The hype around the recent exchange of back-and-forth commercials between fast
food chain Nando’s and insurance company Santam was due not only to the power of
viral marketing but also to the industry’s ability to rise to a challenge with a sense of
humour and purpose.
Behind the entertaining repartee were agencies King James for Santam and Black
River FC for Nando’s. As the pressure was on to respond in the most entertaining way
and as quickly as possible, production companies Plank Film Productions and Bouffant
had to really put the screws on to produce the ads in time to ride the wave of hype.
A timeous response meant the ads had to be flighted within two days of each other.
Bouffant producer Boris Vossgatter wasn’t surprised when he heard that Nando’s had
“ripped off’ their latest Santam ad, after all, someone had done it to their first Santam
ad, which featured Sir Ben Kingsley and a host of look alikes.
Vossgatter didn’t expect a response from Santam and King James to the Nando’s ad,
but when he heard what the concept involved he was keen to get going.
“We knew it would be a challenge due to the short deadline – the commercial had to
be turned around to film in a mere two days. Finding a location, props and crew who
were available in such a short space of time was a challenge but we made it
Directed by Chloe of Fringe @Bouffant, they cast Rob Schroder in the role of Santam
spokesman – he was one of the original Sir Ben Kingsley doubles and also created the
music in that Santam ad. Schroder was soon on our screens throwing down the
gauntlet to Nando’s and asking them to donate food to The Johannesburg Children’s
Home to make up for their infraction.
Anco Henning of Plank received a phone call from Black River FC at 11am on
Wednesday 25 April, asking if they could have a Nando’s ad for them ready for the
“Pete Pohorsky was already busy in post-production on another commercial and wasn’t
available to direct the Nando’s response,’ says Henning. “But I decided that it was
worth a go and within six hours managed to put the whole shoot together, find a
suitable location, key crew and art department. Luckily the artist was available, the
agency wrote a quirky script, we booked in the post-production facility and the next
day at 10am we shot the commercial in the Joburg CBD. And don’t think that finding
two brand new yellow foam hands at short notice was easy!’
Using Anthony Fridjhon, who featured in Nando’s original Santam spoof as the
spokesman, the Plank team rose to the challenge and delivered – a full day ahead of
“schedule’, even upping the ante by pledging to deliver food to the home on the last
Friday of every month for a year.
“It created a conversation and made an impact and that is what good ideas and
advertising are all about,’ says Vossgatter. “King James was very clever with the
angle of the children and the charity being the end winners.’