Cell C’s campaign divides public opinion
Cellphone network Cell C's new advertising campaign featuring funnyman Trevor Noah has received mixed reactions, with some labelling it a "sick joke".
CELLPHONE network Cell C's new advertising campaign featuring funnyman Trevor Noah has received mixed reactions, with some labelling it a "sick joke".
But the company's real CEO, Lars P Reichelt, has hit back, saying the company did not set out to deceive the public and that Noah was asked to join them in launching their new identity, and help create a platform for discussing problems at Cell C and in the cellphone network industry.
The campaign, created to re-launch the brand, has not gone down well with everyone.
"This is not a stunt, quite frankly we are bloody serious about this," said Reichelt. "We are taking a light-hearted look at a serious issue. We needed to have somebody who is credible with people across genders, age and race.
"Trevor has made his name out of being a critical person. That's his trademark and we wanted him in that function. If stuff (at Cell C) doesn't work, he is the first person to come to us and tell us."
The campaign started a few weeks ago, with Noah ripping apart Cell C in a video clip, posted on YouTube. In the clip, he discusses cellphone networks, Cell C being the "worst".
The clip was not scripted and even Reichelt had no idea what Noah would be saying.
"Cell C drops more calls than Jacob Zuma drops people's underwear. This is horrible," Noah says in the video clip.
A few days later, a full-page newspaper advert appeared in which Reichelt apologised to Noah, assuring him that the company was "very serious about turning things around".
The company then introduced Noah as its new CEO - Customer Experience Officer.
But, according to some comments in cyberspace, not everyone is convinced that Noah will indeed be batting for the customer.
One blogger has criticised the campaign on various platforms saying on Facebook: "This whole 'Tell Trevor' thing is a sick joke and completely bogus".
On Facebook, Sphiwe Makgatholela wrote this week: "Thanks Trevor, maybe now Cell C will listen to our problems, but remember you are on our side Trevor. Don't let them keep you close just so you don't talk about them. Expose them."
Noah is bemused by comments that his audience might no longer trust him.
"Cell C wanted to leverage off my comedy but I made it clear to them - I don't change for you. Even if this makes Vodacom and MTN better, then we have won as consumers."