Mandela Day is a day that is set out to commemorate the birth of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela. In his remembrance, ordinary people are required to dedicate at least 67 minutes of their time to doing something good for others, particularly those in need. Great concept right? However, brands have found the day opportune for them to push their brands and drive sales. One particular brand that really caught my attention was Pick n Pay, a leading retail company in South Africa. Pick n Pay had a “target” of donating 1 million meals to the less fortunate. In order for them to be able to do so, they invited the public to help them reach their target. How convenient, this is a company that makes an annual turnover of more than R75 billion, yet they are asking the public to make donation to fulfill their #MandelaDay ambitions. Here is my thing, if Pick n Pay wants to donate 1 million meals for #MandelaDay, they can easily do so solely from their pockets.

Pick n Pay, however was not the only brand that was opportunistic on #MandelaDay. Many other brands flooded our timelines with their “good deeds” for #MandelaDay, some brands asked their followers to Retweet and Share their content in exchange for donations; what a clever way of increasing followers and brand awareness? If you (as a brand) want to giveaway R67 000 to charity, why should we (the public) retweet the brand’s tweet 67 000 times? This also goes to show how businesses never give without gaining anything. Gary Vaynerchuk often speaks about how marketers ruin everything, in this instance brands are exploiting #MandelaDay with their desire for PR.

Some people would argue by saying that at the end of the day someone is getting assisted or fed, while others say #MandelaDay is for those who want to be seen helping other people. Therefore they would not partake in #MandelaDay initiatives and give a chance to those who have to tick boxes for their CSI projects. Here is my thing, if giving back is ingrained within a brand, days such as #MandelaDay should not be the highlight of the brand giving back. A huge slap on the brands that are using #MandelaDay to meet their business objectives.

I am interested in knowing your thoughts on #MandelaDay and how brands are capitalising on Mandela Day for their own benefit. Please leave your comment below, and Also doo remember to get in touch with @PatOnBrands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I thought of this, but I didn’t realise how deep the marketing ploys went. I think that this is an important topic to discuss further.

  2. Wow Pat! I thought about this and it exploits us as customers. We buy for the good but at the enrichment of the ready rich people..

    Do good to do good.. don’t do good to seem good.

  3. A broader question is what does this mean for Mandela legacy? Will we remember him as the man who contributes to capitalism?

    1. I believe the origins of the initiative was to spend TIME and EFFORT doing good.. Other people and cooperates have just made it into a money making system while “doing good”

  4. So true! What level of greed is this? I can’t say I’m surprised, just look at Pnp prices, they are written greed all over them.

  5. The line between brand marketing and opportunism is becoming finer by the day as competition in the consumer space increases. I guess it’s just one of those grey areas, that aren’t really right, but aren’t really wrong either.

  6. I so this at one of the pick ‘n pay stores and as their sole customer, I saw how are they using this to their advantage. How do I fit in someone wanting to donate something while using me to meet their target so that they can receive praises whereas they have done nothing but to use the consumers as to get more attention and become even more richer. Most people ask for help from other people to donate to the less privellage and then forget to mention who helped them to gain so much as they only want the lime light. This is so annoying and unethical

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