Ster-Kinekor’s #OpenEyes campaign scoops a Grand Prix and three golds at Loeries Durban 2016

Giving the gift of sight is the overall winner…

At the grand finale of Loeries Durban 2016 last night (Sunday, 21 August), a Grand Prix and three Gold Awards were scooped up by South Africa’s leading cinema chain, Ster-Kinekor, and its creative agencies FoxP2, Ogilvy Public Relations JHB and Juice Content, for its heart-warming campaign, #OpenEyes.

The Grand Prix (one of only four such awards handed out at this year’s event) was achieved in the overall Integrated Campaign category, while the three Gold Awards were handed over to Ster-Kinekor and FoxP2 for the campaign work in the PR, together with Ogilvy Public Relations, Branded Content and Integrated Campaign categories.

The campaign, devised for Ster-Kinekor by FoxP2, centres around a young man, Philani Twala, who lives in Katlehong on the East Rand. For the past 10 years, Twala has been suffering from a condition that has made him almost completely blind. However, he could not afford the treatment – a costly double corneal transplant – that was needed to return his vision to him. The #OpenEyes campaign followed Philani’s emotional and uplifting journey to regain his sight, and called on all South Africans to share in his journey by voting for the film that he should watch in his first ever, big screen cinema experience.

“The Loerie Awards – a Grand Prix and three Golds – are an outstanding achievement and a wonderful recognition of this deserved campaign. Its success, from the original concept to the final execution, was as a result of a great marketing team effort and seamless collaboration between Ster-Kinekor and its creative agencies,” says Motheo Matsau, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer of Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

“The #OpenEyes campaign placed another side of the movie industry in the spotlight – a side that focuses on the importance of sight and vision as essential senses to appreciate the magic of the big screen. The campaign certainly got South Africans talking, and voting for their favourite film for Philani to watch, while creating awareness for a plight that affects thousands of other ‘Philani’s’ across our country.”

Says Justin Gomes, Founder and Executive Creative Director of FoxP2: “The brilliance of the campaign is in the immediate emotional connection that the audience feels with Philani as the modest hero, and for the widespread problem his situation highlights. Twala’s condition is very common in South Africa, as is his inability to afford the treatment that can so easily rectify the condition.”

Twala’s surgery was funded mostly through donations to Ster-Kinekor’s CSI initiative, Vision Mission, from moviegoers who opt in to add an additional nominal amount to the cost of their tickets (from just R2.50), when booking online or at the cinemas’ self-service ticketing terminals. During the campaign period, donations to Vision Mission increased by a staggering 60%.

“This has been the most rewarding project I’ve ever worked on. To see two years’ worth of commitment from client, agency, director and production house culminating in these kinds of results, it reminds you why you got into the industry in the first place,” comments Gomes.

The campaign recorded 50 million online impressions with an earned media figure of more than R14 million, more than twenty times the campaign budget. Twala was featured on the front page of The Star newspaper, among numerous print and online articles, and appeared as an interviewee on SABC News, Talk Radio 702 and Cape Talk, to mention a few broadcast platforms.

The Loeries rewards and inspires both innovation and relevance across all spheres of brand communication, recognising that creativity and innovation are vital business tools for communication within the brand communication industry. The real value of creativity can be found in everything from a fresh perspective, to intelligence, to an unusual insight, to an unexpected dimension and even to impact and memorability. But most importantly, creativity adds that invisible connection between a brand and the consumer’s heart.

“This campaign certainly created that ‘invisible connection’ as South Africans connected beyond watching the video or adding their voice to which movie Philani should watch, to putting their hands in their pockets to donate to Vision Mission. For us, their response to our call to action is the ultimate winner!” concludes Matsau.

In the lead up to the Loeries, Ster-Kinekor’s #OpenEyes campaign was acknowledged by the industry through various other awards, including the ‘Ad of the Week’ in May. FoxP2 was also awarded a first in the Digital category and a second in the TV/Cinema/Online Video category in the May/June Creative Circle Awards for the campaign that reconnected South Africans with the magic of cinema through the eyes of a young man who had been blind for 10 years.