Nando’s is no chicken brand

Thumbs up to Nando’s for having big kahunas. The song of this courageous brand will be sung long after the hype of its diversity campaign dies down. Nando’s must be commended for not only taking a stand in their advertising message, but in the way they handled the SABC’s ban of that same advert.

 


You know you are hitting the bulls-eye when the public broadcaster starts getting uncomfortable and waving around words like banning. The SABC proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nando’s had indeed begun discourse on one of South Africa’s ‘uncomfortable issues’,  xenophobia. The banning of the Nando’s Diversity Campaign by SABC took us years back into the time when we were stuck in PW Botha’s State of Emergency and toyi-toying was the order of the day for the oppressed. More so, the closed-minded decision harks back to a time when blacks and whites couldn’t be in the same commercial simply because it made some people uncomfortable.

Banning free speech because it’s uncomfortable for some takes SA back to a time when the powers that be censored everything, deciding what we could and could not see. The broadcasters that banned the Nando’s ad are proof that we are edging into nanny state type environment that seeks to hold back important discourse on social issues in South Africa. One wonders how many other controversial messages have been silenced by these self-appointed mother grundies of today’s social landscape. Are we all sitting back and allowing the broadcasters to set the tone? To take on the job of censoring and determining what’s kosher social commentary in South Africa?

The print ad in the Sunday Times, a storyboard of the banned television ad

The broadcasters made a bad call on behalf of the nation as Nando’s Quinton Cronje says, assuming that the entire nation is too unsophisticated to appreciate the commentary and humour in the ad. If anything, as a citizen of South Africa and a dedicated consumer of local media, I feel the broadcasters themselves were blinded to the  commentary and humour of the ad. This even after the ad was cleared by the Association of Communication and Advertising, not banned by the Advertising Standards Authority nor the Film and Publications Board. I think the SABC is operated way outside its mandate. It is here to serve the public and it is supported by tax payers funds. It is not here to push a propaganda or to promote a particular agenda, which it is now clearly doing.

 

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