Johannesburg, 25th May 2020 – As South Africa gradually reopens its economy, Marketing and Communications agency – Riverbed, has launched an initiative to help small businesses affected by COVID-19, get back on their feet.
Through Riverbed’s Ad Crashers initiative, the agency will develop through-the-line advertising campaigns for hard-hit small businesses. By partnering with big media owners, Riverbed will be able to give these businesses the same level of national and regional media exposure as big brands, for free. Riverbed’s investment is in excess of R1 million.
The Ad Crashers campaign seeks to support small business in two ways. Firstly, by providing big media exposure to stimulate demand for their products or services through access to a wider market and secondly, as a second phase of the initiative by leveraging and integrating big business programmes that can help support the small businesses that come to our website.
To deliver on the scale needed to succeed, Riverbed has partnered with Mindshare to support the campaign as strategic partners. Riverbed has already received media inventory commitments from big out-of-home players that include JC Decaux and Provantage and on radio the agency has secured two of South Africa’s largest regional stations that include Kaya FM in Gauteng and Heart FM in Cape Town. All partners have committed to provide access to their owned media platforms which will go a long way in generating much needed exposure.
“Our experience as an award-winning full-service agency places us in a great position to offer marketing support to help small businesses,” says Monalisa Zwambila, Riverbed CEO. “As a business owner myself, this initiative is especially close to my heart. I understand the challenges that small businesses are facing and believe that solutions will come from knowing that our continued success as a business, is intimately linked to how we show up with support in times like this.”
According to the Q1 Report by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), SMME’s employ around 10.8 million people in South Africa, which is about 66% of all jobs in South Africa. As the country anticipates the easing of the national lockdown, most small businesses will be allowed to slowly get back to work in greater numbers however, research shows that many businesses will continue to struggle.
A survey released by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) last month showed that some of the most substantial challenges facing small businesses in South Africa currently is insufficient cash-flow and collapsing demand. “While Government’s relief packages will go a long way in providing essential cash-flow, they won’t help reverse the collapsing demand,” continues Zwambila.
The Ad Crashers Initiative will be executed nationally across various media inventory such as radio, out-of-home and digital platforms, with campaigns and media tailored to suit business needs. This will be especially crucial as lockdown levels are scaled back.
The success of this campaign will be further amplified by public participation and part of its task will be to galvanise South Africans to deliberately support small businesses, and in so doing play their part in reducing what is likely to be a grave economic situation.
Riverbed is calling for applications from entrepreneurs who feel they can make effective use of the Ad Crashers support mechanism. We will also continue to pursue much needed media and big business partnerships that can make a meaningful contribution to this initiative to get the scale required for it to succeed.
“We have made a commitment to provide organisations with much needed support. The real impact however will come from partnering with big business and society at large to rally around supporting small businesses, and in so doing, we can provide some relief in the aftermath of the COVID-19 economic crisis,” Zwambila adds.