Creator mum on controversial Zuma advert

2012-11-28 00:00

FIRST it was the “Shangaan Jesus” cartoon, now it’s a satirical fast food commercial about “dinner time at Nkandla”.

And the creator of both, cartoonist Mdu Ntuli, is keeping mum for now.

“It’s a bit too early for me to be making interviews. I was advised to direct all calls to the executive producer. I can’t have an opinion on it at the moment. Call me about it next week or so,” he told The Witness.

The commercial for The Fish and Chip Company was banned by the SABC on Monday night, two hours before it was due to be flighted.

It was to have promoted a budget meal, illustrating how to feed a large family, by satirically imagining dinner at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence.

The commercial begins with Zuma seated around a table with several women and children.

A woman exclaims: “Ooohhh Zuzulicious we are having fish and chips from Shabba today?”

With Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s austerity calls in mind, Zuma replies: “Eat up honey bunch, there is a lot of good food here … There’s many of you in this house, at only R25, even Pravin will approve this.”

But with the recent calls by SACP leaders for an insult law to protect Zuma’s dignity, it appeared that the SABC might well have got cold feet.

The public broadcaster’s spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago insisted yesterday the advert was not pulled because it was deemed degrading to the president.

Instead it had been pulled because it “implied an endorsement of a product without consent”.

Moreover, material for broadcasting a television advert must be received five working days before broadcast, to allow for technical and quality checks to be done..

“In the case of this advertisement, the SABC received the material Friday, 23 November for flighting on Monday, 26 November,” Kganyago said.

The Fish and Chips Company said its creative agency had made arrangements to deliver the commercial material late on Friday afternoon so that it could be broadcast on Monday evening as agreed.

Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Taste Holdings, said: “It is our opinion that no reasonable person would conclude that the president of the country is endorsing a product.

“The ad is a parody and done in a cartoon style. The president never endorses products or brands and the ad is clearly over the top in its execution and humour.”

The man after whom the fish and chips meal is named, footballer Simphiwe “Shabba” Tshabalala, could not be reached for comment.

He owns four of the fast food outlets in Gauteng,

Tshabalala’s manager, Jazzman Mahlakgane, tried to distance his client from the advert, saying Shabba was not responsible for it.

Although SABC did not flight the advert, it had already received over 10 000 hits on YouTube by late yesterday.

It was exactly the free publicity that many a company’s advertising team could only dream about.

It raised suspicion among some sceptics, that the brouhaha was part of a clever marketing ploy all along.

Mel Tripp, of Cape Town’s AAA School of Advertising, said: “Advertisers sometimes use tactics to provoke and capitalise on an opportunity.

“It is also very unusual for a media owner to ban an advert before it is aired and before going through an independent review system, but the SABC is the mouthpiece of the government.”

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma had no comment about the advert or SABC’s decision not to air it.

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