Afrikaans is quite possibly the most expressive language in this country. Created by people who have a love for nature, the earthy tone of the language allows you to speak your mind with great clarity. There are no ifs or buts. Whether you want tell your loved one you love her, or tear a strip off a miscreant, there are words that leave no doubt as to what you mean. It is a young language with few nuances, but its vocabulary is powerful.

Afrikaners have a deep affection for their language because it defines who they are. They are therefore attracted to communication that addresses them in their mother tongue. Advertising persuasion based on ideas that are based in Afrikaans culture open up a path towards one to one conversation that can eventually result in bonding with the brand.

Fifty years ago the advertising industry and marketers understood the value of addressing Afrikaans speaking consumers in their mother tongue, and they responded by building relationships with the brands that went down this road.

Effective advertising is based on ideas that resonate culturally with the target market. It is this recognition that invites consumers to participate in the message telling the brand story. This approach obviously applies to all the cultures in this country. It is one of the basic tenets of advertising communication.

Unfortunately, since the advertising industry in this country became Americanised, recognising local values has dropped off the radar in favour of the one-size-fits all approach to communication. The only language the industry is recognising is English, and creative concepts formulated from this cultural background rides roughshod over any idea based on any other language.

To illustrate this point, the May issue of the Afrikaans travel magazine Weg is 146 pages thick. There is not one advertisement in the issue which is based on ideas born out of Afrikaans culture. The editorial, on the other hand, converses with Afrikaners as a friend. In contrast, although the words in the advertisements in the magazine are in Afrikaans, they are supported with visuals that are standard icons. As a result the brand message does not fully resonate with the reader.

The Afrikaans consumer is the dominant group among white affluent South Africans. Surely it would benefit marketers to address them in their own language with ideas that relate to their culture?
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