How brands are exploiting #MandelaDay

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