Hamma Hamma – How green is Cell C?

As a former advertising copywriter I choose not to comment on the creative fiasco that is Cell C’s recently launched “Hamma Hamma” campaign. But as a green blogger I’ve had a couple of thoughts and questions:

How green is Net#work BBDO? 

Strategically, the blunder went beyond the way in which the campaign was communicated; the very decision to give away 6 Hummer H3s points to a worrying lack of forethought and environmental awareness:

The use of non-armor-plated Humvees in Iraq earned GM’s flagship urban 4×4 brand some of the nastiest publicity available on the planet, while their fuel consumption and emissions performance leaves a lot to be desired from an ecological perspective.

Add to this the misogynist undertones of the gangster culture, where a pimp ride is a Hummer, and you have the one product you frankly should not co-brand with.

The Halo Effect with Horns 

To those who can afford it, these ecological-disasters-on-wheels now probably appear far more appealing than before they were punted as the ultimate form of transport in this ad campaign – and compared with most other passenger vehicles on the road, their carbon fooprint is immense.

Driving your spoilt brat brood to school in a 3.7-litre monstrosity not only contributes to the climate crisis, but probably also causes your kids becoming insufferable pricks by the time they hit puberty.


For General Motors, this ought to translate into more sales, which in turn will result in more greenhouse gasses being emitted, with more and more rabid Hummer fans busting themselves to make enough money to afford these lifestyle icons. And they’ll get there, and they’ll fill them up and ride them empty each and every week; even if we hit R10 per litre for petrol.

Why couldn’t Cell C have given away Toyota Priuses or a number of Cell C scholarships?  

Personally, I find Cell C and ad agency Net#work BBDO decision to use the brand’s marketing machine to fuel poor Joe Soap’s lust for bigger and better things crass and thoroughly offensive – almost as offensive, in fact, as Cell C’s service levels, which prompted me to terminate my contract and move to Vodacom after two years of frustration and anger.

I hate Mo the Meerkat even more than I hate “hamma hamma”, but at least their call centre tends to be available far more often. Feel free to comment if you share in this sense of outrage.

Oh, and welcome to 2008, y’all.
 

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5 Responses

  1. You might want to check out the following link before you get too far down the “hybrids are the most eco friendly cars” route!

    http://cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/

    Ultimately the Hummer is more eco friendly than the Prius as per their research.

    I know you are reading this thinking it is absolute crap but it isn’t.

    The Dust to Dust automotive research report values the total energy consumption of a vehicle from creation to end of life as a cost in cents per mile.

    Excerpts from the report:
    “One of the reasons hybrids cost more than non-hybrids is the manufacture, replacement and disposal of such items as batteries, electric motors (in addition to the conventional engine), lighter weight materials and complexity of the power package.”

    “the industry average of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2005 was $2.28 cents per mile, the Hummer H3 (among most SUVs) was only $1.949 cents per mile. That figure is also lower than all currently offered hybrids and Honda Civic at $2.42 per mile.”

    Interesting!

  2. Hello Klaus (?)

    Shot for the information; that’s very interesting indeed!

    I must admit I am surprised that energy efficient does not equal environmentally friendly. I have yet to check out Dust to Dust’s findings, but assuming their findings are accurate, that does constitute a bit of a PR stuff-up in terms of hybrids being promoted as eco-friendly vehicles.

    Having said that, there is a wide range of aspirational vehicles (non-hybrid ones) that would definitely have a smaller carbon impact than the Hummer – think Vodacom and their latest BMW giveaways.

    I think this post’s basic point, being that Hummers, as competition prizes for the retail market segment, is dubious in that they not only contribute to global warming, but also stimulate public demand for environmentally damaging transport.

    As for “green cars” being not-so-green, I reckon that’d do well for the topic of a forthcoming blog post.

  3. What’s worse… 6 Hummers or 100 Beemers?

    Frankly, in my opinion, 1 Beemer is a tragedy in itself but a hundred is just damn inconsiderate.

    Doesn’t it make sense to give away 200 VW Polo’s or Toyota Yaris’ and have more satisfied customers out there?

  4. One Hummer is worse than one BMW – the one gives you an attitude problem, the other makes you an environmental prick:).

    The underlying emotional motor in both these campaigns is simply to make the targeted individual want more, bigger and better, whilst the fact that 200 new luxury vehicles perpetuates the “I-wants” in the emerging market segment.

    This is contributing to the growth of non-sustainable transport and fossil fuel consumption.

    These are behaviours that wer’e necessarily going to need to un-learn collectivly, or start investing in swimming wings.

  5. I was changing my cell phone provider anyway – fed up with MTN’s service. If Cell C were offering a Prius, I’d have considered them a lot more seriously than I did.

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