Nadia Padayachi

YDE ad campaign in context

2005-03-18 12:21

YDE has a history of using unconventional and quirky methods of highlighting their brand, which I most often see in huge front-of-store posters. They are somehow unique and in-line with YDE's young, edgy and fresh approach.

Advertising is a tough business to be in. Advertisers are clamouring for a piece of the market, whilst ad agencies are faced with attaining the biggest possible piece of the pie.

Which brings me to the controversial Young Designers Emporium ads, which everyone seems to be talking about at present and has women's rights groups up in arms - 'Brand Spanking New Fashion'.

The store has recently launched a new range of clothing for winter and with it, a new creative campaign.

Playing on the words 'Brand Spanking New Fashion,' two ads have been created. One ad features a male, on all fours, obviously assuming the position to take a hiding, and the other ad features a lady in the same scenario.

Response from the public varies from those who enjoy the different approach to those who (putting it lightly) don't appreciate it much. Those who are up in arms about it say that it promotes violence against women.

In analysing the campaign, one has to look at it in context - the nature of the business, the environment the business operates in and how the business has communicated with its consumers before.

Paul Simon is a much-admired entrepreneur in South Africa. He empowers like-minded people and highlights their talent. To me, he is one of the forward thinkers in South African business - someone we can all learn from.

Buyers of YDE clothing are definitely younger; those who want to be trendy and those who don't want to buy an item of clothing that anyone from Cape Town to De Aar can pick up at their local mall. Without being stereotypical, the youth are usually freer thinkers and open to new ideas and experiencing new things.

Advertising of this nature is expected

YDE doesn't think of itself as just another store, and so its customer wouldn't accept ordinary and bland advertising.

More importantly, looking at the brands' history, it has been socially responsible - another topical subject.

The whole philosophy of the company being an entrepreneurial indicates this.

Further evidence is a previous campaign called Rubberite which promoted safe sex. This is not a company promoting this internally, but a clothing store, taking a stance in South Africa - can you think of another retailer who would do this?

International ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town is responsible for creating the Spanking ads.

Their philosophy is to reach their clients consumers by identifying with them emotionally. Do the ads illicit an emotion - most definitely (why else is this so topical).

It strikes at people who are not familiar and or who don't shop at YDE - these are the main noisemakers in the debate.

To YDE's consumer, it definitely gets the message across although it must be mentioned that a similar idea was used for a MTV ad. To me, this just proves that the message works for the same people.

Perhaps what I do disagree with is putting the posters in the front of the stores. Some people just aren't open minded enough to accept this kind of creative. But then at the same time, it is the ideal location to attract curious shoppers.

What I do applaud Mr Simon for doing (even if it is indirectly), is for bringing this debate to the forefront.

As a society, South Africa should be confronted with this kind of controversy. We have a long history that as a democracy now allows us to discuss and debate.

One could look at the ad as promoting sexual freedom. In a country being ruined by HIV/Aids talking about sex is still frowned upon or makes one blush, perhaps we need this kind of 'exposure'.

People say that children shouldn't be exposed to these ads, but its children who are most affected by HIV/Aids and an increasing number of them are aware of the disease from a very young age. At school, life-orientation and sex education is taught at a young age.

In hindsight, well done to YDE and Saatchi & Saatchi. They've once again managed to secure major news coverage and exposure - all while highlighting the YDE brand and raising an important social issue.

They are topical and relevant, while at the same time managing to stand their ground and defend successfully what others frowned about. They deserve an award!

  • Nadia Padayachi is a PR Executive for Touchline Media's lifestyle magazines.

    Send your comments to Nadia or discuss this column now in our debating forum.

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