Carling Black Label and the power of purpose

South African Breweries Brand Manager, Sanelisiwe Tshangana unpacks how Carling Black Label’s #NoExcuse movement provides a marker for new age of advertising.

In a world beset by rampant consumerism, the average person sees up to 10 000 advertisements in a single day. It’s easy to understand why people are turned off by incessant product marketing that only seems to care about pushing products instead of helping to shape a better world.

In South Africa, a country which suffers from extremely high levels of gender-based violence, one South African Breweries (SAB) beer brand has sought to make a tangible difference over the last five years and has been globally recognized for it.

Through its famous #NOEXCUSE movement, Carling Black Label has shocked its consumers into taking action, acknowledging that men are the cause of gender-based violence, but men are also the solution.

Having just nabbed the coveted Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022 for the Bride Armour campaign, Carling Black Label has once again made waves across the world in the name of ending Gender Based Violence.

This campaign basically sold a wedding dress to men, or at least the idea of one. With the insight that 1 in 3 women will experience abuse at the hands of their intimate partner, Carling Black Label designed an armoured wedding dress in partnership with award-winning fashion designer Suzaan Heyns. The dress brutally illustrated the ways in which many men abuse the women in their lives.

For Tshangana the Carling Black Label brand manager, this Cannes win illustrates that the world has always been ready to embrace consumerism with a purpose. “To win a Gold Lion at Cannes is the ultimate affirmation that your campaign is checking all the right boxes as it beats out the world’s best campaigns from the world’s biggest brands.”

She says all brands should realize that they have the power to incite real change in a world desperately crying out for healing. “Carling Black Label’s #NOEXCUSE movement has always been driven with that purposeful power in mind.”

What started as a bold movement in November 2017 has evolved into multiple initiatives that continue to change men from within through champion conversations, soccer events, tavern interventions, college workshops, champ camps, staff workshops and more. Together, these tangible on-the-ground initiatives have impacted the lives of nearly 200 000 men and seek to actively reduce gender-based violence incidence in hot spots around the country.

“If you have a true and simple insight that links to the moments in your consumers lives, you can actively drive change. But it needs to be done in a measurable way,” says Tshangana.

How does the Carling Black Label approach measurable impact?

She explains the three measures of success and how the brand actively works to achieve them:

  1. Over 80% of South Africans to believe there is #NOEXCUSE for women abuse - This is the overall goal of the campaign and SAB uses partners on the ground to extend this impact. After every campaign, a detailed study is done with a respectable research house to get a sense of how South Africans feel about violence against women.
  2. Reduction of GBV in targeted communities – SAB and #NOEXCUSE have chosen GBV hotspots communities across the country and actively drives its on-the-ground initiatives in these zones, changing men from within.
  3. Getting a million men to take action– This is the overarching target that drives the campaign. Action is determined by the number of men signing one of the #NOEXCUSE vows, attending champion camps and any other high impact interventions. Right now, that number sits at nearly 200 000, but that is simply the beginning.

Forming part of a brand that actively seeks to change the world for the better is what drives Tshangana as a brand manager. “Brands are part of people’s every day. Consumers see us in different pockets of their lives, and we share moments with them. If we don’t use those moments to illustrate purpose or meaning, what are we even doing?”

Tshangana believes the time of selling for cause is here and consumers are all too ready to jump on board. “We all know that brands have persuasive power, but the consumers have the ultimate power. To buy or not to buy. Choice in product is now more aligned to what matters to them than ever before and its only getting more palpable. Choices are now linked to values and that is a powerful evolution.”

For anyone looking for help, we have a #NOEXCUSE Support Centre at 2075 Rooseveldt St Alexandra, Johannesburg. You can also alternatively reach out to us on 0800 150 150.