Get Wildly Creative About South Africa ad contest on invites global citizens to dream up great ways to promote 2010 FIFA World Cup destination.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (March 2, 2010) – Think you can beat Madison Avenue at producing pithy one-liners or cool, zany brand commercials? If so, you’ll want to enter the Get Wildly Creative About South Africa ad contest leading up to the FIFA World Cup. The football extravaganza to be hosted by this colorful, dynamic and diverse African nation is just 100 days away and South Africa is marking the start of the countdown today with a variety of patriotic celebrations and flag- flying spectacles.

The people-inspired, online ad contest is part of a major Nation Branding research project being undertaken the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the International Marketing Council of South Africa, which is responsible for defining and shaping Brand South Africa’s image throughout the world.

With social media networks hosting billions of monthly visitors, conversations and connections, the CMO Council’s new GeoBranding Center is looking to evaluate the level of voice, influence and creative pull in these interactive online communities, particularly as it relates to shaping perceptions of countries, destinations, locations and origin of products.

The Get Wildly Creative About South Africa ad contest will be hosted on the people-inspired advertising platform and will use viral communications, online conversations, blog postings and cyber chatter to talk up interest and participation in this inventive country branding program targeted at the world’s 1.7 billion Internet users.

Current and aspiring creative professionals, digital media buffs, South African citizens and expatriates, and anyone with a lust for travel to Africa, are invited to come up with inventive ways to produce a fresh and evocative message about a country that has gone from tragedy to triumph in less than two decades. Contest entry information and a creative brief, giving background on the contest assignment and links to South African resources, are available at the contest center.

Cash and prizes – donated by SA Tourism, in-country partners and creative technology solution providers -- will be awarded to the top submissions within each category including Best Print Campaign, Best Online Banner Campaign, and Best Video Segment or Commercial. Winning entrants will have their work showcased globally to the CMO Council’s 5,000 members who control more than $150 billion in annual marketing spend and recognized at a special IMC-hosted reception in New York City, the world’s media center and creative hub. They will also win trip packages courtesy of SA Tourism and other travel, hospitality, lodging and merchandise partners in South Africa.

"We're looking for inspired messaging and out-of-the-box advertising executions that capture and convey the essence, attributes and qualities of Brand South Africa," noted Donovan Neale-May, the executive director of the CMO Council, who pointed to the country’s growing tourism, trade and economic development success.

"With the world's eyes upon it as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is seeking to establish itself as a competitive and relevant nation brand," added Paul Bannister, CEO of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. "We're excited about the potential for social media channels to generate greater discourse and narrative about our brand from people who have experienced or researched our special place in the world."

Separately, the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center will be conducting monthly analytics on the tonality, sentiment and prevalence of conversations, commentary and news about Brand South Africa leading up to the four-week FIFA World Cup event, starting June 11. It will source Social Media Analytics from PR Newswire, which tracks the tonality and sentiment of global media coverage through 30,000 online news sources in 12 languages. It also intelligently agents and analyzes five million forum posts a day, as well as conversations and commentaries in 20 million blogs social media networks, news groups, bulletin boards, etc.  

With billions invested in this year’s Africa sports spectacular, the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center will be looking at the host country’s effectiveness in shaping perceptions and using the global football extravaganza to optimize its reputation and appeal worldwide. Key determinants of Nation Brand value creation will be effective message management and clarity of brand positioning relative to the visitor/player experience, global media attention, and viral online community conversations and content sharing. Special research in the area of Nation Branding and the measurement of mega-sports event sponsorship effectiveness is a new area of authority leadership by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.

About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 5,000 members control more than $125 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include over 12,000 global executives across 100 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the GeoBranding Center, Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board,, Online Marketing Performance Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME).

About the International Marketing Council of South Africa
The International Marketing Council of South Africa was established in August 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa. At that time, the world was unsure about what to think of South Africa, with many different messages being sent out by various sources. This did very little to build the country’s brand and it was evident that to attract tourism and investment there was a need to co-ordinate marketing initiatives to make them more effective. This led to the creation of the IMC, whose main objective is the marketing of South Africa through the Brand South Africa campaign. There are many benefits to having a consolidated brand image, with the most important being that a consistent Brand South Africa message creates strategic advantages in terms of trade and tourism for the country in an increasingly competitive marketplace. More info at: