Building brands in Africa: Pyramid scheme

The personal touch

DISPOSABLE nappies take up much of the shelf space at the ABC Supermarket in Kliptown, a district of Soweto, an urban sprawl west of Johannesburg. “Kliptown is a baby town,” says Mossa, the ABC’s owner. His store carries a wide range of nappies, from global brands such as Huggies and Pampers to less familiar lines from Egypt and Turkey.Outside its doors a team of locals is promoting Huggies to passing mums. Like Pampers they are sold singly so parents can buy one for when a reliable nappy is critical (a long trip in a cramped minibus, say). However, says the team leader, Sipho, Huggies also come in a bag that will safely store a used nappy until it can be binned.Sipho’s team works for The Creative Counsel (TCC), a firm that specialises in marketing to the poorest consumers at the “bottom of the pyramid”, a term popularised by the late C.K. Prahalad, a management guru. TCC was established in 2001 as a two-person advertising agency by Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved. It has grown into one of South Africa’s largest. As well as Kimberley-Clark, the maker of Huggies, its clients include Unilever, Danone and Vodacom, part of…

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