Life In A Bubble
Archbishop Desmond Tutu once described South Africa as, “ The Rainbow nation of Africa”. There is no doubt that our nation is a culturally diverse country, one land made up of many people. With 11 different official languages, a multiplicity of traditions and skin tones ranging from ebony to sun scorched pink. The media often displays events of multi coloured people enjoying every day life together in complete and utter harmony. Are these portrayals true to how life is like in South Africa? By them painting such pictures of unity and bliss does it benefit them in the selling of their product or do they just represent such descriptions to douse any racial tensions or perhaps by doing so ultimately create more racial anxiety?
I came across a double page spread Cell C advertisement in the Elle magazine. It was selling their new call rates of only 75cents a minuet. Their whole concept was that of through communication comes peace.
The visuals are that of a beautiful sunny day in the park with Johannesburg city center in the background. The park is filled with bubbles, white doves, heart shaped trees and a dancing Dali Lama showing the peace sign. Just behind him is a rainbow circle reading the lines, “New friends and family” surrounded by every type of race in their ethnic clothing.
The racial aspirations in this ad are clear, they are trying to portray a unified South Africa through all the different cultures joining together by means of the same product namely Cell C and by doing so they are expanding and broadening their target market. They were very careful in the making of this advert for every colour and race you find in this country are present, nobody has been left out. Through that observation alone gives evidence that there is still much tension about race, age and gender in this country for they covered every possible aspect as to not to discriminate against anybody. To achieve ‘world peace’ as it states in the copy, every person of every colour and demographic should be present to set the example and that alone forces them to admit that South Africa still has a problem with racism and prejudice.
One also has to notice the fact that the ad is very dreamlike and surreal. Anybody who lives in this nation will know that people do not walk around in their ethnic clothing, if anything South Africa is more westernized than Africanized. Therefore the ad has a false connotation to it and consequently makes the product and the message it is representing seem somewhat false.
Due to the fact that world peace is a dream and the fact that Cell C has South Africa’s lowest call rates, which is also rather ‘unbelievable’. One has to take into account the means in which this advert has been rendered for it does somewhat reinforce its message of an ideal reality, they are giving you the opportunity to step out of your ‘bubble’ and into a new and promising reality, a reality that allows you to believe something that is impossible can actually be possible. The bubbles also give off the feeling of not being weighed down, but rather that of buoyancy and freedom.
They have represented a youthful element, the people in this visual have been rendered in such a way that they look like little children or cut out dolls. This gives the emotion of innocence, a child like innocence that not yet has been corrupted by the real world, an innocence that does not see colour but simply just another friend. The whole of nature has come to a peaceful agreement, the dove and the crow standing side by side, the meerkats are out and about, even the taxi’s are at peace for they now look like Hippie vans. The presents of a young at heart feel gives off the feeling of safety, little responsibility, a time of play and unrestricted laughter.
The tone on the last line in the copy is that of a child’s jargon, “-which will obviously lead to world peace.” By using the world ‘obviously’ brings forth the confidence a child has, and due to their innocence they believe in anything for they are hopeful and don’t see the ‘why not’ or what the problem is.
Rainbows seem to be linked primarily to three concepts, that of which are: promises, creation, and bridges. Promises made, kept, or desired, the creation of individuals and the universe and bridges between us and somewhere else. Having the presents of the rainbow not only symbolizes what Cell C’s offer is but also that of what our country stands for… It is the promise to live in a free and diplomatic country, to celebrate culture through diversity and to build trusting and loyal relationships between all cultures in our land.
I believe that this advertisement is somewhat successful due to the fact that it really does separate itself from the other cell phone brands. Reason being it is not of your usual group of mixed race people chatting on a cell phone all at the back of a friend’s convertible car. This advert has a totally different feel, a more joyous and up beat sentiment. One kind of wishes life was really that simple and humble.
It is clear at first glance at this ad that it is not an expensive brand and that it is not exactly aimed at a wealthy target market. Cell C was very careful as to not to single out any race or demographic which they believed were most likely to buy their product (the ‘cheaper’ option) for they did not want to discriminate a particular group. That is why every possible type of person has been present.
One has to admit that South Africa and South Africans today have come a long way in the acceptance of one another’s cultures. In my own personal experience I have seen first hand different cultures interacting together in perfect accord. I have been fortunate enough to have always had multi cultural friends and have grown up more accustomed to the idea of multi racial friends, partners and lovers more so than my parents and older siblings. Nevertheless I do realize that there is still a long way to go before complete acceptance between cultures. However through the media and through their portrayals of how life can be if all those racial barriers were to be broken down might just enter in to the public’s subconscious mind and a more open minded public will emerge. I believe that adverts prior to now have been racially charged and filtered as to not to discriminate against any one, but now I feel that they are helping the future of this country of visuals of peace and approval of diversity will eventually influence how we live out our lives and change our perceptions of how life and this country are, for a negative outlook to a more positive one. This Cell C advert may seem unrealistic but its message is clear and distinctive and very sugar coated. I do believe that this ad is ethnically motivated yet I find it successful in what it is selling, that of which is more open and free communication that every one can enjoy for the more communication there is the more we can learn from one another and therefore have compassion and an understanding towards our fellow citizens.
www.amazon.com (How children think)