MarkLives.com – 28 August 2013
A no-nonsense fast food product that caters to the Everyman, the King Pie brand could retain its crown with a new ad that is fun, watchable and plays strongly to local culture. In terms of advertising, King Pie has been absent from television screens for quite a while.
A part of the South African fast food landscape since the dawn of democracy (which makes the brand 20 years old), King Pie’s ads haven’t always been this great. Previous attempts included a few “candid camera” style scenarios that didn’t quite hit the mark. But I think that this television ad is right on the money: it’s funny, it’s relevant, and it has a clever twist.
It’s no secret that we South Africans aren’t afraid of laughing at ourselves, and of course one of the issues that we still have to deal with is race and getting to cross cultural boundaries. In other words ‘whities’ have a lot of catching up to do in terms of learning the languages of the people who live in this great country of ours.
This is in part what sets up the punchline for the new ad, which inverts stereotypes with a hilarious outcome. Let’s face it, when it comes to race, language and culture – which can be sensitive issues – it’s great to be able to take a step back and look at these issues with a collective smile on our face. We’ve come a long way in South Africa – but we’ve still got a long way to go.
The latest King Pie TVC is shot very simply. It features a queue of people waiting at a typical King Pie outlet. The lady in front is a blonde, blue-eyed kugel-type (a real stereotype), and she’s having a problem making up her mind about what to buy: “I’ll have the steak-and-kidney or ummm…” she says.
The customer who is next-in-line is clearly irritated, and this lady turns to the guy behind the counter and addresses him in isiZulu. The subtitles read: “Oh, my friend, Miss Classy here doesn’t know what she wants.” To her shock and surprise, the blonde replies, in perfect isiZulu: “Excuse me sister… are you talking about me? Look how many flavours there are to choose from.”
The look of surprise on the Zulu lady’s face is priceless, and makes for a great comedic moment. The ad continues with a beautifully-shot montage of crispy-crusted pies oozing with rich fillings, with steamy text-effects floating about – very appetising.
The ad cuts back to the King Pie outlet, and by this stage everyone in the queue is watching the exchange.
“Oh, so you like King Pie?” asks the black lady, in English.
“I’ve been buying King Pies forever,” replies Blondie, in isiZulu. I have to say, this lady is very well-cast – even her body language is authentic, her use of slang, her facial expressions – it all comes together in a very convincing performance
The payoff line is: “Value-for-money meals that are Mnandi-licious!”
On a more serious note the ad makes a wonderful point about South Africa some twenty years into our democracy. Imagine if we could all speak two or three or more of our country’s languages. Our land would be all the richer for it, because language is a key to understanding other people and other culture. Knowing other languages is the first step in breaking down barriers to knowing people, and I think that this would go a long way towards to helping to cultivate understanding.
The King Pie brand is well-established, but in a crowded fast-food market even being the best pie outlet isn’t enough: it has to stand out from the burger and fried chicken joints. It also has to make sure it appeals to a broad spectrum of people, so this ad also serves—on a subliminal level—to ensure that it is associated with most population and income groups.
And let’s not forget the power of humour: by making the audience laugh, the brand is associating itself with fun and happiness, and ensuring that the ad stands up to repeated viewing.