Photography by @blaq_smith
In the lead up to the release of his latest single, Caiphus Song, AKA conceptualized an impressive marketing strategy which resulted in an immense amount of media buzz. With what began as the perceived break-up between South African entertainment’s most revered power couple, AKA leveraged local media publication’s intense scrutiny and the public’s fascination of his and Bonang’s relationship. South African media houses exploit their relationship, this approach allowed them the opportunity to exploit them back. With countless media headlines, thousands of speculative tweets and trending topics over the weekend, AKA breaks down how he conceptualized the release of Caiphus Song.
Q: When and how was the marketing strategy/ PR stunt for the release of your new single, Caiphus Song, conceptualized?
A: Originally I had wanted to drop the song on Valentine’s Day. I thought that this would be way too obvious. So I was watching the Grammy’s I think, around Wednesday/Thursday last week and obviously saw the whole Adele acceptance speech where she mentioned that Lemonade was a huge moment for the culture or whatever. I got the idea that instead of Valentine’s Day, I should do something kind of anti-Valentine’s Day due to the content of the song. I then came up with the idea and developed it from there.
Q: The social media roll out plan was very intricate. How did you decide on when the perceived ‘break up’ would be announced with tweets from both you and Bonang?
A) SONY & VTH Season had wanted The World is Yours to kind of “run its course” before I dropped another song, I felt that the time was now because The World Is Yours had already charted at #1 for many weeks & that the old system & strategy wasn’t what the fans wanted. I believed we needed a moment for the culture. I told them I wanted to move on it but they were hesitant. Eventually they gave in and the soonest date they could have it up on the digital platform wasTuesday; I then had to come up with a strategy to keep people talking throughout the weekend up until Tuesday. I worked backwards from there. We planned all the tweets from Friday up until the gift on Monday, and eventually the release.
Q: What was Bonang’s initial reaction to the idea?
A) She loved it. She’s a visionary, just like me. I told her to trust me, and she did.
Q: Was there any concern that the marketing approach would impact either your or Bonang’s respective personal brands?
A) Yes, she has a big contract with Revlon for instance. Her whole campaign is about “LOVE” so it was a calculated risk. Like I said, I asked her to trust that it would work out and it did. I was never worried on my side because I don’t really care what people think or what they say, because they’ve said everything there is to say already.
Q) Both you and Bonang trended shortly after the perceived ‘break up’ with intense social commentary regarding your relationship. What were your thoughts or reactions as that was taking place?
A) We were watching the whole thing unfold and couldn’t wait for it to be Tuesday already. It’s exciting watching a plan come together. I knew that a lot of journalists would just take anything we tweeted as gospel and not really do any proper investigating. We knew people would do our job for us.
Q: One of the factors you address in Caiphus Song is media publications sensationalizing aspects of your relationship. Do you think this will change how media publications report on your relationship going forward?
A) That’s a great question. I would hope this would change the way media gathers and distributes information to the public. I believe journalism is a craft that many takes seriously, such as yourselves but at the same time, as an artist or a sports person or a politician or whatever field you’re in, using the media to your advantage is also a craft in itself. I think to each his own, find what works for you. Find the way to use the system for what it is to further yourself. Will this change them? Only time will tell.
Q) What is the key message you’d like your fans and the media to take from this?
A) I’d like them to realise that we need to keep pushing ourselves. We need to think out the box. We need to be brave and believe in our ideas no matter what people may think of them or of us. Go for it! Don’t be scared. If you have an amazing idea, execute it and don’t look back. PEOPLE WILL SAY THINGS. You will never please everybody.
Q) Can we expect more exciting and creative marketing approaches going forward?
A) If I told you id have to kill you.
Visit www.deezer.com/album/15415600 to stream Caiphus Song.