FNB’s ‘You Can Help’ advertisement was pulled off air this Tuesday, but has already sparked vigorous debate nationwide.
The clip begins with a view over an assembly of people at a school in Soweto, with an introductory message scrolling above it, creating a unique feel to the clip, which can be recognised at a mere glance.
The video is a speech presented by Kelly Baloyi, a 17 year old girl introduced at the middle of a group of her fellow students. She takes position, clutching an A4 sheet, and stares hauntingly into the camera.
Watch the ad:
The tone of the ad is inspirational and sobering at the same time, presenting a speech from a young student addressing the nation with the point of voicing the thoughts of those most often ignored: the children. FNB uses the heart-wrenching influence of South Africa’s children with incredible efficacy.
While the message is effective for FNB, the major strength of the advert is in the controversy it sparked. Whether this was deliberate or not, the anger of the ANC at the mention of ‘…setting aside petty politics’, which lead to the ad being pulled from the air, has sparked conversation and sensation around it. So much so that it's gotten to the point where the clip made the incredible transition from an advert that chases its audience to something that people are actively searching for.
While the video would normally be difficult to find, FNB conveniently posted the link on Twitter, after having built up anticipation before its release as well. This helped South Africans bring the video to 149 251 views since the 17th of January, and earned the ad 1 189 ‘Likes’.*
Most interesting to this writer, however, is that despite such a seething controversy, the entry has only 24 'Dislikes' to its name. This brings to question the nature of this controversy: was it genuinely offensive to the leading political party of our country, or is all the hype just hot air being blown to generate traffic?
What do you think? Is the ad a compelling social commentary and, therefore, part of a highly effective campaign? Are the ANC being suspiciously defensive? Let us know in the ‘Make a comment’ block below.
*All numbers accurate at the time of writing, but are subject to change.
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