a response to a post on the need for big South African 100% black owned agencies.
Regarding your comment about big South African 100% black owned agencies, there are currently too many factors conspiring against such an entity existing.
When you say “big”, i assume you mean agencies the size of Hunts, FCB, Jupiter Drawing Roon, Ogilvy, etc. These agencies all belong to multinational holding companies – problem 1. This means if your agency is successful, as a black owned agency, it gets swallowed up pretty quickly by local SA big boys.
Problem 2 is clients – they move around, but often within the group of agencies that are controlled by the same multinational holding company. MTN is a point in example. They moved from Jupiter Drawing Room, to Metropolitan Republic. They are both owned by WPP.
Problem 3 – client side. If the faces on the client side, the brand side, don’t change, how can we expect the brands to go with black owned agencies? So what happens is that black agencies start out small and stay small – because they don’t get enough business to grow in size and stature. They get government work but not the big Tiger Brands, Unilevers, Famous Brands, Distell, Diageo, etc. So like an infant that doesn’t get enough nourishment, they remain stunted.
We can have as many black agencies as we can set up. But if marketing directors aren’t pushing for black agencies to be used, then business will be scarce for the agencies and they end up merging (MotherRussia) or shutting up shop (Twist).
And look at the landscape of the companies that have the spending power – the CEO is more often than not, white. Old white guys. They’re comfy. They see no need to change. So what will force them to? Government legislation?
Because they are secure in the knowledge that even if they use white owned agencies, with white creatives, in a country where 80% of the population is black, people will still buy the products because they need them.
Black agencies and companies get called in when it comes to “township advertising” – wall murals, activations at shisa nyama spots & car washes, etc.
We have been boxed into niche categories just in order to be able to exist and succeed and grow.
But for me, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the big decision makers that run brands – they are the ones who need to realise and say that the companies need to use black agencies, if they are talking to consumers who are mostly black.
Makes perfect sense to us.
But clearly not to them.
– Anonymous Creative