The South African computer manufacturer Mecer recently released an advert celebrating thirty years of producing local products.
It features a crew of singing and dancing people (presumably employees) in a factory, celebrating local manufacturing and everything South African, from the Springboks to Nelson Mandela. At one point, the lead singer raps that "local is not k*k".
The ad explains how local manufacturing boosts economic growth and provides jobs, and at one point, a singer shoulders dancers wearing international brands like Nike, Kappa and Adidas out of the way.
The ad has been trending on social media - but for all the wrong reasons.
That Mecer ad reminded me that I need to replace my Macbook. With a Macbook— Talullah ?????? (@_NalediGiuseppe) February 26, 2019
Guys, if we don’t tag Mecer & their ad agency & tell them to drop that ad, we don’t know what we’re doing!— Sizwe Dhlomo (@SizweDhlomo) February 26, 2019
has black twitter found out who mecer's agency is yet? ??????— claire mawisa (@clairemawisa) February 26, 2019
Dozens of social media users complained about the ad's shoddy production values, clichés and dated aesthetics, and one Twitter user described it as "the worst ad ever". The ad has a running time of almost two minutes.
"Was it meant to be a rap? Was it meant to be spoken word? Why are blacks dancing and singing for laptops? And also why can’t the lead dancer, dance ke? The rap doesn’t even have rhymes," one viewer commented on YouTube.
One of the more memorable lines in the ad is: "We are Swati, we are Tsonga too, like a one-tonne bakkie, we do what we need to do."Other gems include: "With our rainbow nation, we maak 'n plan, we are all South African" and "Don't be a moegoe, just because it's foreign doesn't make it okay."
I can't believe there's a boardroom full of people, in South Africa, that hate black excellence this much. Just celebrating blackness was sooo painful they chose to punish us like this rather?? Well we feel punished. Thank you Mecer. Yhu.— #SUMMERLIFE (@busiswaah) February 26, 2019
Some even refused to believe that it was a real ad.
I dont think it's a real advert. I think some competitor put it together to discredit Mecer. Between the breathless rap/poetry and the ridiculous dancing where dancing is not required...I refuse to believe that it's real .— Oti Mosime (@OtiMosime) February 26, 2019
I honestly believed that Mecer Ad was a spoof, kanti no - that thing is real??????— Mathews (@Matiase01) February 26, 2019
But the company said in a statement that the advert highlighted the company's commitment to South Africa and all the people that make up its rainbow nation.
"As a company who have recently celebrated their third decade of operation, the campaign is an opportunity for Mecer to reaffirm their commitment to offering South Africans access to world-class technology at an affordable price and create jobs that will help to drive the economy and reduce inequality," read the statement.
Mecer said they were encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitment to have learners at the country's schools using tablets in the future.
Regardless of the company's motives, many South Africans wish to unsee the ad.
I want to unsee the video ????— KTN MAHLOKO ?? (@ThatyMahloko) February 26, 2019
One branding expert told Business Insider SA spoke that it is unclear what Mecer was trying to achieve with the ad.
"If you don't advertise regularly, you want to go out with a bang. It was a bang for them, but I'm not sure if it landed well."
You can watch the ad here:
Also from Business Insider South Africa: