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Bilious Cretins 4 Bafana

Bilious Cretins 4 Bafana

by Andy Davis / 03.10.2009

Prepare ye for the glutt of 2010-shaped hucksters, grifters, conmen and bald-faced liars, marketeers and other vermin, bent on making a quick buck by stoking the embers of Mandela-era nationalism and dressing it up as your patriotic and civic duty to support Bafana Bafana, and by implication the healing of our nation, our economy and everything else that matters, simply by purchasing their product.

Take for example the Support 4 Bafana Bafana Wristband, euphemistically called the Support 4 Bafana Bafana Social Project. What a load of self-aggrandising bollocks, dressed up as a charity project that intends to make the principals loads and loads of money while preying on your finely tuned cocktail of emotions; guilt, nationalism, empathy and the desire to not be embarrassed when the world focusses her attention on Mzanzi in June next year.

Here we quote from the PR: “The Bafana Bafana Social Project is part our national football team’s legacy programme for 2010 – their way of making a difference through a credible social programme; and at the same time leaving a positive mark in the community from now leading up to the World Cup.”

“The wristband represents a tangible unifying symbol; as well as being an affordable accessory with which all South Africans can identify. By purchasing a band, South Africans are not only able to show their support for the team, they are also contributing to the success of World Cup 2010 and contributing to social upliftment.”

So you’re going to get hustled by the Raymonds, Ackerman and Hack, Pick ‘n Pay, SAFA and a whole bunch of other dirty, shameless hucksters, into buying a colourful rubber band to strap around your wrist in support, not only of our largely inept football team, but also in support of the success of the 2010 World Cup, nation building, orphans, the elderly, the glory of South Africa and any other emotional balls they can tack onto your withered psyche and diminished sense of national pride.

Armbands 4 Bafana

“‘We are incredibly proud of this initiative,’ says Raymond Hack, CEO of the South African Football Association. ‘Football has the exceptional ability to unite a nation, and the funds generated through the sale of the bands will go a long way in building the champions of tomorrow.'”

These bullet proof, stone cold snake oil salesmen hope you’ll be swept up in such an orgiastic swell of emotion, (or is that shame?), that it will override your empirical thought processes and you won’t do the maths. These rubber bands will cost you R14.99 each. A quick internet sweep will tell you that you can buy a silicone rubber wristband for $0.15 each. And that’s a retail price.

And: “For every band sold, one rand will go to developing football stars of tomorrow, as well as to credible charities through The Trust*.”

They admit it themselves.
“‘The marketing strategy around this project is a mix of emotions aimed at bringing out the best in all South Africans, coming together as one for the best possible ‘off- field’ performance of our country unified as one team for 2010,’ says MD of SLAM, Vivian Casaletti, who together with SAFA conceived of this plan.”

But wait the philanthropy doesn’t end there.
“In keeping with their ongoing commitment to social responsibility, Pick n Pay has taken their involvement even further by committing to match every rand donated to the campaign through the sale of the wristbands.”

“Said Jonathan Ackerman, Marketing Director of Pick n Pay: ‘Since the inception of Pick n Pay some 42 years ago, it has been our practice to serve the communities in which we are privileged enough to operate, and this campaign has provided us with the ideal platform to do exactly that. We are particularly proud to be involved as launch partner; and to be able to provide hope where it is needed most.'”

Where’s that Jonathan? Your bank accounts? You see, I’m not so good with maths, but I’m not so bad that I can’t work out 15 minus 2, leaves 13 odd Rands for Pick ‘n Pay, SAFA and all the other corporate vampires and charlatans to grow ever fatter on, while we get duped into believing that buying a rubber bracelet is going to propel Bafana Bafana to World Cup glory and solve all our social problems and save our nation, in one go.

And they’re nothing if not ambitious. “With the entire nation uniting in support of this incredibly worthwhile cause, we will be sure to reach our goal of raising 10 million Rand by 2010 and truly making a perceptible difference.”

Well if they manage to raise 10 million Rand, these bilious cretins will make something in the region of R50 million for themselves. Not bad going, huh?

Frankly wearing a Support 4 Bafana Wristband is akin to telling everyone that you’ve been duped in the name of narrow-minded, nationalistic, “development-washing” marketing by corporate South Africa. And you know what, it won’t help Bafana play a better game of footie.

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RESPONSES (16)
  1. Karen Lotter says:

    So young and so very cynical – its sad!

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  2. carlos says:

    Hear ye and hear him.

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  3. Andy says:

    I don’t think it’s cynicism, it’s realism, Karen. Initiatives like this are just another example of how advanced capitalism dresses up as a social cause in search of profit. It obfuscates and pretends to be charitable, but really it’s just a crass money making venture.

    You think it’s cynical to point this out?

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  4. G says:

    There’s a free tube of lube that comes with each wristband.

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  5. Bafana Bafana supporter says:

    what a negative person, instead of using your medium to promote the world cup & get people excited and behind the national team you criticize their initiatives! so what is Mahala doing to galvanize support for Bafana? and what money are you giving to charity? MAHALA neh??!! thats why your name suits you ……….
    its much easier to criticize than to actually make a difference
    I wish every brand or product which is on the market in this country could donate R1 of their wholesale price/ profit, you know what difference it will make!!??? so the target of this initiative of R10million to be raised by 2010 (which you conveniently left out) does not make this a worthy cause?????
    You & everyone that agrees with you are the cynics, because you are the ones just critizing & being negative without actually contributing positively to any cause whatsoever!!!
    Oh by the way, all donations are on wholesale price or net of costs FYI check any CSI initiative, 46664, Unicef, Nedbank etc – so before talking s#%it pls do your research and use the power that your medium offers to influence peole positively instead

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  6. Paul says:

    Being from the import industry myself, I have a clear understanding of the money side of things and I bought these bands for my kids so I had a good look at what it might cost. Before you foresee the bank accounts of SAFA and Pick Pay, you might want to take the following costs into consideration. The silicon band is not just a $0.15 rubber band, it’s fairly thick and has a full colour print (multicolour at that which pushes up the cost a great deal), is individually packaged and packaged into display units (also full colour as well so the price goes up again), then there’s supplier agency fees, shipping and freighting, duties and taxes, distribution, the donation and marketing spend which all adds up and can very easily exceed R10 ex VAT which doesn’t make your R50 million theory possible at all. When people are trying to contribute to society, I think that they should be commended and not blasted for trying to do a good thing. Also, I seem to remember an article about Pick n Pay donating their entire margin to the cause and not meeting a rand for every band sold anymore so again, your R50 million bank account theory is not possible. You should do your research, ripping apart one press release isn’t enough and trashing an entire initiative when you yourself don’t do anything just doesn’t seem fair.

    I bought my kids these bands as I said earlier but not because of the charity factor, they wanted them because it looked cool. My point in mentioning this is that these guys didn’t need to donate to charity to sell these, they could have sold them without donating anything because they are trendy. Why are we critizing people for donating money when I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t donate anything everytime I sell a plate or mug.

    Hey Andy, are you going to donate anything for every hit you get on this site or for each person that reads this article? I think not

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  7. Andy says:

    Paul – for starts check out the philanthropic work we do with the Mahala Surf Co. And then, just so you know Mahala is a not for profit media association with our own charter.

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  8. Bertus says:

    If anything, the above mentioned debate confirms yet again one of life’s
    most intriguing mysteries, that one’s point of view is based predominantly
    on your perception (Which proves that no ultimate truth exists – only your
    own) and frame of reference.

    Any business, by virtue of it being in existence has, if not as its primary
    objective then at least somewhere in its mission statement, profit as a
    result of trading and/or delivering a set of services. 2010 in and of itself
    presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs and established businesses the
    like to turn a profit…

    Andy, I do however appreciate your views and observations which in most
    cases are not far from the truth i.e. most corporate organizations don’t
    really care about the consumers’ wellbeing apart from where their efforts
    are ultimately directed towards the end game – “profitability” Consumers
    need to be more diligent in their day to day purchasing habits not to
    mention the more emotional purchases they make – which I firmly agree with
    Andy, 2010 has a very real possibility of using consumers’ emotional bias
    towards SA in the run up toward the cup in enticing them into buying
    products which they ordinarily would not. SA and I daresay the rest of the
    Western world would be a less stressful place if consumers applied more
    financial discipline when buying “what they truthfully do not need” – the
    arm bands are not going to break the bank, but the principle applies….

    This said though, consumers ultimately make the decision to buy or not to
    buy. One cannot abdicate responsibility in a matter where you can exercise
    free will and here Andy, you are if nothing else, adding an additional check
    point to the consumers’ checklist of assessing whether a purchase is in
    fact really required….consumers also have a right to know which route
    their hard earned money follows down the chain and your observations provide
    valuable insight into this.

    All said, I have a real desire and hope that 2010 has every and any positive
    effect it can have on SA – the Universe/God knows, SA needs something
    positive now more than ever…Go Bafana Bafana !!!!

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  9. Paul says:

    Andy, as commendable as Surf Co’s efforts and projects are, if these guys reach their target of R10 million, they can do so much more than donate 20 surf boards. I really do hope that Surf Co can grow to the level of being able to help so many people and all over the country just like this campaign can. I checked out the charities, they are 54 it total and it’s national!!!! Think of the good that can be done from this.

    I just feel that to trash this initiative just doesn’t seem fair just because it’s a SAFA initiative. Isn’t charity and goodwill supposed to be encouraged and commended? Are you going to tear down every initiative like this? Is the Elizabeth Anne’s donating 10% for every sale going to be your next artilce?

    As I said, I understand the money side of the import industry very well being in it and these guys don’t seem to be banking it as you claim, if fact, far from it. These products will sell anyway, these companies don’t have to give to charity but they do. We should take a note out of their book and do something in our personal capacity if not from our businesses.

    Is it so hard to believe that maybe it looks good because perhaps it really is? But then again if you are a negative person, you will always see the glass half empty.

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  10. Andy says:

    Paul, it’s the dishonesty that gets me. It’s about dressing something up as charity work and making a huge profit at the same time. They’re basically trading on our emotions and desires to do good, in order to make a fat bag of swag for themselves. Yes it’s better business than simply making moolah and not giving a shit about the poor and dispossessed. But the R2 philanthropic component of these wristbands could quite easily be written off as a marketing expense – but it’s positioned as the central thrust for creating this product.

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  11. simmo says:

    the world we live in today is driven by money, profit and capitalistic nature, it is hard to imagine any one creating millions for charity and taking nothing for the effort. but the future of this world could be much healthier with more intiatives like this, as bill gates wrote in a recent time magazine, creative capitalism is the most realistic way forward if we want to make a difference now. i dont think there is anything wrong with making a profit, especially if it creates a better life for the underprivilaged… if all business dedicated a percentage of profits or even just one product to charity, we would have solved many of the problems in this world.

    having said that..andy i really dig your writing and your piece on ian armstrong was eye opening. didnt have much nice to say about that guy until that article.

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  12. Lee says:

    Andy I agree with you that the majority of corporates dress up charity to increase customer loyalty and ultimately to make profit by creating a positive but often false perception. I am also a harsh judge of the corporate world for their profit driven agendas. BUT I have first hand knowledge of the amount of positive contribution that Pick n Pay make to our country. They may be a corporate, they may make lots of money for their board members but they give back a hell of a lot, more than any other organisation that I know of. I am not trying to defend anyone here but purely want to make the point that its easy to criticize without knowing all the facts.

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  13. Moose says:

    @ simmo
    there is nothing wrong with giving a percentage of your profits to good causes. That’s all great (if that is what actually happens)
    BUT that’s not the issue…
    The issue here is that the whole thing is designed to look like a charity when it fact it’s not.

    There is indeed nothing wrong in trying to make a profit, but how you do it matters.

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  14. Moose says:

    @ Paul
    You don’t seem to mind being manipulated as long as somewhere in the process you think something good happens. Weird.

    And stop denigrating Mahala Surf Co. It’s not huge, but it’s honest and run by people that actually care about the lives they change and donate their own time and money. In fact it’s exactly what more people and businesses should be doing, not buying or selling bullshit wristbands to feel better while covering their costs and looking for profits.

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  15. davey says:

    “way to go Andy”

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  16. Charmaine Santos says:

    I am a staunch supporter of Bafana, so of course i buy an arm band, wonderful initiative. Enter the competition with my “unique” code, just to receive a sms telling me I entered the wrong code. Of course being an idiot, I resend my sms, after checking the code again. Guess what, I receive the same sms telling me I entered the wrong code. Checked it twice. Take note, R2 per sms. What to do???

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