The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) is a Flow client that serves a critical need in South Africa right now: providing financial assistance to small, medium and micro-enterprises and cooperatives.
It is also an entity that very few people appear to be aware of.
Flow has been brought on board to raise broad awareness of sefa’s activities and introduce the agency to the South African public, so that it becomes the partner of choice for any small businesses seeking financial support.
As part of an awareness campaign, a TV commercial was proposed, as this was identified as the best way to gain massive reach among our targeted audience – the South African public in metros and rural areas.
The challenge was to reflect what sefa does in 30 seconds – not much time for elaborate storytelling! We also needed to bring the message close to home, to let the public see how sefa can benefit them and to make the brand feel accessible and approachable – unlike how financial institutions are often perceived.
To bring the message across effectively, we wanted to reflect on how important small businesses are to communities and how bleak life would be without our neighbourhood shops, vendors and services.
We decided to use children to drive the storyline, as they can be very expressive and have broad appeal – unapologetically tugging at the heartstrings! Our storyline follows children who have been sent out to do some chores. As they walk down a street in their township, they are confronted with a series of stores closing down, which is horrifying for them. Good news appears in the form of a sefa representative who saves the day by bringing financial support to these enterprises. The stores reopen and all the colour and energy is returned to the community. Happiness restored!
Coming up with ideas and creating storyboards and a script for the advert was the simplest part of the exercise; producing it was another story altogether. Flow partnered with Chocolate Milk & Cookies Productions – a wonderfully vibrant and enthusiastic production house – to get the ad made.
The process kicked off with a consultation between the Flow team and the client on casting, location scouting, art direction proposals and suggested filming treatments. Once all this had been decided, filming was scheduled for a freezing winter’s morning in Johannesburg. Attention to detail was critical in creating the correct mood, emotions and setting – all of which paid off in the long run.
During the one-day shoot in the heart of Brixton, the production team took over a street corner and set up a ton of camera and lighting equipment. Here are some behind-the-scenes moments showing the team trying their best not to freeze, while making magic happen:
We (and the client) are delighted with the final ad and are happy that it achieves the appropriate balance of storytelling, brand awareness, likeability and factual information sharing.