Rugby kit debate creates a marketing opportunity for grocery brand

By our News Team | 2023

As rugby fans liken the SA national team’s alternative kit to the Checkers Sixty60 e-commerce platform, the brand seizes the opportunity.

The immediacy of social media and the 24-hour news cycle has made newsjacking – the art of adding a brand’s thoughts and opinions into breaking news topics – an increasingly viable marketing tactic.


Most companies use it to build brand awareness and increase traffic to their social media pages and websites, although there may also be wider aims – such as taking a stance on an important societal issue.


A screen grab from the Checkers Sixty60 video ad. Photo via YouTube

A good example of using newsjacking to inject humour into a topic and take advantage of social media’s potential to go viral is the South African brand Checkers Sixty60, a popular grocery e-commerce platform.


The national rugby team, known as the Springboks, is famous for its dark green and gold-trimmed kit. But, for the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament currently taking place in France, a mint-green and white alternative kit has been introduced as part of an initiative to help visually impaired fans.


Many people have expressed dismay, with a large number taking to media platforms to point out that the new design and colour scheme closely resembles that of Checkers Sixty60. The result has been a flood of memes poking fun at the kit and its claimed connection to the e-commerce platform.


Checkers has quickly embraced the newsjacking opportunity and late last week it produced a video campaign showing the alleged kit ‘designer’ telling a colleague he has no idea where his inspiration for the design came from. 


The camera then follows the ‘designer’ into his office and we see him surrounded by packets of Sixty60 groceries, Sixty60 children’s toys and sitting on a Sixty60 plastic toy delivery motorcycle.


The payoff line from Checkers is: “It wasn’t us…but it may be our fault.”


The video attracted 140,000 views on YouTube on its first day and has received a positive response from the public for its fun take on the Springbok rugby kit debate.


Pandemic provided a host of newsjacking opportunities


For newsjacking enthusiasts, the Cover-19 pandemic provided ample opportunities for the genre.


A good example was Uber. Despite its business proposition being based on moving people quickly and easily from A to B, the Uber marketing team and its agencies produced a counter-intuitive campaign that urged people not to go anywhere and thanked them for ‘not riding’. 


“Our message with this campaign is pretty simple: Stop moving,” explained Thomas Ranese, VP of Global Marketing at Uber, when the campaign launched in early 2020. 


“We felt it was particularly relevant for a company whose brand stands for movement to reinforce this important message. And we don’t think you can repeat it enough.”


You can watch the Checkers Sixty60 video here.


You can watch the Uber video ad here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.