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SA gets WhatsApp drama

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Sanlam has launched the country’s first WhatsApp drama series which is told entirely through the medium of WhatsApp in texts, photos, voice notes and video.

Sanlam has launched the country’s first WhatsApp drama series. Uk’shona Kwelanga (meaning ‘The Sunset’ and also ‘The Death of Langa’) is a collaboration with top scriptwriter and playwright Bongi Ndaba and a number of the country’s best known actors. But unlike a TV drama series, it is told entirely through the medium of WhatsApp in texts, photos, voice notes and video.

WhatsApp is the most used social messenger app in the country but is currently only used by a small number of brands globally – due to the technical limitations of the platform. Sanlam chose WhatsApp because it is a medium most of their market uses, and an ideal opportunity to shift into a new space of entertainment and immediacy.

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On coming up with the concept Lesego Kotane, Strategy Partner at King James said, “The Funeral Scheme market is an important business for Sanlam; however in the past they have had challenges making inroads as a brand that is strongly associated with this offering. Besides having a very strong product offering to talk about, we also wanted to demonstrate to our market that Sanlam has an understanding of the realities that come with the planning of a send off for a loved on.  So the creative challenge was to find a way to show this in a way that would resonate with our target market and through a platform that they already engage with. The combination of soapie and social media felt like the right one.”

The WhatsApp drama will launch on 5 June and be available up until mid July. The drama tells the tale of a South African family struggling to deal with the emotional and financial ramifications of loss while planning their father’s funeral. Although the story is a familiar one, the means of conducting the campaign is entirely new – subscribers will receive a series of updates over seven days (the average time it takes to plan a funeral), drawing them into the drama and making them feel like part of the family. A marketing campaign including a promotional video, billboards and social media ads will build an audience for the series.

Scriptwriter, Bongi Ndaba, used her experience writing for shows such as Generations to create characters that many South Africans will identify with.

“It was hugely challenging writing for WhatsApp – characters needed to be relatable to all South Africans, and their story had to deal with serious subject matter but in a fun and engaging way. When someone dies, you don’t have long to plan a funeral. Time pressure coupled with financial demands inevitably causes distress even in the most loving and harmonious of families – a theme we wanted to explore in more depth. I hope the script is true to life and handles the scenario sensitively. As a writer, it was an exciting opportunity to explore a real-time, real-impact medium. Hopefully, this will set the tone for the nature of advertising going forwards.”

Qeaql Studio Design Resource

Qeaql Studio Design Resource

According to Tendani Matshisevhe from Sanlam Developing Markets, “The idea behind this campaign was to educate people in an experiential and accessible way. We wanted it to be as lifelike as possible – also showing the cultural issues of deciding where to lay a loved one to rest, observing important rituals and balancing the demands of the modern world and tradition.”

Voice notes for the real-time drama will be voiced by some of South Africa’s favourite actors including Shabangu’s Bongani Madondo, Isidingo’s Linda Sokhulu and Stokvel’s Thembi Mtshali, who were also filmed for a series trailer.

Every episode in the drama demonstrates the necessity of a funeral scheme, which pays out claims quickly. With a lot to do in a short period, funeral cover alleviates some of the stress on families, and allows people to focus on what’s important – celebrating the life of the person they loved.

To find out more SMS your name and surname to 45603 to watch the drama unfold over 7 days or visit https://www.sanlam.co.za/campaigns/mychoicewhatsappdrama/Pages/default.aspx

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SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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