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Why you should invest in experiential marketing

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From ad-blockers to the ever-present and constantly tapped ‘skip ad’ button, consumers have made it clear that traditional online advertising just doesn’t cut it. Everywhere you go, ads are shouting at you from every corner, and social scientists have shown that consumers actively ignore these predictable and impersonal attempts at connecting with consumers.

So how can businesses drive better connections with consumers? The answer is simple: experiential marketing that consumers actually want to engage with.

Global trends are showing the way – and the results speak for themselves

Various surveys conducted over the last few years have shown a massive uptick in experiential marketing investment, with most of the world’s brands – as much as 80% – seeing the value in creating meaningful connections1. This is backed up by further studies showing impressive effectivity: nearly 80% of experiential marketing campaigns see a 3:1 return on investment, with just over 15% showing an incredible 20:1 ROI or even more2!

The key to growth: Meaningful connections

As most advertising experts know, consumer behaviour is being driven more and more by the connection they feel with the brand in question. Not only do effective experiences create positive, long-lasting associations with your brand, they forge a deeper connection with the consumer than a poster or banner ad ever could.

Live events and engaging activations also give you an unrivalled opportunity to showcase your product, forging a better understanding amongst your target audience. And when a consumer understands your product and trusts your brand, they are that much more likely to become loyal customers.

Harnessing technology for exponential growth

What do people do when they see something awesome? They whip out their phones and start creating content. Almost all attendees at live events share content to their own social media pages, often tagging the brand, and promotional incentives can further drive this free and effective digital ‘word-of-mouth’ communication. This feeds into your brand’s content, allowing you to earn credible media attention with just 1 event.

Companies that know how to harness this free content creation have an unrivalled opportunity to access authentic and meaningful connections that go beyond the attendees of your event.

Experiential marketing grabs attention

As mentioned above, there is a torrent of info and advertising assaulting today’s consumer wherever they go, and it can be hard to rise above the noise. Experiential marketing does just that, in a fun, engaging and memorable way that will stick in the consumer’s mind for many months or even years to come.

Get in touch with us today for 360° experiential marketing that transforms and secures the connection your brand has with its consumers, for real and measurable growth.

1: Forbes, Experiential Marketing is the Future of Retail, 2019
2: Dio, Benefits of Experiential Marketing, 2017

SA Biggest Breakfast

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This year, we helped White Star continue the legacy of #SABiggestBreakfast by taking the event to the digital realm! Let’s take a look at how we made that happen, and the incredible results we were able to achieve.

The challenge

With 2021 being an unpredictable year, the event industry was forced to adapt or become obsolete. SA’s Biggest Breakfast has historically been a physical event, with lots of hype and excitement around the actual day. This charity-driven initiative has established itself as a South African institution, with people all over the country getting involved. However, in the context of a global pandemic, we knew that we had to get creative to keep the tradition alive.

The solution

What do you do when the people can’t come to the experience? You take the experience to the people! Having already hosted a successful #SABiggestBreakfast virtually in 2020, Matriarch embarked on a multi-faceted approach to get all South Africans to celebrate breakfast from their homes for a bigger and better 2021 experience.

To build hype around the event, we developed a comprehensive pre-activation campaign to drive people to view and take part in the event. We invited the whole country to join us, with a team of influencers and celebrities creating excitement and encouraging people to join the event.

Through an aggressive and comprehensive multi-channel campaign, we were able to spread the word to millions of people, while promoting the various charity and entertainment components of the initiative.

The event itself was hosted by Refiloe Motsei (a former Miss Soweto runner-up) and saw performances by South African royalty Black Motion and Lerato K (a former Miss Soweto winner). Many big names joined the virtual breakfast, including Lady D, Mr Gwej’s Kitchen, K Naomi and the current Miss Soweto, Musawenkosi Gumede.

Further driving virtual attendance and audience participation was a charity competition, seeing a total of 5000 White Star Instant Porridge 1kg packs being donated to charities chosen by our celebrity performers – plus a R5000 cash prize for viewers who took part in the competition.

The results

We were able to reach an incredible amount of people through various channels including CSI, radio, digital, in-store advertising and PR.

Campaign impressions: 15 million
Media reach: 1.5 million
Radio reach: 2.5 million

The event was a social success too, with 133 000 mouths fed via charity donations, and 29 000 schoolchildren reached through our CSI initiative.

That’s how you get #SABiggestBreakfast to break new records without being able to host a physical event!

Miss Soweto 2020 – Breaking the mould

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With White Star Miss Soweto 2021 just around the corner – set for 27th November 2021 – we’re looking back at our 2020 event, and how we broke the mould of pageants for a truly spectacular event.

Find out how we kept the tradition alive, even with minimal face-to-face activity allowed during the height of the pandemic.

The Strategy

With the country in lockdown, White Star Super Maize Meal was determined to keep the tradition of the Miss Soweto campaign alive. Matriarch did not hesitate to take on this momentous project, developing an innovative approach to experiential marketing, engagement and community involvement in order to drive a successful campaign.

Flawless execution driven by comprehensive planning

Thanks to the existing platforms at our disposal, we were able to maintain high levels of engagement even through the various lockdown levels. Understanding that the lockdown would see a dramatic increase in social media engagement, this is where we focused our initial efforts – to fantastic effect.

In the run-up to the event itself, we facilitated strategic media engagements in order to court unique, earned media coverage via exclusive interviews, media speed dates and PR activations. This spurred hype around the event, and saw an innovative approach to gaining traction even in the context of the pandemic – where face-to-face interactions were limited and had to be thoroughly thought-out to achieve maximum effect.


  • Workshops for contestants
  • Media speed dates
  • Charity drive – donated a large amount of White Star Super Maize Meal to a local disadvantaged school

The impact

The pandemic response

The most fundamental level of innovation that was required was to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic and our nation’s response. At every level, we made great use of existing platforms to achieve our goals, from leveraging WhatsApp as a voting mechanism to utilising a range of formats through which to deliver high-quality content to keep our audience engaged. The social media metrics alone prove the effectiveness of this approach.

Furthermore, we were able to create substantial media hype through strategically identified media engagements and opportunities – all while maintaining strict social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Connecting a maize brand to a beauty pageant

On the surface, a maize brand and a beauty pageant are not an obvious match. From start to finish, the concept required fresh thinking in order to link the pageant back to the brand messaging. We were able to link the brand to the very nature of both Soweto and the pageant, establishing the brand as a leader in community upliftment and engagement, while creating a strong connection between the shared values of the pageant and the brand.

Owning the pageant as a vehicle for success

The pageant has become somewhat of a Soweto legacy, with 2020 seeing the 42nd pageant to date. However, no big brand was stepping up to take it to the next level, gaining recognition as a pageant to take note of.

White Star chose to own and grow the pageant; rather than merely seeing a simple sponsorship opportunity, the brand embarked on a mission to grow it as a brand asset. Now, after Miss Soweto 2020, we can confidently say that this mission was a success, and that the White Star brand grew alongside the pageant.

Bringing an important initiative to the fore

The Miss Soweto pageant is so much more than just a beauty pageant. It aims to uplift and nurture young black women, inspiring in them the confidence and skills to pursue notable careers and ambitious life paths. It allows the entire Sowetan – and indeed, South African – community to come together in a celebration of local talent, while providing a range of role models for women across the country. With contestants receiving huge support in both their personal and professional careers, and various outreach initiatives such as charity drives and events to elevate the Sowetan community as a whole, the pageant succeeded in encouraging contestants and viewers alike to pursue their dreams.

Working with White Star, we were able to breathe new life into the pageant, creating an excellent foundation upon which future pageants can build a truly South African tradition that continues to motivate and uplift the Sowetan and national community for many years to come.

Looking forward to White Star Miss Soweto 2021

With last year’s pageant seeing a monumental success, we are extremely excited for White Star Miss Soweto 2021! This year, we’re going bigger and better than ever, and we encourage everyone to follow the pageant journey on the White Star Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget to tune in to the pageant itself, seeing a celebration of everything that makes Soweto such a vibrant and beautiful place in a star-studded and festive event.

When: 27th November 2021
                8am to 5pm

Where: Soweto Theatre


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