Nando’s World of Hot Chicks, Spicy Birds, and Saucy Breasts

So these two blokes walked into this chicken joint …

An hour later they walked out again. And their life had changed.

The reason was they’d just had one of the best meals in years and, as it turned
out, a brainwave. The flame-grilled chicken was so good, so flavourful with aits
hot peri-peri sauce, they decided to give up their day jobs and buy the place.

The place, in Rosettenville, southern Johannesburg was called “Chickenland” and
the date was 1987 when Robert Brozin and Fernando Duarte made the best move of their
lives. Today, Nando’s operates in 28 countries and on five continents. The obvious
question that springs to mind is: “How did they do it?”

If you look at their really remarkable success story, it appears their success is
based on a trinity which, in the culinary world, one might call ‘the holy trinity’.

First, their food is good, and their recipe is unique. They buy good quality chicken
(not organic) and marinate each piece for 24 hours in their peri-peri sauce.

Actually, not everyone agrees that Nando’s is great. There is an anti-Nando’s petition
on the net that actually slags the place for bad service, bland, dry chicken, and
unfriendliness. There’s probably more but I didn’t read all the whines.

It this a lunatic fringe? I have to say, the various accolades Nando’s has raked
in seem to belie these criticisms….

In 2009 Nando’s celebrated achieving the maximum three stars in the Best Companies
Accreditation award, the only big company in the UK to achieve three stars! This
award measures eight key areas including Personal Growth, Well Being and Leadership.

Last year they repeated this feat.

They have won the (London) Sunday Times Best Place to Work (Big
Companies) category receiving praise for their investment in staff. Their staff
are young and turnover low.

In 2010, Advertising Age magazine named Nando’s as one of the world’s top 30 hottest
marketing brands. The list included brands such as Facebook, Ikea and BMW.

This tells you that with happy staff, it goes a long way towards creating the friendly
atmosphere customers experience at Nando’s.

The third arm of the ‘trinity’ is surely the unique way they have gone about building
the brand. Their advertising is, you could say, as sharp as their peri-peri sauce.

Yet, their advertising in the UK has been surprisingly low-key. How did they manage
to break into this highly competitive market when, after all, they’re up against
the giants in the take-out industry, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, MacDonald’s,
Pizza Hut?

Miranda Sawyer, writing in The Observer, earlier this year, wrote: “David Beckham
eats there. So does Tinchy Stryder. The peri-peri chicken chain is now the restaurant
of choice for a new breed of confident young multicultural Britons.” According to
her it’s become very hip to eat at Nando’s, and word-of-mouth has become a very
powerful tool in spreading the popularity in Britain. Celebs have been photographed
by the tabloids eating there. Or, even better, emerging from a Nando’s, clutching
the brown paper bag with the distinctive Nando’s logo on the packet, a Portuguese
rooster in vibrant Afro-Portuguese colours. All very good for the brand if the photographs
appears on the front page the next day!

In South Africa and Australia, on the other hand, the brand does a huge amount of
TV advertising, as well as radio. And their ads are hot. In fact, it’s not unusual
to hear someone say, “Have you seen the latest Nando’s ad?”

One of the reasons for their successful campaigns is that Nando’s advertising agency
is quick to produce a topical ad, especially if it involves controversy. These campaigns
often employ a highly satirical style, especially when it involves politicians.
The landscape they depict in South Africa is a sort of post-colonial world where
they parody the issues of the day, corrupt traffic cops taking bribes, a husband
with 20 wives (a take on the president of the country, Jakob Zuma). During the last
election they created another topical ad which drew the ire of the ANC Youth League
when they used a puppet to depict the Youth League leader, Julius Malema, spouting
forth in the most absurd manner. It was funny, although some found it offensive.
They were forced take the TV ad off the air. But 24 hours later they were back with
a suitable riposte.

Their advertising is bold. They take chances. For instance, they do not shy away
from showing real live chickens in their ads – something other more conservative
and timid brands would be careful to avoid. They are also not coy about it, either
and make it clear that these fowl will be eaten.

In Australia, their advertising has even more bite.

Wikipedia writes that Nando’s ran an advertising campaign based around the
2002 political controversy regarding the mandatory detention of illegal immigrants.
The detainees had been waging a hunger strike campaign, even resorting to physically
sewing their lips closed. Nando’s adverts proclaimed that the strikers “decided
to unsew their lips after hearing the news that with every Nando’s quarter chicken
combo, Nando’s are giving away an extra quarter chicken free.

Most recently they have created a ‘cheeky’ TV ad campaign for their new Tropico
Burger with the former football star Warwick Capper as the face of the new promotion.
Capper asks the question, “Whose buns does the sun shine out of the most? Mine or
the Tropico Burger?” Personally I find these ads laboured and the humour forced.
To tell you the truth, it is hardly funny at all.

Their ‘Bruno Fashion’ cinema ad is more successful.

In this commercial all the famous designer names for fragrances are at first rejected.
Then follow the words: “This year’s hottest chicks are covered in peri-peri sauce.
Portuguese designer chicken in peri-peri sauce.

The ‘Bruno theme’ was continued in a setup that occurred at a gala event – none
other than the premiere of Bruno’s movie in Australia. For once the prankster was
‘out Bruno’d when a look-alike gate-crashed the event, arriving in an outrageous
pink stretch limo and flanked by six hot models who proceeded to cover themselves
in peri-peri sauce. In a scene which uncannily mirrored a scene from the movie,
the fake Bruno had to be escorted from the premier by guards.

But it is oddly enough their sexually explicit advertisement about a family whose
mother moonlights as a pole dancer that caused uproar and a deluge of letters of
complaint from – one can only imagine – outraged parents. But these complaints failed
to have the offending ad removed, as the Advertising Standards Bureau concluded
that it did not contain excessive nudity. But the debate rages on in blogs on the
internet.

Another favourite is the South African play on breasts ad. A female customer with
ample breasts is on her mobile when she notices that there are no chips with her
Nando’s burger – at least not from her vantage point, which is looking down her
breasts. She complains to the waitress who obliges by pulling the plate from under
her breasts to reveal the chips.

But it is a South African radio ad that surely tops all other ads and has endeared
the brand to most people because of its cleverness and its understated humour. The
‘Beautiful chicken’ ad was created during FIFA’s World Cup competition in South
Africa early in 2010. The original is a highly emotional ad, exhorting South Africans
to attend the games so that one day they can say to their grand-children: “I was
there …at the Beautiful Game.” In the irreverent Nando’s ad, the ‘beautiful game’
has been transformed into “the beautiful chicken.” It is hilarious. The link will
take you a short discussion on the merits of the radio ad and includes the ad itself.

  • néa

    How could you guys possibly have missed something like

    Nando’s World of Hot Chicks, Spicy Birds, and Saucy Breasts

    WHY CRY FOWL WHEN ” WE’VE ALL BEEN LAID!!”