Has Nandos lost the plot?

The South African fast food chicken chain Nando’s (which has of late also become very popular in Britain) has always been known for their good adverts. They usually manage to combine a quick-off-the-mark, topical sense of the news with a particularly South African brand of wit and irony. Take for instance their ads featuring Julius Malema last year, which made the ANC Youth League so angry they called for its withdrawal (Julius, on the other hand, just wanted Nando’s to pay him).

But I’m not sure their latest ad (see the clip above) hits the mark.

Tapping into the foreign interest in South African culture around the upcoming football World Cup, it is ostensibly aimed at satirising the stereotypes that overseas visitors to the country might bring along with them. The desire to see ‘authentic Africa’ (so clearly portrayed in the spate of ridiculous ads now emerging on TV screens around the world) is clearly lampooned by the caricature of a hapless white guy in ‘ethnic’ dress. He is making fun of the old colonial trope of bare-breasted African women who was of course always stared at and photographed purely for anthropological reasons.  So far, so satire.

But is it just me, or is there a point where the audience is invited to slip into his point of view, when the gaze moves from the stereotypical white pervert as an object of ridicule, to indeed step into its own pitfall of seeing the topless women as sexualized objects? For some reason it seems as if the satirical tone is not sustained all the way through, and the ad starts to become cheesy instead of funny. Or perhaps all those European football ads of empty savannahs have just clouded my judgement?

What do you think?

Herman Wasserman



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. I think it's funny. The cracks about the pups and cones are perhaps a bit much, but it totally makes the point. I was waiting for more puns on the chicken breasts, though. Not quite in Nandos' usual style, but not bad either.

  2. I don't anything of white south african satire, but I imagine that the stereotypical foreigner's stare at the bare breasted African woman doesn't really include white women. For that reason I think it's disingenuine, and I agree with the last paragraph. It appears to fail if it was to make fun of colonial foreign stereotypes.

  3. @Herman: Is the ad for the SA market or is it for an international audience? What has the response been in SA?

  4. @ekapa – probably the SA market primarily, although during the WC the ad will obviously be seen by lots of foreign visitors too, so they would have kept that in mind I would think.

  5. well the ad confirms a point that one of the audience members at sean's soccer panel made. when you look at it, the world cup or soccer in general is hyper masculine: male players, male commentators, male managers, male fans (not even female cheerleaders) and the marketing of the world cup is directed at guys of a certain age who have sports and sex on the brain. the woman's comment was about how zuma, a fifa exec, and a south african woman were doing some press event and the fifa guy basically said, with a gesture towards the woman, that people should visit south africa because there was a lot waiting for them there. thats a paraphrase and i admittedly didnt see the clip, but the point is that nando's is not the only one out there trying to bring in world cup dollars by offering south african women's bodies. brazil is often marketed the same way. come to brazil, sleep with our girls!

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