– 17 October 2012

Ever tried to list all the reasons why you love South Africa?

In a context saturated with mining violence and strikes, investor pessimism and ratings downgrades, you’ve got to love Nando’s for reminding locals to think of the reasons why they love this country.

In a clever campaign that celebrates the chicken people’s 25th birthday, the savvy brand has called on Fando’s (Nando’s fans, get it?) to use the hash tag #25reasons and to start showing the love.

There’s a Pinterest board called #25reasons where SA lovers can repin their favourite reasons or create their own. Fando’s were also required to Tweet their #25reasons or to post them on Nando’s Facebook page. The fowl brand says the most shared reasons will be made into online videos.

To drive interest in the campaign Nando’s agency, Black River FC, created a couple of spots that have been flighted on TV, can be seen on YouTube, and are doing the rounds via email, Google+, Facebook and other social networks.

The commercials are a laugh-a-minute, and aren’t shy in terms of pushing boundaries. Reason #2 (we all know the words to our national anthem) features a typical open plan office of a company that’s called ‘Royal Insure’. There’s a white woman standing in the foreground paging through some files when she hears kwaito star Mandoza’sNkalakatha playing on the radio.

Nando’s Anthem – #25reasons

The heroine of this ad rushes over to a black colleague intoning “I love this song, I love this song so much” before she runs over to the radio and turns it up full blast. This is followed by her cringe-worthy attempt at traditional Zulu dance, and hybrid jazz-hands movements, interspersed with a bit of ululating.

Nkalakatha of course was released in 2000 which instantly became a cross-over hit, winning multi-platinum status. While it’s a mainstay for loads of people who love Kurt Darren, it’s hardly revered by a mass of locals who have (let’s euphemistically say) moved on.

Eish. If you’ve seen it you’ll instantly recognise how funny, relevant and culturally astute the advert is. It plays off racial stereotypes in a way that pushes the envelope (which Black River FC seems to do often), but which is funny enough to make it endearingly inclusive. This is not so much a matter of laughing at people, as it is laughing with them.

Other ads in this series include Reason #24 (we’re so close to Europe). This spot features a plane trip where the punch line shows a family looking out of an airliner’s window and freaking out about Table Mountain (which is in that other country called Cape Town).

Full marks to Black River FC for creative, culturally astute spots which positions Nando’s as a brand that really gets under the skin of what it means to be South African, with all its beautiful complexity.

A special mention must also go to Jozi digital communications company Retroviral* which put together the crowd-sourced and social media aspect of this campaign.