The brand pair received Golds in Cross Digital Media Marketing and Brand Experience and a Silver in Real-Time Marketing for their 'Nando's Bright Side' work.

Customer experience company Helm and long-standing partners DStv received Silver in the Customer Experience category for its 'DStv Assist' campaign.

KFC and Yonder also received a Bronze for their 'KFC Micro Soccer: Unlocking the power of connected brands'. The awards were received by entrants that covered the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions (EMEA) and the South Africa 2022 SMARTIES winners went up against the region's best to win big on the night.

According to MMA EMEA SMARTIES Awards, Nando's and agency VMLY&R retained their comic fashion with their creative work, which encouraged South Africans to look forward to load-shedding — which has been plaguing the country throughout 2023.

In their notorious cheeky fashion, Nando's invited South Africans to order meals while getting a side for free, depending on the load-shedding stage: Stage 2 load shedding gave consumers two free sides, Stage 3, three free sides and so on.

In a hilarious piece of video content that was released during the campaign, Eishmael Komanate and his family share, why load-shedding is fun, with the children naming their toys Koeberg and Kusile and expressing how exciting hide and seek in the dark is, while their parents talk fondly of their arctic chamber.

Of course, this dramatically leads up to the real deal of how consumers could get their hands on Nando's chicken and enjoy free sides. The campaign was so successful that it was extended for a longer period. 

"The Nando's 'Bright Side' campaign represents a legitimate, relevant and successful example of a shared value campaign that connected profit with purpose. We had a business problem, and the South Africa public had a problem that we could solve or at least make a little lighter. We gained delivery territory and increased app usage not by running retail specials but by doing so in a way that only Nando's could pull off," says Kallibree Keynerd, digital marketing manager at IMEA Nando's South Africa.

"We positioned the app as an extension of the brand and a personification of our brand ethos of slick, smart, South African — and funny. And by doing so, we created an act, not an ad, which truly sets us apart from our competition," Keynerd adds. 

Silver winners Helm and DStv also impressed the international judges with their DStv Assist work, which radically changed the self-service experience for 4.7 million South Africans since its launch and currently solves queries of 1.2 million South Africans every month. With that many users now able to problem-solve via WhatsApp, it's no surprise that the average customer satisfaction score is at an all-time high of 77%, according to the awards. 

Helm head of marketing Stef Adonis attributes the success of the project to positive and radical change.

"Five years ago, a DStv customer would have to phone a call centre, take out their smartcard, unplug their decoder and wait in a queue to clear a decoder error. Today, they can do that in 30 seconds without leaving their couch — all thanks to a smart use of technology, a well-chosen WhatsApp platform and a DStv team who are committed to making the self-service experience as good as the viewing experience," Adonis says. 

Adonis adds that with South African brands and agencies taking home plenty of awards to be proud of, it goes to show how innovative we are as a nation.

Sarah Utermark, country director of the MMA SA, says, "Both campaigns speak to real-life issues that we experience in our country, but these winners found creative ways to present solutions that encouragingly engaged audiences while moving the needle. We have a lot to be proud of as South Africans, and our wit, insight and ingenuity as brands and creatives saw us take home many SMARTIES Awards. Well done to all involved." 

The Global MMA SMARTIES Awards is the leading international benchmark when it comes to rewarding campaign work by brands and agencies across the world, specifically when it comes to successfully delivering tangible business outcomes, says the awards. 

The local chapter has opened entries for its 2023 awards, and in April 2024, the winners of these prestigious accolades will be announced. Those that receive a Gold award are automatically entered into the SMARTIES EMEA categories, and 2023's winners have shown that South Africa has what it takes to bring home the goods, the SMARTIES Awards conclude. 

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