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SA TV too chicken for Nando's - critics

2012-06-06 08:53
Cape Town – Following the news of broadcasters banning the latest Nando's TV commercial, critics and experts are weighing in and calling South Africa's broadcasters too chicken for Nando's.

South Africa's broadcasters are running scared of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Nando's latest anti-xenophobia commercial. The advert stars the Khoisan and other ethnic groups who've found a home in South Africa.

The SABC refused to air Nando's new "Diversity" advert on Friday on SABC2.

MultiChoice's DStv channels, M-Net and did show the Nando's ad over the weekend. It promotes new products added to Nando’s already diverse menu, coupled with a tongue-in-cheek anti-xenophobia message.

On Tuesday however MultiChoice and M-Net's ad sales division, DStv Media Sales, decided to ban the advertisement as well. followed suit and said the ad will no longer be shown, labelling the Nando's commercial as something that is "trivialising xenophobia".

Too chicken

While Nando's continues to bask in its own provocative "United Colors of Benetton" edgy advertising moment, experts are criticising South Africa's broadcasters for being shortsighted.

"It gives Nando's an edge on the advertising scene," said Tashi Tagg, noted South African TV critic, pop culture expert and founder of TVSA.

"It gives them loads of free advertising and buzz – everyone's talking about them. Their ad is doing well on the internet and they don't have to pay broadcasters to flight it. So it's ultimately Nando's who is winning.

"It also gives Nando's loads of fodder for future campaigns. They can run with the copy: 'Nando’s – so spicy  the broadcasters are too chicken to air our ads," she said.

Advert that raises a serious issue

"I really am quite surprised by the decision," said William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).

"Obviously they are within their rights to say no, but the question is why? It seems a rather unusual step to take, to avoid controversy, all the more so given that it has already gone viral on social media.

"Given the issues of xenophobia that we have, I think even if it is an advert that seems to raise a serious issue in its effort to sell us chicken we should err on the side of airing. If it is able to get people to talk about xenophobia, even better," said Bird.


"I find the suggestion that it is being withheld as it may offend some viewers simply ridiculous for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is clearly a spoof of xenophobic logic taken to extremes with people literally being "proofed" away.

"Sure it doesn't deal with the nuances of colonialism and land grabs and other questions of identity. But then it is an advert for chicken – not a documentary on xenophobia and identity.

"Secondly to suggest it isn't being shown as it may offend, undermines the media's role - especially the public broadcaster to challenge their audiences," said Bird.

Spear hangover?

"Thirdly however, and perhaps most obviously, there are far more adverts that actually do offend viewers that they allow to run - some so bad they offend your intellectual sensibilities, while others plainly reinforce racial and sexual stereotypes.

"So the question remains as to why to avoid controversy? Is it perhaps a hangover of The Spear debate? Either way, one thing which the broadcasters' decision to not broadcast the ad will do, will be to ensure even more people know about it and want to see it," he said.

Watch the Nando's Diversity ad here.

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