FCB Joburg distills essence of ‘Africanacity’ as it assists Absa relaunch in Africa

FCB Joburg, a member of the FCB Africa group of agencies, has created a new word, as well as a 360° campaign embracing traditional and new media, to assist Absa Group, formerly Barclays Africa Group, in its relaunch in Africa.

The group’s new brand strategy and identity were co-created by Grid Worldwide and Yellowwood, in a year-long process that started in 2017. FCB Joburg’s responsibility was to assist Absa launch these, and communicate them to the group’s internal and external stakeholders on the continent in the months ahead.

The group’s new logo features ‘absa’ in lower case, offering a more human, approachable and understated feel than its predecessor. Stripped of complexity, the new button-like logo sits comfortably among popular new brands in a digital space. Absa’s brand colour has been expanded to a wide spectrum of reds.

The development of our new strategy and identity were governed by four principles: ‘collaborative’ to ensure every voice was heard, ‘bold’ to hold us to the highest standards, ‘fact-based’ so that we would operate with rigour and objectivity, and ‘innovative’ to reflect the new world we were creating

(…) The process resulted in a new business purpose statement: where we see ourselves as enablers, helping individuals, businesses and society to ‘bring your possibility to life’. It also resulted in a fresh brand being created as an expression of our new identity as an independent African bank with global scalability. We tasked FCB Joburg with communicating this .

David Wingfield

Head of Absa Group Marketing

“Absa’s purpose is inspired by the African continent (…) This continent and its people have an amazing way of getting things done. They have a way of turning any adversity into an opportunity. There wasn’t a word out there that described this age-old attitude, and that is how we came up with the word ‘Africanacity’. ‘Africanacity’: it’s Africa’s ingenuity, tenacity, creativity, audacity and positivity all rolled into one. And it’s how Absa will get things done too.

Gareth Paul

Executive Creative Director FCB Joburg

The Africanacity campaign conceived by FCB Joburg is a 360 campaign that comprises a 97-second film, a 60-second television commercial directed by Gentlemen’s Greg Rom, radio executions in most of South Africa’s official languages, out-of-home, print, as well as an extensive social media campaign.

Featuring a soundtrack that could only come from Africa, the TVC is a collage of vignettes showcasing the innovative ways people in Africa get things done, as well as their ability to embrace technology to keep pace with change.

“FCB Joburg has contributed to a number of large rebrands in the past, most noticeably Vodacom several years ago, but our work on the Absa refresh in terms of timings and number of elements exceeds them all,” said FCB Joburg Managing Director, Thabang Skwambane.

“As lead agency, we were tremendously proud to be entrusted with the task of pulling together so many people from so many different agencies and industry suppliers; at times it felt as if this rebrand was about the industry coming together with one client’s best interest at heart.

“The creative task, the production effort and the co-ordination facilitation this rebrand involved really challenged the core team at FCB Joburg. With the assistance of the other agencies involved and their tireless suppliers, as well as everyone else at 164 Katherine Street, they did a spectacular job. Well done, FCB Joburg and well done SA’s ad industry.”

Demonstrating its commitment to innovation, one of the four pillars governing the development of its new strategy, Absa officially launched its ChatBanking on WhatsApp service with a 360° campaign from FCB Joburg just a week after its rebrand was made public.

Almost 12 000 Absa customers have registered for ChatBanking on WhatsApp since its soft launch phase, which kicked off in early July this year. This campaign is expected to increase that number significantly.  WhatsApp, a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world, is currently one of the most popular messaging services around the globe. More than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch, anytime and anywhere.

FCB Joburg Executive Creative Director, Gareth Paul, agreed ChatBanking on WhatsApp is a great example of Africanacity, that uniquely African ability to always find a way to get things done. “People will be able to do their banking without ever having to leave their favourite messenger app.   That’s Africanacity in action,” he said.

“We demonstrate this in Absa’s new TVC by showing our hero – Themba – going about his life and effortlessly popping into the WhatsApp Chat Banking window. He mingles with friends, makes plans, saves the day and maybe even his relationship, all by using ChatBanking.”

The TVC was devised by the creative team of Bonolo Modise, Welcome Moyo and Brett Noble led by Gareth Paul, the campaign includes television, radio, digital including 3rd party banners, out-of-home and social media.

Africanacity gained traction quickly, generating talkability on social media. 1,9 million people have viewed the new brand identity TVC video on Youtube – with another 3 million viewing the cut down video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Intel Drone Light Show – an incredible light display, and the pinnacle of the new identity launch – was picked up across social media platforms and generated substantive positive engagement on the night and thereafter, as audiences continued to watch the show. During the 20min event, Absa garnered 115 000 total Facebook Live views & 22 409 total social media engagements / 38 661 YouTube views and 5 058 total social media mentions.

The digital & social media campaign was hugely successful, setting new standards for the banking category with 6.2million unique individuals reached via Facebook. 57% of Absa customers opened and viewed the MMS they were sent – compared to industry benchmark of 33%and 11% of direct marketing emails were opened – 5.5 times the industry benchmark of 2%. Finally, consumers spent 3.4million minutes watching brand content during the launch… that equals 6 years in viewing time!

Africanacity Credits:

Client – Absa Group

Head Absa Group Marketing – David Wingfield

Manager: Media Strategy & Relations – Carli Cooke

Creative agency – FCB Joburg

Integrated Executive Business Director – Thithi Nteta

Account Leaders – Maureen Bam, Kgabo Kganyago, Roxanne Singh, Kathryn Smythe, Zahrah Stoltenkamp

Joint Chief Creative Officers – Jonathan Deeb/Ahmed Tilly

Executive Creative Director – Gareth Paul

TV, Digital & Social – Hayley Doron, Loyiso Twala (Creative Directors)

Radio – Nigel Matthews, David Schild (Copywriters)

Out-of-Home – Vanessa Klevansky, Kerryn Tyser, Ryan Whyte

Producer – Alexandra Hope-Bailie

Production House – Gentlemen

Director – Greg Rom

Offline post production – The upstairs ludus

Offline Editor: Julian Redpath

Online post facility: Fuel Content

Online Editor: Schalk van der Merwe

VFX: Chocolate Tribe

Audio: Freqncy Audio, Dave Harris

ChatBanking credits

Client: Absa Group

Creative Agency: FCB Joburg

Integrated Executive Business Director:  Thithi Nteta

Account Lead: Kgabo Kganyago (Account Director)

Account Lead (support): Alan Schreiber (Business Unit Director – Retail)

Executive Creative Director: Gareth Paul

Creative Director: Bonolo Modise

Copywriter: Welcome Moyo

Art Director: Brett Noble

Strategic planner: Siwe Thusi

TV production: Barbara Clarke

Media planners: Carat

Production companies: Gentlemen Films

Director: Greg Rom

Post production: Ludus

Absa Group Limited (previously Barclays Africa Group) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups.  Absa Group has a presence in 12 countries in Africa, with approximately 42 000 employees. The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa (Absa Bank), Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.  The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

FCB Africa was established in 1926 and is the longest standing advertising agency in South Africa. It has a proven track record of building South Africa’s favourite brands with 94% of their clients being either number 1 or number 2 in their category.

The group has some of the country’s leading full-service agencies in FCB Joburg and FCB Cape Town and one of the top digital agencies in Hellocomputer. Other full-service agencies include 1886 in Johannesburg and they also have more than 30 affiliates across the continent. They also have a number of specialist operations including Fuel Content – a content production company, Webber Shandwick Africa and The Media Shop, the largest media agency in South Africa.

FCB Africa is a part of FCB Worldwide, which is owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG).

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