Christine van Deventer, Manager: Marketing and Communication of the ATKV: "It’s important to promote the value of Afrikaans in the economic, academic, social and advertising sectors as it speaks to the hearts, minds and wallets of its users.”
So says Christine van Deventer, Manager: Marketing and Communication of the ATKV. As founding member and gold sponsor of the Pendoring Advertising Awards and project, the organisation regards the promotion of Afrikaans in the corporate world as crucial.
“Afrikaans-speaking consumers are the ‘money bags' of South Africa,” argues Van Deventer. “Some 25% of the country's consumers are Afrikaans speaking. If you talk to them in their mother tongue and to boot through excellent, sharp advertising, they're far more likely to open their wallets, which are an enormous boost for the economy.”
Furthermore, Afrikaans is the third most used language in South Africa, so the number of consumers that could be reached through Afrikaans is so much higher than it would be in the case of only advertising in English.
Unfortunately, companies and marketers tend to overlook the importance of Afrikaans marketing and advertising. “In this regard, the onus is on Afrikaans consumers to force companies with their wallets, to advertise in the language of their choice, whether it is in print media, on TV, over the radio or on the web,” reckons Van Deventer.
It is important for the ATKV not only to speak about the importance and effectiveness of Afrikaans, the organisation also puts its money where its mouth is. Its new campaign - ‘Dis Afrikaans' - tells consumers that they can engage with Afrikaans very easily, whether it is through cultural activities; language preservation; the acknowledgement of those who render exceptional work in Afrikaans; enjoying the company of friends around a camp fire; or at a jolly Afrikaans festival.
It is precisely this approach of the ATKV that has ensured that the organisation played a key role in the success of Pendoring since its founding fifteen years ago, says Japie Gouws, newly appointed MD of the organisation. “The ATKV considers Afrikaans vital, but not the only ingredient in the rich and colourful South African landscape,” he stresses.
“Like the yeast in bread: without it, the bread will be flat and doughy, but the other ingredients are equally important to ensure an appetising and tasty loaf. And, just like the other ingredients need to be mixed well, it is crucial that the ATKV forms part of every sector of the South African community, of which the business sector is but one.”
Van Deventer agrees. “The ATKV acknowledges that there are eleven official languages in South Africa and one is not more important than another. However, it is important to promote the value of Afrikaans in the economic, academic, social and advertising sectors as it speaks to the hearts and minds of its users. It is our mother tongue: the language that is so palpably expressive and best allows us to air our views.”
At the same time, the importance of advertising in other indigenous languages should also be recognised, another important objective of Pendoring. The more the value of advertising in your own language is promoted, the more the value and importance of Afrikaans advertising will become evident, reckons Van Deventer.
Sadly, an increasing number of Afrikaans advertising creatives create in English only, therefore the need to create in Afrikaans should be stimulated anew, she adds. “Firstly, the corporate world needs to be attuned to the effectiveness of Afrikaans advertising and then the creatives need to be inspired to not only translate commercial messages from English, but to create them in their original mother tongue of Afrikaans,” stresses Van Deventer.
That is why Pendoring is so important. “Companies and people, who use effective and good Afrikaans advertising, need to be recognised and acknowledged. Pendoring is one of the few awards where winners walk away with a sought-after trophy as well as a substantial cash prize. On top of that, the overall winner receives an overseas bursary, as well as an additional cash reward. This creates the opportunity of cross-pollination, which will allow creative ideas to grow in the Afrikaans market.”
This is reinforced by the ATKV's own marketing and advertising philosophy: “We tell those with ears to live Afrikaans,” enthuses Van Deventer. “If you eat, drink, read, socialise and work in Afrikaans, surely the language will go from strength to strength?”