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Brand battle: Nando’s vs. Santam

by Riccardo Webb on 11 May 2012

In a world where brands are striving to be more human and authentic, isn’t it natural to make mistakes or get burnt every now and again?  Often brands find themselves looking at a difficult situation, whether it’s because of a mistake or simply a competitor trying to devalue their reputation, and have to ask themselves… “What do we do now?”

I’d like to share a story with you about two unlikely companies that have both received a surge of interest and positive publicity because of the way they handled a tricky situation.

Earlier this year, Santam, an insurance company in South Africa released the following TV commercial:

Being the playful brand it is…Nando’s, a fast food chain, decided to poke a little fun at the serious insurer and add yet another sterling response to its hilarious history of marketing case studies:

Now, this is the point where the tides turn and an insurance company rose to the challenge! Santam responded to Nando’s spoof ad and not only did so in a timely fashion, but managed to do this in such a way that strengthened its brand reputation and challenged Nando’s to do a little social good at the same time. Alistair King from the ad agency responsible for the Santam adverts said that he felt the Nando’s spoof was in good nature, but “no one ever spoofs the spoofer, so we did.”

Below is the final video response from Nando’s, and brings me to my conclusion…

I love that Nando’s has encouraged this kind of response from Santam, who I believe saw the situation as an opportunity rather than a threat, showing the power of using a creative response rather than a serious one (or none at all for that matter).

The best approach to dealing with a bad situation is to acknowledge that it has happened and to take the time out to structure your response rather than acting rashly. A little time to let the creative juices flow may just result in a wonderful turn of events.

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