Santam and Nando’s Play a Game of Chicken

How is a brand supposed to respond when another brand spoofs their ad? South African insurance company, Santam decided to fight fire with fire.

It began innocently enough with an advert for Santam featuring the Oscar winning actor Ben Kingsley:

The advert uses a ‘made you look’ technique that is similar to the approach taken a few years ago by Transport for London’s Moonwalking Bear.

Clearly Nando’s weren’t too impressed. As can be seen by their spoof response:

This was a cheap shot by Nando’s, which left Santam and their agency King James with a dilemma – how to respond?

As can be seen in the following ad, they decided to fight fire with fire, issuing a ‘Back at ya’ challenge to Nando’s:

To their credit, Nando’s took on the challenge and even raised the stakes of the bet:

This lighthearted exchange demonstrates that brands can often benefit by being good humoured, even when ‘attacked’ by others.

When the first ad was spoofed, instead of engaging Nando’s in a potentially costly litigation battle, Santam’s tongue-in-cheek response demonstrated a human side to the brand and generated positive buzz in the process.

Knowing when to take a joke is a skill that needs to be learned. Nobody wants to be a push over, but being too uptight doesn’t win you many friends either.

If we’re honest, each of us has probably had to struggle with this through the process of growing up. The challenge is far more difficult to navigate for brands with all the financial and legal implications that need to be considered.

But as Adre Greef, candidate attorney at law firm Adams & Adams explains: “This is an example of two corporate giants who decided to come to an amicable truce rather than fighting a public war and benefiting a very deserving group in the process.”

Thanks to Jamie Kenny, Jam’s Chief Strategy Officer, for bringing this series of ads to my attention.

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