COM 2015 Volume 20

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  • ItemOpen Access
    How Koo beat Coke: building a brand narrative versus traditional advertising
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Irwin, Ronald
    The 2011 annual top brand survey, conducted by Sunday Times in South Africa, provided a representative cross-section of 33 brands from various categories in the general consumer space, and 13 in the business landscape. The overall favourite brand in South Africa in that year was Koo, owned by Tiger Brands in South Africa. This brand, which has a relatively small advertising budget, was a surprise winner in the category that had been dominated by brands such as Coca‑Cola and KFC. These brands spent far more on advertising to a lesser effect than Koo, a significantly smaller company. Koo had in fact spent R12 million on advertising versus Coke’s R193 million, yet Koo’s final ranking was the highest of all brands surveyed. The brand’s relatively simple outdoor marketing as well as the Mama Koo Radio Hour, a daily radio show featuring the various dishes homemakers can cook using Koo products, helped bring the brand to all South Africans and eclipsed its larger American-based rivals. This article considers the Koo example as illustrative of the power of simple, traditional advertising in the multi-modal context.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Searching for 'African' perspectives in South African media's discourse on Zimbabwe's challenges
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Sesanti, Simphiwe
    The year 2000 witnessed an aggressive displacement of white farmers by Zimbabwe’s war veterans in pursuit of an unfulfilled African struggle for land repossession usurped by British colonialists led by Cecil John Rhodes in the 19th century. This turn of events received international media attention. Both in Africa and abroad, the media attacked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and called for Mugabe’s removal from power. Pressure was exerted on the Southern Africa Development Community-appointed mediator, Thabo Mbeki, to drop “quiet diplomacy” and adopt an aggressive and uncompromising approach to Mugabe. African leaders, including Mbeki, saw the media’s attitude as pro-Western and anti-African. This article, utilising Afrocentricity as theoretical framework, examines how the South African newspaper City Press, a self-proclaimed “distinctly African” newspaper, handled the Zimbabwean crisis, with particular reference to the land issue and taking into cognisance traditional African culture’s stance with regards to land ownership.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reading tabloids in Zulu: a case study of Isolezwe
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Wasserman, Herman; Ndlovu, Musawenkosi
    This article revolves around an analysis of the relationship between Isolezwe newspaper, a South African mass-market tabloid, and its consumers who are mainly Zulu-speaking black readers. In view of the decline in newspaper readership in general, the phenomenal growth of Isolezwe in particular and the absence of scholarship that examines the relationship between Isolezwe and its consumers, the authors set out to explore why the newspaper has become and continues to be highly popular. To answer the question about the reason for its popularity, focus group interviews with readers were conducted to identify why readers chose to read the newspaper. The authors conclude that the comparative preference of Isolezwe over other newspapers in the market is influenced, in part, by mutually reinforcing factors such as social/cultural identity and cultural capital, semantic noise avoidance, language use, gratification of cognitive needs and the audiencecentred definition of news.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Parental communication about sex and motherhood trends among students at a South African university
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Makofane, Beauty; Oyedemi, Toks
    Pregnancy among teenagers and unmarried young adults is common in South Africa. This presents challenges and concerns due to the association with lower socio-economic status, lack of paternal support and commitment among male partners, disruption of schooling that potentially accompanies pregnancy, and many others. It also raises critical sociological and communication questions: Do parents talk to their children about sex-related issues? What are the young adults’ idea of love, sex and relationships? What are the patterns of motherhood and pregnancy among university students? Many studies have explored teenage pregnancy in South Africa, but there is limited focus on young adult students at universities, especially rural universities. Through a survey of 150 students at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, this study shows that parental communication about sex is not a popular communicative practice among many students, and for those whose parents have talked to them about sex, the parental communication tends to have limited influence on the students’ attitude to safe sex. In this study, for a third of the students who are mothers the concerns about young motherhood continue to shape their economic and socio-cultural experiences.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Interpersonal communication about sexuality and HIV/AIDS-related messages among South African high school learners
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Lubinga, Elizabeth
    Communication between adolescents and associated others about sex-related issues is considered to be important in promoting healthy behaviour among young people. Sexual behaviour by adolescents is influenced by conversations held with family members and peers. Mass communication effect theories state that interpersonal discussions are capable of modifying the responses of targeted audiences to mass media messages. Various studies have been conducted about parent-child communication. However, literature provides scant evidence of the reasons given by adolescents for their preferred choice of conversation partners for “sensitive” sexual communication. Individual interviews were conducted with 320 high school learners in order to solicit their views. Results (n=1280) show that generally learners would be more willing to talk to their friends than their parents about sex-related health issues. Findings from this study could assist campaign designers in constructing sexual behaviour change messages that foster the right conversations with the right people.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Brand storytelling: the case of Coca-Cola 's journey corporate website
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Du Plessis, Charmaine
    Brand storytelling is an evolving branding technique which involves continuous narratives about the brand through publishing and sharing useful brand-related content with consumers. Publishing content no longer includes publishing in traditional print media only, but also via electronic and social media in various media formats and on different platforms. In doing so, marketers endeavour to engage with consumers by creating consumer experiences through brand-related content. Non-media organisations have thus also become publishers of their brands although there are no clear-cut guidelines but numerous perspectives on how to communicate brand content by means of storytelling. This study explores, identifies and explains types of consumer experience which were evident on the Coca-Cola Journey corporate website, one of the world’s leading brands at the time of the study. A theoretical perspective is adopted that borrows from and is also adapted from both media management and marketing communication. Brand storytelling is theoretically delineated and then applied to the proposed types of consumer experience which could be created through content for media organisations, as put forward by Peck and Malthouse (2011). The content on the Coca-Cola website is narrowed down for analysis and then explained using this perspective. The findings offer insight into the type of brand stories that marketers could consider when drafting content marketing strategies for nonmedia organisations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A strategic organisation-stakeholder relationship-building model: an external organisational-orientated perspective
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Slabbert, Yolandi
    To fill the gap in existing literature to build organisation-stakeholder relationships (OSRs) and to expand the body of knowledge on the process of OSR-building, Slabbert (2012) developed a model that provided a partnership approach to describe the process of OSR-building with strategic stakeholders. This model was tested among in-house corporate communication professionals at JSE -listed organisations. The main aim of this article is to describe a follow-up study that further explored how the principles of this model resonate with the process of OSR-building in practice, specifically in selected South African public relations (PR) and communication agencies. By further exploring the principles of the Sequential, Integrated, Sustainable Organisation-Stakeholder Relationship model (SISOSR), this study explored whether OSR-building from a modernistic perspective is still relevant in practice or whether it resembles a postmodernistic move evident in recent academic literature. Although the findings indicate that the OSR-building process presented by Slabbert’s 2012 model is more conducive to in-house corporate communication professionals’ practices, it does tend to resonate with OSR-building in practice which could be evident of communication professionals’ slow uptake of postmodernistic approaches. The research findings were used to provide guidelines for possible amendments of the SISOSR model to align it with OSR-building in practice. This could be used as a starting point for future studies in addressing the process of stakeholder relationship building from a postmodern perspective.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The learning organisation against a ceiling: can it move beyond the barrier?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Du Plessis, D. F.
    In this critical literature review of the learning organisation and specifically the spirituality dimension of the concept, the aim is to identify possible aspects that will assist in operationalising the idea. The learning organisation concept is wellestablished and has been applied globally since being made popular in 1990 by Peter Senge. The concept promised huge potential and in many cases made a significant difference in the organisations where it was implemented. The emphasis is on learning in the organisation which makes it possible to adapt more rapidly to changes in the environment. However, its implementation was met with mixed success. For many reasons it is difficult or even impossible to establish the ideal learning organisation. This article proposes that one of the variables that inhibited proper implementation of the learning organisation concept can be the lack of accounting for spirituality in the organisation. Spirituality in organisations (such as a sense of purpose, and meaningful engagement) is a fundamental assumption of the learning organisation. More research needs to be done to investigate the role of spirituality in an organisational context with the aim of unlocking the potential of operationalising the learning organisation concept.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Communicating paradigmatic intellectual orientations: the mediating role of persistent theme
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Strauss, D. F. M.
    All humans have the capacity to live in organised societies and to communicate the basic patterns of such societies to forthcoming generations. If they are accompanied by persistent themes operative within intellectual traditions and passed on to subsequent intellectual trends, then the ongoing power of paradigmatic orientations is demonstrated. This article focuses on the historically mediated communication of two opposing but powerful paradigmatic views on the relation between human beings and human society. Atomistic or individualistic approaches will be contrasted with holistic or universalistic views. The historical connection will be traced as persistent themes present in the paradigmatic stance of Greek thinkers (such as Callicles, Protagoras, Plato and Aristotle), medieval intellectuals (Augustine and Thomas Aquinas), transitional figures (William of Ockham, Jean of Jandun and Marsilius of Padua), modern thinkers (Hobbes, Locke and Kant), the switch from Enlightenment rationalism and individualism to the irrationalistic individualism of early Romanticism, and the full-blown Romantic emphasis on an irrationalistic universalism (the transpersonal national spirit of each people, Volk – Von Schlegel, Herder, Hegel and Fichte). After considering the subsequent communication of some relevant turns during the 19th and 20th century, it will be briefly pointed out that human nature does not determine societal structures, just as little as one or another societal entity (the Volk, state or church) embraces individuals or the other societal collectivities and communities fully as integral parts. When persistent paradigmatic themes are communicated to later scholars (Holton) amidst changing historical contexts, the directing power of diverging basic motives and the inevitability of communicative historical continuity is amply demonstrated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Paradigms, perspectives and practice of public relations and communication: implication for 'disciplined imagination' in South African scholarship
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Verwey, Sonja
    Increasing technological complexity and globalisation have resulted in fundamental societal and business changes that require scholars and practitioners to challenge their own assumptions, and come to grips with the implications of paradigm shifts in various fields. The tensions that arise as a result of these changes dictate a need for the communication professional to transcend the boundaries of their own values and thought frameworks in order to create direction, alignment, and commitment across boundaries in service of a higher vision or goal. This article explores the nature of these paradigm shifts, and considers what implications tensions in the field hold for public relations and communication scholarship in general, but also specifically for the South African field of scholarship and practice. South African scholars are urged to rediscover the “disciplined imagination” proposed by Weick (1989) if they are to transcend disciplinary boundaries and move towards a more meaningful contribution in the cooperative search for solutions to complex problems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A future direction for HIV/AIDS communication: participation, HIV positive celebrities and their public self-expression
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2015) Burger, Mariekie
    After almost three decades of HIV/Aids communication in South Africa, a recent HSRC report (Shisana et al. 2014) indicated that South Africans’ knowledge on HIV/Aids has declined in the last few years and risky sexual behaviour amongst certain groups has increased. This shifts the thinking about HIV/Aids communication away from focusing on communication alone to issues around the uptake of HIV/Aids communication. This crisis of HIV/Aids communication suggests investigating future directions for communication about the virus in the hope that a new direction might stimulate the uptake. Instead of continuing the trajectory of strategically incorporating participatory techniques in project‑based HIV/Aids communication that is conceived “outside” the target community, this article investigates participatory HIV/Aids communication that emerges from “within” society. Through a review of existing literature, this article investigates the HIV/Aids communication of HIV‑positive South African celebrities, and indicates how they participate in HIV/Aids communication and how they express their life stories in public (public self‑expression). Furthermore, some HIV‑positive celebrities invite the public to share their life stories on a public platform – in line with the Freirean principle of participatory development communication. This form of HIV/Aids communication is also characterised by the sharing of real people’s personal views regarding all aspects – not only biomedical – of the virus.