For people wanting to build their own homes over time, AfriSam has opened the door to more concrete possibilities. The company collaborated with its advertising and brand agency, Promise Group and leading architecture firm, BlackStudio, to produce its ‘Plan (a)’ campaign, an invaluable modular house plan.
To ensure a wide reach, this has been published as a double page spread in community papers and is also available to download online at no cost to the consumer. The idea leverages AfriSam’s vision to build a positive Africa future, empowering and inspiring homemakers to plan ahead when constructing their dream house.
AfriSam’s ‘Plan (a)’ campaign helps people to build their own homes from an architect-approved plan. The modular design allows for the home to be expanded as needs change and financial resources allow. As part of its ongoing branding efforts, AfriSam has for many years provided practical guidance for customers on how best to use its cement and other construction materials. This has included Top Tips on working with cement and concrete, as well as Handy Guides on various aspects of building projects.
In the latest campaign, a carefully designed fit-for-purpose and architect-approved plan for a modular home is being published as a double page spread in popular community newspapers. The social significance of improved home design and quality is hard to over-estimate, according to architect Moremi Mowela, co-founder and architect at black-owned architectural practice BlackStudio – one of the collaboration partners in this initiative. He points out that many township areas are considered as transitory spaces by young people, and are still ‘dormitory towns’ serving the large cities.
“This leads to many people leaving townships as soon as they have the means, creating a drain on skills and capital,” says Mowela. “This process can be reversed if those residential spaces can become aspirational, thereby playing a transformational role in shaping behaviour.”
He argues that building a professionally designed home – by using AfriSam’s flexible house plan – can be a crucial step in building attractive spaces. When people aspire to live and invest in these areas for the long term, he says, then thriving communities can be fostered.
The campaign concept was the brainchild of the Promise Group creative advertising agency. Nic Kostouros, integrated creative director at Promise, owed the concept’s success to the way it addressed one of South Africa’s burning social needs, supported by AfriSam’s vision of building a positive African future.
“Credible research points to the importance of decent housing as an anchor – both financial and psychological – for people’s progression as they seek a better life,” says Kostouros. “With the backlog in housing provision around the country, many people are taking the initiative to build their own homes.”
He highlights that many working people save diligently to initiate the building process, but that corners may be cut due to lack of knowledge or finances. By taking a broad view of what a first-time home builder needs to know, AfriSam’s ‘Plan (a)’ campaign helps to improve project outputs while not necessarily adding to the upfront costs. The plan allows a home to be built in modules, starting off small and extending as families grow.
“The architect’s plan adds value across a range of aspects from technical issues like foundation structures, to how the spatial design over time would accommodate changing family needs,” he says. “There is a lot that can go wrong in a home building project, so our campaign helps readers to avoid these pitfalls. The ability to build according to a plan maximises the long-term fulfilment they can get from their hard-earned investment.”
Bauba Maila, co-founder and architect at BlackStudio, notes that the company’s experience with township clients has shown that a modular design was common, and stands were often similar in their sizes and orientation to the street.
“Working from these common elements allowed us to create a house plan that would be relevant to most people’s conditions,” says Maila. “What we finally achieved was a plan that has been designed and vetted by an architect, and a procedure for people to apply these ideas; this was previously out of their reach.”
Group marketing manager at AfriSam, Ebeth van den Berg, adds that the sentiment behind the campaign was very much to ‘pay it forward’ for customers and the South African public.
“We look forward to developing this concept toward creating a hub for this kind of information,” says van den Berg. “There is clearly a need for a highly credible platform where key segments of the housing market can be empowered with professional insights and tools.”
From a creative perspective, the double-page advertisement containing the plan has already been recognised by peers in the media industry, says Kostouros. After launching in July, ‘Plan (a)’ was judged Ad of the Month by the Creative Circle – adjudicated by some of the sector’s leading creative minds.
In addition, ‘Plan (a)’ scooped a coveted Gold Loerie at the recent 2022 Loerie Awards in the Print Category, as appreciation by the advertising and brand communication industry for this fresh and innovative campaign.