Grease re-visited, South African style


Draftfcb Johannesburg’s new television commercial for Vodacom imbues the 1978 romantic musical hit, Grease, with local flavour and character so as to reflect South Africa’s ‘rainbow nation’ personality.

Exit John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, enter a cool young taxi driver and a spunky junior traffic officer. Devised by executive creative director Grant Jacobsen, Alan Lewus, Stefanus Nel and Annette Nel, the 60-second commercial shows a boy and a girl telling their respective friends about their summer romance (just like the Summer Loving number in the film). The pay-off line is ‘Love Someone. Love Summer.’

“We wanted to create a film about an unexpected couple falling in love, a film that makes you smile and feel good,” explains Grant Jacobsen. “South Africans can do with an ad that will lighten up their lives and which makes them sing and dance along. Our heroes are ordinary South Africans, but what makes them extraordinary is the fact that, despite their differences, they’ve found each other”.

According to Vodacom’s Managing Executive Marketing, Enzo Scarcella, Draftfcb Johannesburg’s exceptional ability to develop marketing communication executions that reflect the distinctive South African persona is very much in evidence in this epic production.

“Draftfcb Johannesburg’s attention to detail is legendary,” he said, “and it’s this attention to detail that provides our advertising with a unique South African flavour and feel that not only ensures our ads are well-liked and remembered by our target markets, but that they win the hearts and minds of ordinary South Africans, our most important target market.

“To be honest, when Grant Jacobsen showed me ‘Sophia Town’, the TV ad he and director Teboho Mahlatsi shot to reposition Vodacom’s soccer sponsorship, I thought the Draftfcb-Bomb team had produced their best work ever.

“Now, having seen ‘Summer Loving’, I’m impressed all over again. With ‘Sophia Town’, they set a high standard; with ‘Summer Loving’ they’ve surpassed it. I’m sure this ad and the supporting campaign will put every South African in the mood to love someone this summer, and that this will translate into a successful business season for the company,” he said.

‘Summer Loving’ broke simultaneously on all major television stations in South Africa on 9 November. Other elements of the campaign include billboards, squeeze backs, radio, LED screens and in-store. Not only do they promote the special deals Vodacom has on offer over the summer holiday break, they draw attention to the events and promotions organised in major holiday towns including beach parties and clean-ups, volleyball and surfing festivals, beauty pageants, and concerts.

“For most retailers, the December holiday period is the most crucial in terms of sales and profitability,” added Draftfcb Johannesburg Business Unit Director on the Vodacom account, Heidi Nelson. “Vodacom is no exception. With Summer Loving I believe we have the perfect campaign – and most appealing television communication supported by all our other channels – to ensure our client has the perfect ‘romance’ with consumers this year.”


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