With less than a month to go to the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup games, entries for a new marketing campaign contest for South Africa are pouring in.
The Get Wildly Creative About South Africa online ad contest, organized by South Africa Airways, South Africa Tourism and the CMO Council, has attracted more than 400 entries from around the world so far, says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, and it expects to receive more in the next week; more than 10,000 aspiring ad professionals have already viewed the briefs and entry procedures.
"The problem with the South Africa brand is that it hasn't been defined and shaped clearly," he tells Marketing Daily. "There's not a distinction between the continent and the country, and its image has been shaped by events reported in the news -- HIV/AIDS, security problems, corruption, and political instability." But the eight or nine million people who visit the country each year have a very different perception, and Neale-May hopes the contest can leverage those voices, using the Internet and social media.
The idea came about, he says, because of the CMO Council's GeoBranding Center, which is researching the best ways to build destinations as brands. The group realized that between its ability to analyze the tone of millions of online conversations and the buzz surrounding the upcoming World Cup games, there was a real opportunity to track how far South Africa's star can rise: "We're exploring how the FIFA World Cup is going to impact perceptions of the brand."
The contest, hosted by Zooppa.com, is drawing especially strong interest from the ex-pat community, social media networks and ad people. Entries will be judged by marketing experts, South African luminaries and media specialists, and winners will get cash, computer gear and a VIP trip to South Africa, courtesy of South African Airways and South Africa Tourism. Winning entries will also be showcased in office, Web site, magazine, in-flight video and airport venues.
Neale-May hopes the best campaigns will help the GeoBranding effort understand how people perceive South Africa now, "and find out what the most compelling value proposition is for the brand; what's the message that will resonate with people? And it's not just about tourism -- it involves talking about investing in South Africa, commerce, trade, innovation, and sports. There are a lot of aspects to the country that don't get communicated."