Nando’s – fixing our sh#t

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Fast food chain, Nando’s is known for its witty and comical ad spin-off on all things trending in South Africa. In their latest commercial, WeFixOurSh#t, by M & C Saatchi Abel, Nando’s gives the country hope for restoration and deliverance from the gates of Gupta.

It was in 2015 when M &C Saatchi Abel’s journey with the Nando’s brand first began. M&C Saatchi Abel was approached to pitch for Nando’s and, according to creative director at M&C Saatchi Abel, Jordon Tryon, the two fit perfectly from the start.

“As an agency, our motto is ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought,’ and the simple truth is that South Africans can do anything. While it’s true that we’re experiencing challenges at the moment, South Africans have an incredibly tenacious spirit. In fact, we’ve faced far worse before, and we haven’t just survived – we’ve thrived. As an agency, we wanted to partner with Nando’s to remind the country of what we’re capable of when we stand together,” says Tryon.

The pair has through the years, managed to voice their shared (often spicy) thoughts on current events and exposés, resulting in a more innovative approach to advertising that not only connects with chicken lovers but with South Africans as a whole.

Their latest ad is best described as a visual scrapbook of footage, archive and graphics of events that support the belief that we are capable of fixing our mishaps.

“Good or bad, a lot of truly unbelievable things have happened in our beautiful country. We simply identified a fraction of them, which we then wove together to communicate what South Africans subconsciously already knew: we can fix our sh*t!” exclaims Tryon.

In a 1-minute clip, the ad reflects how the country has ended years of oppression to gain democracy, and how we have managed to reconcile with our oppressors.

The spot then takes a humourous approach to social and political issues, with commentary on how it seems as though we can get new finance ministers faster than we can get new eyebrows. The #PayBackTheMoney debacle is also highlighted as we reflect on how we’ve managed to get some of the money back. And even when we felt “doomed” by a false prophet spraying us with insecticide, the ad shows how we get back on top as we see a clip of South Africans who have conquered Mount Kilimanjaro.

Near the end of the advert, we see three people resembling the controversial Gupta family, hurriedly packing artefacts into an SUV with the number plate ‘WE RUN GP,’ as the narrator remarks: “In South Africa, we’ve always fixed our sh*t and we can fix our sh*t again.”

Director Jono Hall from Darling Films expands: “The concept is actually very simple – South Africa’s journey to where we are now has been an almost ‘must-be-experienced-to-be-believed’ rollercoaster. So, given what we’ve gone through and what we’ve overcome to get here, it’s truly amazing to imagine what we might be capable of next. Shem Guptas shem.”

Casting for the commercial took place in Melville, however, the production team had to go far and wide to find and film their ‘Guptas’.

“It’s quite sobering to witness first-hand the psychological effect the Gupta name has on ordinary South Africans. They might be Public Enemy Number 1, they might be loathed in just about every corner and facing perhaps their final chapter, but the fear they still command is still very real. Casting them was really, really tricky because people really weren’t keen to go there. Finding a location for that scene carried with it similar challenges because of the potentially unwanted attention it might bring. In the face of this sort of power that they still command, Nando’s courage in pointing at them and poking fun at them takes on an extra-special quality – they truly are the only brand that has the ability to ‘go there’ and to do it with all guns blazing,” says Hall.

The spot was shot on the Alexa Mini camera, while stills were shot on the Canon 5D. Other visual elements include shots from a cellphone, memes and gifs, as well as animations that were drawn by Lung in Cape Town.

No special effects were used in the making of the ad, but the TRC scene had to be recreated. A person resembling Schabir Shaik on the golf course is shown in one scene while people looking and sounding like the notorious Gupta brothers can also be seen.

“It was a two-day shoot that literally felt like a travelling circus. We were pulling into fancy mansions, street-corners, golf courses, community halls and a Rea Vaya bus, shooting what we needed and then disappearing before anyone really even knew what had happened to them. It was an incredibly fun way to work because we were basically filming ninjas on a chicken mission,” shares Hall.

All the footage and contributions were then sent to Upstairs Ludus and Sterling Sound for post-production duties.

“It’s quite a head-trip to make an ad for Nando’s. It’s even more of a head-trip to make an ad for Nando’s that doesn’t have a single piece of Nando’s in it – which is something only they could do,” concludes Hall.

TECH CHECK:

EQUIPMENT
  • Camera: Alexa Mini and Canon 5D

The Nando’s spot was shot on the Alexa Mini camera, with stills shot on the Canon 5D

KEY CREW

Director: Jono Hall
Producer: Elizabeth Dahl
Executive Producers: Melina McDonald and Lorraine Smit
Sound: Sterling Sound & Audio Militia
DOP: James Adey
Editor: Evy Katz

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