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Honda refreshes with JR music video collaboration


Honda, a Japanese public multinational conglomerate corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of cars, recently revealed that – according to current statistics – its brand is not as appealing to the public as it aspires to be. In a bold move, the company decided to take a homourous approach to these grim findings with a new campaign titled, Were Not Fresh.

Late last year, Honda launched the Honda Amaze in a creative, collaborative project with one of South Africa’s most popular hip-hop artists, JR. The collaboration includes a song and supporting music video that aims to showcase how Honda has “refreshed” its brand’s image.

“What made this campaign so remarkable is that Honda, via their agency DDB, took a massive leap of faith in poking fun at themselves and thereby winning the trust of savvy contemporary consumers,” says Arcade Content producer, Will Nicholson. “They didn’t pretend to be something they’re not – instead they embraced the insight that they’re ‘not fresh’ and used this as a great angle for humour and honesty, which studies show younger audiences, in particular, really appreciate.”

Business-savvy musician JR produced the campaign song and stars in the music video, which gives viewers a peek at how business deals are done in the music industry.

The tongue-in-cheek video begins in the boardroom, where an over-zealous agency creative is trying his best to convince the Honda team that this music video will improve their poor “Freshness Barometer” rating. The clients are not convinced – that is, until the high-profile rapper enters the room and takes charge of the presentation. JR impresses the Honda team, clinching a five-year contract and the keys to a new Honda Amaze.

The video continues with scenes from JR’s “daily life” as a musician and Honda ambassador. This includes shooting a music video while cruising in the new Honda Amaze, as well as a photo shoot to showcase his new ride.

“The concept was to create a music video that pokes fun at how often celebrities are used in contrived and insincere ways to try sell products,” Nicholson explains.

While the video employs popular stereotypes synonymous with hip-hop culture such as flashy jewellery, press attention and constantly being accompanied by an entourage, it also rejects unrealistic and excessive flourishes. For example, in one scene, JR refuses to wear an unnecessarily oversized jacket – making a profound statement on how he, like the Honda brand, is also trying to remain honest and real.

The music video was conceptualised by DDB creative directors Nicola Wielopolski and Conan Green produced by Arcade Content’s Julia Schnurr and directed by Lebogang Rasethaba.

“As consumers become more and more discerning, we as storytellers and marketers need to catch up with their demands, be more honest, clever and creative with how we tell stories,” says Rasethaba.

Sticking to the hip-hop aesthetic, the Were Not Fresh music video was shot by Deon Van Zyl on the Red Epic camera. Post-production duties were handled by the Postmodern Company.

Impressively, most of the action –including converting a Honda dealership into a boardroom for the opening scene – was captured in a just one day.

The video was released on 10 October 2018 and has received positive feedback on social media, earning the hashtag #WeStillFresh.

Art director Masonwabe Ntloko was impressed by the immense positive impact the music video has had on the campaign and the brand: “I love how it says everything the consumer needs to know, but in a fun way and in a language we all understand – music!”

“Young audiences in particular smell BS from a mile away, and don’t like to be ‘sold’. So this video is clever in that, from the very opening shot, the brand doesn’t claim to be cool – in fact, it brazenly admits it’s ‘not fresh’. Audiences appreciate this level of honesty, as if they’re invited in on a joke, instead of being presented a fake advertising façade,” concludes Nicholson.


Director: Lebogang Rasethaba

Producer: Julia Schnurr

DOP: Deon Van Zyl

Editor: William Kalmer

Sound: Sean Jefferis

Ford South Africa launches new range with cross-media marketing campaign


GTB Africa, a Johannesburg-based creative agency, under the WPP Group, has been handling the Ford South Africa account for more than five years. The agency was recently tasked with developing an innovative campaign for the launch of the new Ford Figo, Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport.

With each car launch came a separate multi-channel campaign that included TV, radio and tapping into social media platforms in a fun and creative way that fully engaged viewers.

GTB Africa’s art director, Candice McLeroth comments: “The vision for the Ford brand is to keep it relevant. It is something we keep in mind when coming up with our campaigns, which is why we try and utilise different mediums in innovative ways.”


The campaign for the launch of the new Ford Figo includes a music video titled Ka Mzolo. The video was initially released via Instagram stories and is part of a collaborative campaign to give a platform to various up and coming innovators. The video showcases these young creative entrepreneurs, who use Instagram to build their personal and business brands.

“It was important for us to showcase and give a voice to very talented up and comers. And what better way to show off their talents than creating a piece of content that was made by up and comers for up and comers. After all, just because you don’t have a name today, doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow,” shares McLeroth.

The music video allowed viewers to interact with the featured personalities through their Instagram handles which were embedded in the section of the video that they featured in.

The talented group of individuals featured in the Ka Mzolo video included singer and songwriter Rhea Blek; founder and creative director of women’s wear brand BAM, Jacques Bam; crew leader of BMX Maniacs, Hloni Ramaila; make-up artist Orli Meiri; founder of dairy-free ice cream brand YOCOCO, Sinenhlanhla Ndlela; founder and creative director of ownURcrown, Nikiwe Dlova; creative director of PHINDA Furniture and Interior Design, Siyanda Mbele; photographer Obakeng Molepe; and the Bambanani Brass Band.

Following a successful launch on Instagram, the video was adapted for various mediums including YouTube, radio and digital billboards.

Arcade Content’s Zandi Tisani, directed the Ka Mzolo music video, she expands: “The brief was to identify a group of young and dynamic people in various fields and create a music video that would allow them and their craft to shine.”

“I wanted to create a fantastical world that was both authentic and otherworldly. The music video is a loose take on the Alice in Wonderland narrative and each step further down the ‘rabbit hole’, so to speak, involved interacting with our makers. I wanted it to feel like a dream, that is both familiar and strange, something we took even further with unusual grade and colouring,” she adds.

“I think this campaign will resonate because it features people who are not part of the line-up of usual suspects. I feel like that communicates that Ford is not just looking to leverage major influencer followings but is invested in helping creatives develop a following of their own. I think in general people love seeing the underdog win.”


The Independent State of Nandi Twitter series – directed by Egg Films’ director Zwelethu Radebe – was produced to promote the all-new Ford Fiesta. The 4-week episodic campaign was released on Twitter every Monday and Thursday in June and July 2018.

The campaign was a social media marketing success, with its first episode gaining over 14 000 votes, 350 retweets and nearly 2000 likes.

GTB creative director, Neil Lindsay expands: “Launching the all-new Fiesta required something a little different that resonated with our very independent and vocal Fiesta audience. This resulted in us creating an engaging ‘choose your adventure’ style Twitter series – The Independent State of Nandi. The series consisted of eight Twittersodes that were released twice a week. Each episode ended on a cliff hanger, giving the audience 24 hours to vote on how the episode should end.”

In the series, Nandi (Lebo Borole) embarks on her first long-distance trip in her new Ford Fiesta. On her journey she encounters some difficulty and Twitter users get to help her out by voting for the outcome of the next Twittersode.

“This feels like the future of advertising,” said Egg Films’ executive producer, Colin Howard. “Where storytelling isn’t limited to 30-second TV commercials and the audience can be more involved more than ever before.”


For the bold Ford EcoSport range, the creative team decided to cater to the urban adventurers with a television commercial titled Go Wander, Go Further – also directed by Radebe.

“The vision of the ad was to show that with the new EcoSport we can help our urban adventurers explore their cities, discovering new things along the way. Enter the Go Wander, Go Further TVC that follows three friends who got caught up wandering their city,” shares McLeroth.

To intrigue viewers, Ford decided to kick-start the launch of the Ford EcoSport with 6” and 10” videos that lived on YouTube bumper ads and pre-rolls. These were then promoted through Ford’s social media accounts. The end result was a 30’’ television commercial targeted at its EcoSport audiences.

However, following the TVC, Ford realised that there must be a more engaging way to utilise traditional platform viewers for greater engagement. Lindsay explains: “As we are an integrated agency, we believe in more than just creating a TVC. As most of us are on our phones while watching TV, we decided to capitalise on second screen users too. While the TVC played, you were fed a social post that unpacked more of the story in the TVC.”

This was done by producing a series of TV ads that tell viewers only half the story and entice them to explore the rest on their second screens.

Speaking about the Ford project, Lindsay concluded: “The launch campaigns for each of these cars have been very successful. Each campaign is completely integrated, with some mediums being up-weighted depending on the audience. Each of the channels in each campaign supported one another by delivering one campaign message from brand love, all the way down to dealerships. The one thing that remained consistent over all the campaigns is that with Ford you can Go Further.”

The Ford campaigns were conceptualised by GTB’s executive creative director Nick Liatos, creative directors Nico Botha and Neil Lindsay, copywriters Sophia Basckin and Leyash Pillay, and art directors Candice McLeroth and Martjie Louw.

Zandi Tisani directs Rhea Blek music video for Ka Mzolo

Arcade Content’s Zandi Tisani directed Ka Mzolo, the new Ford Figo music video with Rhea Blek.

The music video follows Rhea on an increasingly strange and wonderful journey through the streets and fashion of Diepkloof. “I wanted to make something that was fun and bold and left a sweet taste in the mouth,” says Zandi.

Zandi worked with agency GTB Africa to find and celebrate South African talent who encapsulated what it means to #GoMakeWaves and #GoFurther. “GTB tasked us with finding talent that wasn’t from the same pool of usual suspects and to shoot a music video that would allow everyone from musician to make-up to shine,” she says.

Elle South Africa recently described Zandi as “on the pulse” and the talent she assembled for the music video backs this up: Durban singer Rhea Blek’s been called ‘The Goddess of Finesse’ on Bubblegum Club; furniture designer Siyanda Mbele was a finalist in Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object In South Africa competition this year; fashion designer Jacques Bam was runner up overall and earned a special mention at the LISOF fashion show last year; hair stylist Nikiwe Dlova runs the blog ownURcrown and was part of the recent Black Hair Matters exhibition at Eyethu Art Space; make-up artist Orli Meiri has been featured on Behance; and photographer Obakeng Molepe cracked 10and5’s #Bayeza18 list of 40 creatives under 30 this year after being commissioned by Marvel to respond to Black Panther through photography. Ka Mzolo also stars BMX Maniacs, Bambanani Brass Band and Yo Coco dairy-free ice cream.

As Ford South Africa’s YouTube introduction puts it, “Drive. You either have it or you don’t. And you (yes, you) clearly have it. This music video was made for, and by, some of South Africa’s brightest young talents who know what it takes to push beyond the boundaries. They’re making waves. The new Ford Figo is for those in the hustle and this music video is a celebration of what can be achieved when you decide to go further.”

Adam Bentel from Krewkut shot the music video, which was produced by Julia Schnurr, art directed by Keenan McAdam, and edited by Joe de Ornelas at Left, with a final mix by Audio Militia.

Released initially as a vertical video on Instagram Stories, Ka Mzolo is Zandi’s second music video: Zaki Ibrahim’s Go Widdit, her directorial debut, made OkayAfrica’s list of the top ten African music videos for 2012.

The music video is part of an innovative larger campaign for Ford South Africa by GTB, Egg and Arcade Content, which includes a choose-your-own-ending Twitter series, 360-degree videos for shop floors, a traditional TV commercial, and a series of TV ads that only tell you half the story – enticing you to explore the rest on your second screen.

The campaigns were conceptualised by GTB’s executive creative director Nick Liatos, creative directors Nico Botha and Neil Lindsay, copywriters Sophia Basckin and Leyash Pillay, art directors Candice McLeroth and Martjie Louw, client service Pleasure Tsotetsi, and strategist Priniven Pillay, with Mthuli Bam producing.


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