Anatomy of an Ad Campaign

Sassda ADSAfter a period of ‘lost focus’, sassda committed to getting back to basics under the leadership of veteran stainless steel man, Bill Scurr. With the situation stabilised, ex-Columbus Stainless metallurgist, John Tarboton, took over as Executive Director.

After a thorough study of what makes some trade associations better than others, sassda embarked on a process of redefining the brand. It was determined that associations need to engage with their members on multiple fronts, including face-to-face meetings, special interest group meetings, and through mobile friendly websites.

After a much-needed member survey, a strategic planning session was held and a value proposition was developed for sassda. Seven Strategic Thrusts were also decided as part of the new plan.

The member survey highlighted issues such as the current pay off line not being meaningful to members, and positive aspects, for instance, the long-established cross and balls stainless steel device.

An overhaul of sassda and its marketing efforts was necessary.

Sassda contracted Gary i. Crawford, a marketing consultant and a previous sassda sector chairperson. Gary undertook a year’s contract to develop and implement a marketing plan based on the Seven Strategic Thrusts.

As is normal in most rebranding processes, it was important to look at the competitive landscape both locally and internationally. Sassda’s advertising agency (The DWF Collective) was tasked with defining the advertising concept, as well as revitalising the corporate logo and
device. Over time, the corporate devices have drifted from their origins.


Strategically, the creation of the new ad campaign was fraught with challenges, however, a strategy emerged and defined the markets and sectors sassda needs to address, keeping in mind that the awareness of sassda outside of the association and in the commercial market is essentially unknown.

The association itself is tasked with adding value to our members’ businesses, to assist in the conversion of stainless steel to finished product and assist in expanding the local and African markets, for the benefit of the stainless steel industry itself.

This creates a need to build awareness for stainless steel in the commercial, industrial, architectural and consumer product markets.

Yet the campaign had to build the sassda brand at the same time. As with all advertising campaigns, it had to be media agnostic with multiple usages across the media spectrum (trade publications, print media, collateral and point of contact and brochureware as well as online media).

On top of that challenge, the conceptual thinking had to be simple, clear and concise.

There was also the requirement to build an understanding of the benefits of stainless steel in terms of life cycle costing.

After hundreds of cups of coffee and hours of collaboration, research and examination it was remarked upon that:
“Stainless steel doesn’t have to be bright to be brilliant,” and the campaign was settled: “Stainless Steel. It’s Simply Brilliant.”

The ad campaign was brought to fruitionusing  clear imagery and body copy simple and to the point. The imagery is unusual and has huge impact.

In the creation of the campaign, it was decided to manufacture a stainless steel wire baobab sculpture as the lead image for the environmental print ad. Skilled street sculptor, Lucky the Wire Guy, built a 1.75m tree, which was then decorated with stainless steel items.

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