The South African government has embarked on a series of promotional campaigns in an effort to repair the country’s image overseas, following criticism that it is failing to fight AIDS with sufficient vigor and has not protested against the collapse of law and order in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

In recent weeks, the government has organised a business and PR offensive linked to president Thabo Mbeki’s state visit to Britain, as well as awarding TBWA Hunt Lascaris the $40 million SA Tourism global ad account with a brief to increase tourist numbers [WAMN: 30-May-01].

Upcoming is the South Africa Unlimited campaign, organised by state bodies, the International Marketing Council and Government Communication & Information Services, which have awarded the account to a consortium led by Grey Worldwide and regional radio company Kagiso Media.

SA Unlimited will coordinate existing promotional operations and “run a campaign to market and rebrand the country, initially to major trade and tourism partners [US, UK, Germany, France and Japan] and ultimately to all other nations,” declared Kagiso Media’s Anton Harber.

“We aim to change and influence the way the country is seen by tourists and potential investors. Very little of it will be through advertising because we don’t have the budget. Public relations will be our main vehicle.”

Another campaign due for imminent launch is Proudly South African, a $6m drive supported by the government, labour and community organisations and business, intended to promote the quality of the nation’s products at home and overseas. Provisionally selected to handle the push is independent ad agency Code.

News source: AdAge Global