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Emotional clickbait always wins

Chris Botha, Group Managing Director, Park Advertising

Can you say ‘Corona mania?’

Audience = Income.

This equation has been true in the media game for years. In theory it all makes sense. Editors and producers are incentivised to make content that appeals to the pallet of the majority of the population. Media owners pay top dollar to get the best writers, producers and editors who have the closest feel for what works in the world out there. The scary thing in modern media though is “what works”, and what works is eliciting an emotional response from an audience.

We’re all familiar with the concept of “clickbait” (content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page, regardless of the accuracy of the content). I think we are moving into an era of “Emotional Clickbait” where media owners produce content that will shock / anger / upset readers – as it is the most likely to be viewed.

Emotional clickbait is all around us. All you have to do is go onto any major news or social platform, and you will see that the most commented on, most trending, hottest topics are the ones with the most emotional sting, and often very little substance.

The appeal in media is no longer necessarily what makes for good content – but what makes for content that attracts views / comments / likes. Emotive content.

The current Emotional clickbait topic in South Africa is the Corona Virus. It is the number one trending topic on Twitter today (and yesterday, and probably for the rest of the month and into April) and for good reason. I am not an expert so will completely refrain from commenting on the virus itself. As a media expert though, I am worried about the tone of the communication out there. Some media platforms are all of a sudden professing opinions ranging from “this is a common cold, ignore it” – to “It’s the end of the world, panic!!!”. These views are not backed up by science. Not backed up by statistics. They are typical of the extremism that emotional click bait is associated with. But because of the Emotional clickbait it is impacting markets, share values, and the price of oil!

The media do this the world over. I’ve been following the circus which is American politics with great interest over the past few months. Some of the Democratic Party debate has been taken up by candidates literally close to exploding and hanging campaign promises on being called by their “preferred pronoun”. This is a matter I would imagine is largely irrelevant to the majority of Democratic Party supporters, who actually only want to know how they can get President Trump out of the White House!

Emotional clickbait!

In South Africa, I would love to know how much air time the EFF receives relative to their political peers. I would guess far more (relatively speaking). Why? They ride the wave of Emotional clickbait. Whatever the issue is, big or small, the EFF are often there to turn it into a race related matter. And the media will report on it to their hearts content. Why – yep, Emotional clickbait.

The EFF have done very many great things for our country, and are an important stakeholder in the national narrative. At last count they received 1,8 million votes to the ANC’s 10 million, yet they play the online news game far better than anyone else. Kudos to them.

It’s a fact that consumers are more attracted to news that shocks or illicit an emotional response. So what do the media do? They try and outdo each other when it comes to news that shocks and illicit an emotional response.  Anyone remember a business called Bell Pottinger? There’s an organisation that was built on Emotional clickbait.

Each media knows its audience and what will and won’t work and correctly, adapts their editorial policy accordingly. A website called “The Edit” learnt an interesting lesson not too long ago. A junior journalist wrote an article on why she thinks the music of Beyoncé is “overrated AF”. The article became the most clicked on and commented one on the site. You can imagine how the publishers of the site are relooking their reviewing criteria right now.

I once read an interesting article about a book entitled The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. The book is among the many by the author stating that God doesn’t exist. Dawkins holds a strong atheistic angle throughout.

The author of the article postulated that the book will be most read by Christians. Why, because they disagree with it, and want to argue the point. Atheists who don’t believe in God are less likely to read a book that affirms what they already think to be true. So inadvertently Christians are often the ones funding the writings of Mr Dawkins. It’s the supreme irony of emotional click bait.

As South Africans we need to become more aware of Emotional clickbait and actively work to avoid it. It doesn’t give a real perspective of reality. It is a negative incentive for media owners and drags the fourth estate to the lowest common denominator. Let’s look at the facts and figures. Let’s crack a book open and do some of our own homework on a topic before being dragged down an emotional rabbit hole.

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Three ways load shedding has affected advertising in media

Sinenhlanhla Jalibane, Digital Campaign Manager at The MediaShop

Load Shedding has once again become one of the most used buzzwords in South Africa. We’re all wishing that Eskom had a competitor or that they worked there themselves to better the crisis being faced.

But while we wait for government to attain a better solution to their “technical problems” and revert with plans to overcome this crisis, load shedding continues to have dire implications on everyone, particularly for television advertisers and broadcasters alike.


Advertising budgets have already been reduced but now with the power out, what does this mean for advertisers, and the media industry in general?

     1.Viewership decreases

Television indisputably remains the largest media consumption channel in South Africa. It is still the most effective way of reaching a higher number of audiences at a high frequency. However, it is no secret that such media platforms are highly affected by load shedding.

Viewership is a client’s first concern when there is a blackout. It means that millions of South African TV households are off, reducing the potential TV audience of a particular channel or programme which has a huge effect for advertisers.

We have been experiencing stage 2 and 4 of load shedding recently. With that said, it is imperative to remember that having these power cuts means not reaching a household for at least two or more hours during each blackout. This is of serious concern especially when power is cut during prime time, which decreases viewership even more significantly. It results in adverts only being seen by a handful of people, who might not even be the target audience for the brand being advertised, which is then seen as wastage by many.

Britta Reid commented on a research article in 2019 published on The MediaOnline from The Broadcast Research Council, on how adult ARs for the 18h00 and 20h00 dayparts were affected. She commented that about 2% of adults on the BRC TAMS panel were flagged as having experienced power cuts during stage two, compared with 15% of adults during stage four This equates to a huge number of audiences being lost due to load shedding and it doesn’t seem like it will get any better. 

  1. Concern over reach

Secondly, clients have become sceptical about whether their brand will be seen by the right audiences as load shedding makes it difficult to plan schedules. I remember once when Eskom had promised two hours of load shedding but it went off for 3h30mins. This left me wondering how many TV adverts were being aired during this time that I would have missed.

Clients will (if they haven’t already) start questioning the value they are getting from advertising if they lose audiences during load shedding.

Yes brands are aware that performance will be affected (not that they’re happy about it) but there is unfortunately nothing that marketers and broadcasters can do at this point, as it is beyond their control. 

  1. Even Digital is affected

Lastly, cell phone network coverage has also been getting disrupted and it seems this will continue to be the case during our electricity crisis. It’s making our jobs as marketers even more difficult. Just as we were trying to chase audiences in the digital space, it is now going to be harder to reach them whenever we’d like to.

We all love our smartphones, but their battery life is not as great as we’d like it to be. Power banks and portal chargers can help sustain battery life, but with port connectivity it seems like it would be a struggle to get advertising messages across audiences.

People would also rather save their battery to ensure for instance that their alarm wakes them up in the morning, rather than to scroll through their phones only to come across adverts that will deplete their battery even further. 

So what do we do?

While the country has enjoyed a few days of no load shedding now, there is still an unnerving sense of uncertainty around Eskom’s sustainability. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his SONA 2020 address that the Eskom issue was unavoidable. This shows that we’ve got a long way to go and for brands, we need to think of alternative ways to reach our audiences.

It seems like the old school “wireless” radios would be of good use at this point for people to still consume news during load shedding and this, without a doubt will cause an increase in listenership on the radio.

Maybe it’s also time to put more faith into apps such as EskomSePush to plan around most areas that are experiencing load shedding to ensure audiences are not lost. Imagine scheduling adverts to be aired on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the same peak time as load shedding is scheduled? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.


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What does DebiCheck mean for South African businesses?

TransUnion reports that consumer credit extension in South Africa is currently around


R1.8 trillion, with approximately 9% of this debt at least three months in arrears. In addition,  around 45% of the approximately 22.5 million credit-active consumers have impaired credit records. This is a major obstacle to collections activities as it becomes increasingly difficult for credit providers to collect payments as the level of debt rises, with many collectors across multiple industries trying to solicit payments from the same consumers. “Business needs to think about these realities when preparing for the launch of DebiCheck,” states Andrew Springate, CEO of PAYM8, a leading technology and financial gateway services company for payments, collections and mobile commerce.

From 1 November 2019, South Africa became the first country in the world to implement a debit order system that requires banks to request electronic authorisation, directly from their clients. It’s called DebiCheck and it was instituted by the South African Reserve Bank and Payments Association South Africa (PASA), in response to an increase in fraudulent debit orders, while also protecting merchants and credit providers from a spike in disputed debit orders.

There is a lot of information being released about DebiCheck, most of it confusing. “I’m not sure debit order dependent companies have fully understood the implications,” warns Springate.

“The change will have a profound impact on any business that currently uses Non-Authenticated Early Debit Orders (NAEDO), and to a lesser degree those who use Authenticated Early Debit Orders. Both these debit orders sit under the EDO (early debit order stream). The EDO system will be replaced by DebiCheck,” Springate explains.

Many South African companies are highly reliant on debit orders as a payment channel and in a weak economy, no company can afford to put their payment processes at risk. Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) states that 48 million debit orders are processed monthly across all industries, totaling approximately R80 billion in revenue.

“Without the DebiCheck system, your company will have to use an EFT based debit order for all new client debit order payments”, says Springate, “This will mean you can no longer take advantage of the ‘early window’ and your debit orders will no longer be processed in the early morning but rather late in the evening. This will put your debit orders at the back of the payment queue. It will have the biggest effect on companies, like debt collectors, credit providers and many others, who rely on being able to ‘strike first’ when a customer’s salary hits their bank account. Currently EDO’s allow companies to track a customer’s account for up to 32 days for available funds. This benefit will also no longer be available to you without an approved DebiCheck.”

Springate also cautions businesses to think about how DebiCheck will affect their sales processes. “DebiCheck will add a new step to your current sales process. Before any sale or contract can be deemed final, your sales representatives will have to wait for confirmation of the payers authorisation of the mandate. The decision to accept or reject a DebiCheck lies with the consumer. It is sent by their bank, via an electronic platform. No bank will proceed with a debit order until they have received positive confirmation from your customer via DebiCheck.”  But, Springate adds that the positive change coming from this new regulation is that disputes will be almost impossible. “As long as you process the debit order exactly in line with the date and value loaded when the mandate was created and the payment matches the authorisation given to the bank, the payer will not be able to dispute or reverse a payment.”

Time is running out if your business relies heavily on the NAEDO early window – no new NAEDO’s will be processed from 1 May 2020, and, from 1 November 2020, DebiCheck will be the only early window debit. “There is a lot to think about,” explains Springate, “There are many variables that could derail your current payment system and affect your monthly cash flow and collection targets. It’s not a process that can be done in a rush and as time runs out for companies reliant on the early window and account tracking, you are going to need to make some strategic decisions”.

As the TransUnion figures show a low-growth economy is pushing more and more South Africans into a fiscal struggle, with more and more unable to pay their monthly bills. “If you need to be at the front of the payment queue,” states Springate, “you need to get on top of DebiCheck. It’s a risk many businesses haven’t seen coming”.

The DebiCheck system will replace the EDO system from November 2020 although the switchover could start as soon as May 2020.

For more information visit

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How old is AI anyway?

Yvette Gengan, Digital Media Manager at The MediaShop

If you had to think back to when AI first became a buzzword across the globe, how many years would you say that was? Three, five, maybe ten years ago?

If you thought of any of the above, you’ve not gone back far enough!

I recently came across an article about a chess game between one of the world’s best chess players and a super computer called Deep Blue, owned by IBM. That was in 1997, 23 years ago!

Garry Kasparov lost his game to the supercomputer. Kasparov had never previously lost a game to a human opponent so his loss to the supercomputer was his only one at 34 years old. The loss came in under 20 moves. (Wired, 2020)

Fast forward 23 years and we live in a world filled with chatbots, smart cars, IoT devices and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Simply put, AI or Artificial Intelligence “refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions.”

But what’s the general sentiment around AI? Well if we look to Hollywood, we see AI depicted as robots taking over the world resulting in apocalyptic ends or hard at work parents losing their jobs to machines. This is not accurate.

I think that as the dominant species, it is normal to want to retain all control and be the smartest but if we never push boundaries, how do we develop as a species? To share Garry Kasparov’s point of view, “We are comfortable with machines making us faster and stronger, but smarter? It’s some sort of human fear.”

A lack of understanding about technology advances such as AI has created a cult of fear mongers who are conflicted by the speed of AI development and who’d prefer for us to slow it down. But doesn’t this not hold us back as a generation?

No one really knows what the future of AI even looks like and where it fits into our world. It has taken decades to get to where we are now and it is still not good enough, so if we slow down now then aren’t we just delaying the inevitable?

Artificial intelligence is a simulation of human intelligence and therefore it cannot exist without a human.

We cannot press pause on where AI advances are going but maybe we can advance with it. We can create a balanced narrative on the topic so that more and more people move away from the fear and wrong use of AI and focus on how to equip ourselves to utilise it in a positive way. Yes, technology has been the cause of many job losses for those that are being left behind. However, it has also created new jobs and industries.

One of the industries that are benefitting greatly from AI is healthcare. Having a person’s full health history is proving to be vital in research and diagnosis, engineering and patient care. “This field of artificial intelligence is dedicated to representing information about the world in a form that a computer system can utilise to solve complex tasks such as diagnosing a medical condition or having a dialogue in a natural language.” (Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, PhD)

Paint got an upgrade:

The app Deepfake uses face mapping to bring the Mona Lisa to life. There’s a video online – check it out! There has been lots of conversation around the privacy and use of this app, including how everything related to advanced technology should be used with proper controls that protect those that use it.

If we look at AI as a tool then we know that what matters is how we use it just like everything that has some power. There are ethical considerations with AI, as with most tech advances, which should be controlled by human intelligence. AI in the wrong hands and used for the wrong thing is obviously a concern, especially with the mounting issues of irresponsible use of data and lack of privacy. However, this is a human problem not an AI problem. The key focus in this case, should then be forcing firm regulations and controls over the use of AI and actually having people stick to it.

“AI is like a mirror, it amplifies both good and bad. We have to actually look and just understand how we can fix it, not say ‘Oh, we can create AI that will be better than us’.” (Garry Kasparov, 2020).

Garry Kasparov’s loss became an iconic moment in the history of AI and machine learning. What is his message now on the impact of AI, 23 years later? “We have to look for opportunities to create jobs that will emphasize our strengths. Technology is the main reason why so many of us are still alive to complain about technology. It’s a coin with two sides. I think it’s important that, instead of complaining, we look at how we can move forward faster.” (Garry Kasparov for Wired)

1997 also saw Microsoft becoming the world’s most valuable company valued at $261 billion dollars and Steve Job’s return to Apple. The top valued companies currently are Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung respectively. Most of which are significant players in the field of AI.

For me, the lesson is that we should work with AI, not against it.

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End Summer with a Splash!

On Saturday, 4 April 2020, Emerald Resort & Casino will be hosting an awesome Mayfair Summer Splash event featuring Nasty C, Shimza, Lulo Café, Speedsta, DJ Fresh and many more DJ’s on top of their game.

As we move into Autumn, Emerald Resort & Casino will be playing host to one of the hottest festivals around – the Summer Splash. With DJ Fresh, Ryan the DJ and many more talents joining the star-studded line-up, this is going to be a party to remember.

There are only a limited amount of tickets, and they will be selling fast! Early bird prices start from R129 per person while VIP tickets can be bought from R299 per person. Tickets can be purchased online through Computicket. Please note that the price of tickets are dependent on the selected viewing area.

If it’s the VIP experience that guests are after; VIP entry includes a complimentary MayFair Gin drink on entrance, a private deck with private service bar and waiters.  The VVIP Table Booking – at R6000 – includes entrance for eight into the VIP lounge, one Bottle of Mayfair Gin and the choice of two bottles either from: Hennessy, Moet Nectar/Brut, Belvedere Vodka, El Jimador Tequila. The service also includes 30 mixers and additional waiter service.

Summer Splash

Date:               4 April 2020

Time:               14:00 to 00:00

Venue:             Emerald Resort & Casino

Price:               Early bird starts from R129 pp and VIP starts from R299 pp

Emerald Resort & Casino looks forward to welcoming these stars and all their fans in April to make even more memories this summer!

For all up to date information on events, promotions and happenings at Emerald Resort & Casino, visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000





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SA’s stagnant business growth gets a kick start from technology

Citing a stalling economy and ongoing power shortages, ratings agency Moody’s has cut South Africa’s GDP growth forecast from 1.5% to 0.7% for 2020. As growth stagnates, businesses, both large and small, are struggling to find the additional revenue generation needed to meet shareholder expectations. 


It’s in times like this that business needs to adapt quickly by embracing advanced technology that can provide access to new business opportunities and previously unchartered markets.

 “The old way of finding new business opportunities has run its course,” says Ursula McDonald, Managing Director of women led and owned marketing and business innovations company ‘A Country For Jane’. “Cold calling, desk drops, trade shows and list brokers are not yielding the results they used to.” As South African businesses look for growth in an economy where job losses and budget cuts are the new norm, traditional marketing efforts, especially in the B2B arena are being pushed to innovate. “Costs attributed to a sales force with no pipeline of verified leads, are being questioned,” says McDonald. But the reality is that new business contacts are hard to reach, and the most influential decision-makers are protected by layers of gatekeepers whose job it is to keep out the ‘salesmen’. 


“The quality of sales pitches is also often shallow,” explains McDonald. “There is often no effort made to understand the potential client’s challenges in a specific industry, or how a product or service being pitched could alleviate their pain. It’s often just a ‘one pitch’ for all scenario, which leaves prospects feeling that sales representatives have no understanding of their business.” It’s a pain point being experienced by multiple companies across South Africa. “Business leaders will listen if a sales pitch takes into account their unique challenges,” says McDonald. But how does a company execute multiple pitches for multiple industries?


“Leads by Jane is our answer to stagnating business growth,” says McDonald. The advanced technology works off an intelligent LinkedIn platform, but that’s not where the innovation lies. “For businesses to succeed in a weak economy, they need to be able to forecast projected growth. This can’t be done with any accuracy unless there is a pipeline of new business prospects,” states McDonald. “Leads by Jane is a digital platform that links relevant content, in our case, highly researched content, that marries an understanding of macro-economic factors, causing industry pain points, with a product or service that can offer relief.” The platform developed internationally by Scott Cundill, Leads by Jane’s development partner, offers businesses the chance to engage one-on-one with business prospects. “It aims to get sales reps in front of the prospects most likely to purchase,” says Cundill. This is done through the use of a tracking system that measures content engagement. “We need more thought leaders in South Africa,” explains McDonald. “People who have a researched opinion, on how to kickstart growth and add value to the economy. We position sales reps as those thought leaders to give them a business opinion that is authentic and resonates with business leaders. This sets them up, with a differentiated view from their competitors, allowing them to make a standout impact in the market. We then track the reaction to their opinions and identify business prospects with whom the content resonated.” McDonald calls this ‘Idea Economics’. “Idea Economics was born out of our frustration, at the lack of business understanding inherent in many sales pitches. For our economy to grow, we need businesses to thrive”, says McDonald, “Idea Economics ensures every business is marketed from a business reality, not with a catchy slogan.” 


Can South Africa surprise its critics and finish 2020 with a higher GDP growth number than 0.7%? “Leads by Jane has been developed to create real business relationships based on a shared understanding of business realities. In the end, businesses have a solid pipeline of verified leads”, says McDonald. “Many companies are under pressure to meet sales targets,” continues Cundill. “But in the current economic climate, these targets aren’t being achieved. Leads by Jane pinpoints the sale cycle weaknesses and determines where in the process things are going wrong”. Having verified leads can quickly become a moot point when the sales team lacks the skills needed to turn them into sales. It’s why Leads by Jane has incorporated a sales training module that equips sales reps with the tools and confidence they will need to continue the relationships and close the deals. 


Leads by Jane has the potential to increase the chance of turning a business pipeline into business success. “Beating the growth forecasts, both as a country and as separate businesses is going to require new ideas. Leads by Jane closes the sales loop for companies who need to get traction in tough times,” states McDonald. 


For more information visit 

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