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Authencity in Advertising [Shared]
Transcript of Authencity in Advertising [Shared]
We are going to discuss authenticity in advertising this morning.
You are probably telling yourself is there even such a thing as authenticity, well the photographer in me will say no but the consumer in me will say yes.
I always find it difficult to introduce myself, not that I don’t know who I am but mainly because I am one of those people who have lived in so many places with a family mixed like no other that sometimes I feel it is best to just leave it as Josiane Faubert, founder of PICHA, a stock image library of Africa.
Some of you will be fine with it but some will come at the end of the session and ask me why my name is French, how come I speak English and so and so. Some of you will probably google “where is Josiane Faubert from ?“- Not sure you’ll find an answer there anyway.
Without getting into long family history, I am Gabonese, I am French, I am American and home is where my kids and my husband are so at the moment home is in Washington DC.
One thing that is easy about me is that I have always been immersed with images and advertising. I used to work for Millward Brown a market research company in London, then I became a freelance photographer and now I run PICHA which is a stock image library of Africa.
Today I’d like to discuss with you about authenticity in advertising in the African market.
Before move on I’d like to hear a bit about yourself. Can we just go around quickly and please let us know your name and what you do.
Alright…now back to advertising…
Impact of images…
After decades of following western trends Africans are trying to re-appropriate themselves with the notion of being African, some type of “Africa rising” movement. More and more people on the continent as well as Africans from the diaspora are embracing everything about being African (hair, clothing, accessories, blogs putting some lights on the Africa that wins (l’afrique qui gagne).
We have also seen the rise of African TV shows portraying a certain lifestyle, an urban African lifestyle, a modern Africa and people love these shows.
If you are on Social media and especially Instagram you have probably seen the hashtag
where people started to tag gorgeous photos of Africa. This has led to the rise of pages dedicated to promote Africa.
More and more women for instance are calling themselves ‘nappy’ and are embracing their natural hair. Lupita, the Kenyan actress became everyone’s crush after winning the Academy award for the movie ’12 years a slave’. What is less known is that Lupita as a teenager was rejected at an audition in Kenya for the reason of ‘being too black ‘ for TV.
In the recent years, competitions across Africa has helped improve the quality of advertising campaigns with big agencies using more and more regional hubs to reach neighborhood countries and many local agencies rising. This is great for consumers and agencies since competition will mean bigger effort to connect with consumers and therefore better quality.
Why am I giving you all these examples
Africans are embracing their “Africanite’ and advertisers need to embrace it too on a local basis.
These examples illustrate that Mindsets are changing, African consumers want the beauty of Africa, the beauty of African people to be seen.
More and more content is coming directly from Africa, created by Africans telling the African story. I was in Ghana recently and I visited a small local media agency and the discussion about creativity always came back to ‘we want to see in advertising the Africa we know and we are recreating it in our creations’.
Images and video are really powerful. They shape our perception of life, they shape our perception of who we are and who we aspire to be.
I was recently visiting Gabon where the majority of the population is Black and was shocked to still see light-skin women in what I considered a huge number of ads. I have obviously nothing against light skin people but I couldn’t help thinking if there was a correlation between the huge number of light skin women in advertising in predominantly black countries and the number of women who chose to bleach their skin.
Let’s not forget the quote ‘perception is reality’….if I only see gorgeous light skin people on TV or in magazines won’t this have an effect on my self-esteem?
An authentic advertising manages to connect with it audience and the connection can be at different level. What you don’t want is people looking at your ad and being like ‘pff…advertisers’ like we cannot expect anything good from advertisers.
In the "Made of More" ad from Guinness and London agency AMV B) have used cultural affiliation. The ad shines a light on the Sapeur from the Congo and was well perceived. Although it was shown on the European market, social medias helped the ad reach the continent and was also well perceived in Africa. For one second I even wanted to drink a Guinness beer.
Why was this ad considered a great ad?
The ad was shot in South Africa, not in the Congo and the agency did a great job of capturing the essence, the joie de vivre of the Sapeur. The agency did the research and managed to craft something close to reality maybe better than reality.
I strongly believe that creatives have a strong ethical responsibility when it comes to advertising. The images we see matter. In places where there are no other avenues for inspiration what we see on billboards and on TV really matters. A little girl who only sees everyday billboards of white woman for bleaching products ads will unconsciously start to question her own skin.
Advertisers are the Steven Spielberg’s of small screens. They have the availability to make us think deeply about our society and challenge our beliefs.
Creativity needs to take us beyond just the intention of selling. People should stop and think about an ad. Even better, you want people to discuss it with friends and family.
Marketers need to stop selling and start engaging customer’s on issues that are relevant to specific countries.
With a growing population on mobile and connected to social media there is real value of having ‘real people’ advocate for brands.
Another Guiness exemple is the latest Guiness premier league ad, a campaign which celebrates the passion of the African fans for football/soccer. They have used Ghanaian writer, Nii Ayikwei parkes, group Konono from democratic Congo and Caroline Chikezie, an actress of Nigerian descent. They have used African inspiring people in a football context (you all know how much Africans love football).
Can brand make an authentic consumer connection? Definitely Yes and when it is done well the result is amazing.