Absa looks to boost card usage over cash with a campaign from FCB

Absa intends boosting card usage over cash with a new campaign from FCB Joburg that utilises television, radio, out-of-home, digital, social and internal communications.

‘Swiiish’, which features a protagonist who enters the lives of people paying with cash to question that foolhardiness at various points-of-sale, takes its strategic direction from the platform ‘Anything cash can do, your Absa card can do better’.

But, rather than fall back on the ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’ ditty made famous (at least in the westernised, English-speaking world in the 1950s musical “Annie Get Your Gun”), the creative treatment is quintessential modern South African – as it should well be.

Not only does the campaign use a very colloquial piece of music specifically created to resonate with South Africans living in our dynamic and culturally diverse society, it includes some great characterisation and a hand movement that could well make its way into popular culture.

“The strength of this campaign is twofold. Firstly, it’s messaging is straightforward and easy to understand. Second, it is strongly rooted in South African insights and truths, thereby appealing to Absa’s diverse but truly local market,” said Manager for Integrated Marketing Campaigns, Bertus van der Walt.

Created by Executive Creative Director Gareth Paul, with creative direction by Loyiso Twala and Greg Russell, art direction from Thandeka Gilbert and copywriting from Boniso Modise, Siyabonga Moloi and Sifiso Ndhlovu, elements of the campaign broke on September 26.

The TVC flighted for the first time on October 15, and the campaign will continue to roll-out through mid-December.

“With 65% of all transactions in South Africa still done in cash, Absa wanted to get their customers to pay with their card more often than with cash,” said Paul.

“The reasons for a consumer to adopt this behaviour are simple and logical – you earn rewards when you swipe, it’s faster when you Tap and Pay, it’s safer than carrying cash, you can track your spend on the Absa app, and it’s more convenient.


“But, if not delivered in an engaging manner, even the best of reasons could be a turn-off.

“South Africans are not boring people, so we gave them an energetic and engaging musical that’s 100% Mzansi with the assistance of Tigerfight and Bomb Production.

“At FCB Africa, we pride ourselves on consistently delivering work that touches the hearts and souls of ordinary South Africans while helping our clients to achieve their business objectives. I’m certain ‘Swiiish’ will meet the grade,” he said.


Client:                                                                                                               Absa Card

General Manager – Retail Bank: Marketing Retail and Business Banking               Yolande Steward

Manager – Integrated Marketing Campaigns                                                        Bertus van der Walt

Creative agency:                       FCB Joburg

Business Unit Director:              Alan Schreiber

Executive Creative Director:       Gareth Paul

Creative Director:                      Loyiso Twala, Greg Russell

Copywriter:                               Bonolo Modise                        

Art director:                               Thandeka Gilbert

Agency producer                       Barbara Clarke

Copywriters:                              Sifiso Ndhlovu, Siyabonga Moloi

Strategic planner:                      Jade Dos Santos, Antonio Petra

Media planners:                         Maxus

Music production                      Tigerfight         

TV production:                          Bomb

Director:                                   Tebogo Malope

Production house producer        Marc Harrison   

Editor:                                                  Evy Katz

Post production:                       Left and Fuel Content


The benefits of using a credit card

If you are tempted by credit and can’t be counted on to control your spending habits, then by all means, stick to cash.

However, if you are able to use your credit card like cash and pay off your balance at the end of every month, credit cards can offer some great benefits such as the rewards you can earn, the fact that using credit actually raises your credit score and the convenience factor.

Here’s how you can reverse the flow of money and actually make some cash from your credit card:

  • Avoid interest and fees: Pay off your entire balance each month. This will keep you from paying any fees or interest (unless there is an annual fee.) If you are not paying any fees or interest, all the extra money you get from rewards is cash in your pocket.
  • Get the most from rewards: Pick rewards credit cards that make the most sense for your lifestyle. Make sure your credit cards are being used to get the maximum amount of rewards.

ü  The Absa Rewards programme continues to provide our customers with superior value, differentiated by its simplicity and transparency.

ü  Membership of the program has grown at a rate of 13.7%, reaching the 2 million mark in 2016.

ü  Benefits earned are up 24%, in line with the objective of investing in customer relationships and resulting engagement.

ü  Redemptions are up by 35%, which indicates engagement and active participation in the program.

ü  Absa also launched a number of value added services during the last year, enhancing and differentiating product value propositions in the market. A number of new partners and value added services will be introduced in the fourth quarter this year to further differentiate our offering and build onto our customer relationships.

Raising your credit score

Many people don’t realize this, but not using credit can dramatically hurt your credit score. Your credit score is mostly based on your credit history and how you utilize credit. If you don’t have a history and don’t use credit on a regular basis, there is nothing to base a score on, so your credit score will be pretty low.


The convenience of being able to swipe your credit card instead of constantly running the ATM or having to count out the exact amount is pretty obvious. Many car rentals, hotels and airlines also won’t take cash or even debit cards anymore.

Monthly budgeting made easier

The major benefit, though, is having a detailed list of everything you’ve spent money on each month. Having an online account of all your transactions makes it easier to set up and enforce a budget. You know where all your money is going, which is very hard to do with cash.

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