The Synergy of Brands and Culture

Words by Sanele Mawisa

Brands and culture have always been intertwined and working together to provide consumers with experiences that are relatable and resonate with the audience. However, more than ever, brands are incorporating the mediums of music, art, and entertainment into their major campaigns. South Africa is no different and the last year has seen an unprecedented level of musicians and artists being at the forefront of driving brand narratives. The relationship between the two for the most part has positioned artists as amplifiers of brand messages, however the power of influence and culture has shifted the needle and they are being trusted to carry brand rebrands and develop a royalties and sales-based brand partnership. In a number of cases they’ve won industry awards for their creativity and real impact.

The advertising industry as a whole is fixated on perfecting the rules of engagement with their audience and in adland this directly translates to 3 virtues operating in harmony: Delivering the right Message, at the right Time, to the right Audience. The strategic integration of entertainment culture helps brands achieve this utopia. An artist has a message that they deliver at a particular point in time to an audience that appreciates that message. The perfect symbiosis is when there is complete alignment between brand and artist on those virtues.

Here are a few examples of this symbiotic relationship creating demonstrative work.

Sho Madjozi and Edgars – Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

Edgars has been a household name within South Africa and had been under threat of liquidation for an extended period of time. One of the reasons for this, was that as a brand they lost touch with its essence and its audience. Step up Maya Wegerif. This campaign won a Silver Loerie

Women In Music, Art and Culture and Castle Lite – HipHopHerStory

Castle Lite aimed to shed a light on a major issue within the entertainment industry, and that is the lack of appreciation and value attached to the contribution made to Hip Hop by women; how the odds are never in their favour. From this insight, HipHopHerStory was born, a first of its kind event blended together theatre, documentary and social storytelling with a single purpose, to tackle gender bias and stereotype in Hip Hop. The event was headlined by American rapper Young M.A. This campaign won a Bronze Loerie.

Khuli Chana and Absolut Vodka – One Source Live

Absolut wanted to address an issue, which was the lack of relevance and relatability of a global campaign to South Africans. One Source describes the process of producing Absolut Vodka from ingredients sourced in one location – the Swedish town of Ahus. Now how would you be able to make South Africans care about that and relate to it? They teamed up with Khuli Chana, and created their own version of ONE SOURCE. The global feel turned into an African Musical Collaboration that spoke to the fact that we as Africans were all created in one place – Africa. ONE SOURCE became a rallying war cry of the African creative revolution currently underway, and a celebration of African unity. The 2018 version of ONE SOURCE LIVE included other exemplary Africans to bring their unique talents to the fore, such as Trevor Stuurman, Osbourne Macharia, Fabrice Monteiro and Sho Madjozi. This campaign won a Grand Prix (the highest Loerie accolade)

The unity between brands and artistry/culture is the one of the most effective methods of communicating with your audience, especially when you have a younger audience. Consumers want to feel represented, they want to feel connected and they want to feel understood, so by tapping into their passion points you build a relationship with them as a brand.

God bless this union.