to watch the episodes on tv as they air, but the massive coverage the show gets in the media and the posting of clips from the show has elevated it to being pop culture player. Bonang's deals also get huge media attention and everything the other ladies do become a media talking point, that is good thing for brands.

Furthermore, these ladies may not a big influence on your spending habits compared to international 'it girls' like the Kardashians, they have an influence in their own unique way. I mean people aren't buying BMWs because Minnie is an ambassador and BMW knows that.

Our media is obsessed with these ladies so aligning your brand with them might not bring you instant buying customers but it keeps your brand name alive and that has long term benefits. 

A marketer once told me that, a Bonang may not up sales in a specific campaign but for long term goals they would use her on a campaign now and get all the media attention and then tailor broader outreach for the campaign based on their core clients. That means, a brand will put Bonang as an ambassador, that gets them media coverage and then they use the attention to make targeted brand outreach. Basically, the celeb brings them to the table and they set the menu from there. Makes sense? 

In that vein, Kick Off may not get thousands of people suddenly flying to the shops to buy their magazine but having Minnie Dlamini on the cover gets them attention. Suddenly everybody has remembered that there is magazine called Kick Off. Long term, that is a valuable return on investment. For Kick Off to reinvent itself, they need to be in the game and Portia Modise would not have given them these much free media and public attention even if people do not buy the Minnie Dlamini issue. 

So, before you dismiss Kick Off as having made a stupid decision to put Minnie Dlamini on the cover or think they have fallen pressure to the celebrity culture kool-aid, you may be missing the point that there is a method to this madness. 

This is a business...

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