J’Something and the art of brand building

2015-02-16 13:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

He’s landed a list of celebrity endorsements longer than his arm, including being Knorr’s celebrity chef andthe face of clothing brand Arrow New York.

João da Fonseca, known to his fans as local music group Mi Casa’s frontman J’Something, has parlayed his music career into a business empire incorporating music, television, advertising and logistics.

He has set up three companies to handle it all.

It’s common to open a newspaper in South Africa and read about a fallen superstar who’s been declared bankrupt or buried penniless. But Da Fonseca reckons local artists are becoming more aware of their brand power.

“J’Something is a brand, a brand within a huge brand. It needs to be treated with a lot of loving care.”

City Press meets Da Fonseca (26) at the offices of one of his companies, Something’s Cool, in Johannesburg’s trendy Milpark neighbourhood. It is a hub of activity, with partner Dale Herbst and four other members of the team hard at work.

This week Da Fonseca was announced as soup and condiment brand Knorr’s new celebrity chef – though the sweet aroma of foodie success isn’t new to him.

Knorr already had a relationship with Something’s Cooking – Da Fonseca’s television show on DStv’s Mzansi Magic channel – andthe singer says the celebrity endorsement was meant to cement the existing relationship.

“They wanted to make it more of a concrete kind of thing.”

The cooking show came about as a “mix of meeting the right people at the right time” and ran over 13 episodes. It was produced by Something’s Cool, co-founded with Herbst.

“There’s a lot of collaboration. I’m the creative and Dale is organisational,” explains Da Fonseca. He comes up with ideas and Herbst andthe team make it happen.

“We are currently in preproduction for Rich Kids, Your Perfect Sishebo and What’s For Dinner with J’Something,” says Herbst.

The unique selling point of Something’s Cool is Da Fonseca’s ability to expand on one idea andbuild an entire campaign around it.

Da Fonseca is also a director of 34 Music, which handles Mi Casa’s business affairs. Another company handles the J’Something brand.

It is this brand that cookware company Le Creuset and car maker Mini Cooper, among others, have queued up to align themselves with.

Jamie Paine, Le Creuset’s head of marketing and retail, says: “The J’Something cooking show was a good fit, as it was another opportunity to showcase thebrand to a new, young market in a fun and interactive manner. Our collaboration with João is based on a mutual love of food and cooking. We discovered each other and have really enjoyed the energy and passion he brings to everything he does.”

But sometimes the partnerships come with restrictions. “As Mi Casa, we can’t align ourselves with anything other than Mini Cooper,” Da Fonseca says.

So how would he value the J’Something brand?

“It is built around me. There is no monetary value to it. [If there was], nobody would be able to afford it,” he says.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.