The latest Nando’s ad poster on Twitter- as it has been the case for quite some time now, rattled more feathers with its politically loaded statement. The ad poster seems to be in support of the judgment to lock former president Jacob Zuma in jail.
The ad poster has since divided the nation- with even Kwaito star, Lvovo deciding to block the chicken franchise on his social media after he called the chicken joint a ‘political party’.
But the question remains; is Nando’s meddling in the political space instead of selling its chicken?
Well, that answer and the many related answers about post-apartheid South African advertisements are found inside the pages of Khanya Mtshali’s new book.
In It’s Not Inside It’s on Top, Khanya thoroughly reflects, dissect, give context, and criticizes some of the television ads that formed part of the new South Africa post-1994.
Let me first admit that Khanya transported back to my young days of watching TV, where I was irritated by the ads that kept popping in and out without me even being conscious about some of the messages the commercials were communicating to me and the rest of the viewers.
However, perusing through the pages of this well-researched book, I was able to understand how TV commercials- such as one from Nando’s are able to communicate the political, social and cultural messages of the time.
It’s Not Inside It’s on Top is not just a book about TV commercials, but one that will educate us about how TV advertising- as another form of communication, can be a tool to help us reckon with the social, economic, and political issues that have hamstrung the progress of South Africa.
For the likes of Lvovo, who sees commercials from the likes of Nando’s as political postures, this book will provide the much-needed education about how satire easily finds expression in advertising in the modern era, and how that should be understood within that context.
I think the only downside was that Khanya was a bit bias in some of her critiques of some commercials than the other, and that might be attributed to her political and feminist ideals.
Despite that, It’s Not Inside It’s on Top is an insightful, rich, well-researched book that shines the spotlight on South African TV advertising, and how it and continues to play its role in contemporary South Africa.