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Incorporating the «proudly south african» campaign in communication programmes of South African firms

CD Pentz
p. 143-156


The aim of this paper is to provide information on the use of a «patriotic campaign», the Proudly South African campaign, to communicate with the domestic South African market. The article commences with background on the effects of country of origin and ethnocentrism. This section is followed by a brief overview of the «Proudly South African» campaign, followed by practical examples of how the campaign has been incorporated in communication programmes. A section describing the cultural diversity of South Africa follows and the final section of the article highlights future research that is planned for the South African market.

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1. Introduction

1Since Ernest Dichter (1962) commented that the phrase «Made in …» can have a tremendous influence on the acceptance of products, the country-of-origin phenomenon has been the subject of extensive studies (Quester and Yeoh, 1996:113). It is the view of Kaynak and Kara (2000:928) that part of the reason for this continuous interest in the subject area can be attributed to increased global competition among foreign firms operating in different parts of the world. In most cases these firms are not only offering more variety and assortment of products, but also offer them at very competitive prices. Kaynak and Kara (2000:928) hold that this scenario, coupled with the increased standards of living and improved lifestyles of consumers around the globe, as well as improved global communication and increased use of Internet-based communication, results in the fact that consumers in worldwide markets are exposed to and are selecting from a wider range of foreign products/brands than ever before.

2Baker and Ballington (2002:158), however argue that the primary emphasis of studies on the country of origin phenomenon has been on the sale of products in international markets, with little attention paid to its potential impact in domestic markets.

3The aim of this paper is to provide information on the use of a «patriotic campaign,» the Proudly South African campaign and to provide suggestions for further research on country of origin and ethnocentrism for the domestic South African market.

2. Country of origin

4One of the first studies to investigate the possible influence of the country of origin phenomenon on consumer behaviour was conducted by Schooler in the 1960’s. The study was conducted in the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica, including Mexico for control purposes. The results indicated that significant differences existed in the evaluations of products, identical in all respects, except for the name of the country appearing on the label of the products that were tested. It was also found that products manufactured in less developed countries were not evaluated as quality products. Schooler (1965:396), therefore concluded that the country-of-origin of a specific product could have an effect on the opinions of consumers.

5Since this seminal study by Schooler, the impact of country of origin has been studied in a variety of research settings. According to Leonidou, Hadjimarcou, Kalela and Stamenova (1999:128) the main issues addressed in previous studies have focused on investigating stereotyped perceptions across countries of manufacture exhibited by consumers in developed countries (mainly in North America and Western Europe) and that previous studies agree that consumers evaluate products made in different countries differently. Hamin and Elliot (2006:80) also argue that the focus of the vast bulk of extant country-of-origin research has been from the perspective of more developed countries, especially the United States of America and Europe. The common finding of these studies seem to be that consumers rate products produced in their own country, or in more developed countries, more highly than those products produced in foreign and/or less developed countries.

6Bilkey and Nes (1982:90) indicate that several other studies have found that products that are made in different, more developed countries, are not all evaluated equally. These studies include work by: Schooler and Wildt (1968); Nagashima (1970, 1977); Schooler (1971); Bannister and Saunders (1978); White and Cundiff (1978) and White (1979). A review of studies suggest that product evaluations tend to be highest for products sourced in highly developed countries, followed by newly industrialising countries and lowest for Eastern European/socialist countries and developing countries (Phau and Predergast: 2000:160). Cattin et al. (1982:138), for example, investigated the stereotypes held by French and American directors of purchasing towards products produced in five different advanced countries and found that American directors favoured products from West Germany over products from France and the United Kingdom.

7It is, however, possible for attitudes to change over time. Studies, for instance, indicate that over years there has been an improvement in the Japanese image, while a relative deterioration in the image of the United States of America has been detected (Dornoff, Tankersley and White, 1974:28, Nagashima, 1977:98).

8From the perspective of consumers from less developed countries, Hamin and Elliot (2006:80) state that evidence from research that have been conducted in countries such as Mexico, The Philippines, Jordan and Nigeria suggests that consumers from these countries seem to evaluate imported products from more developed countries more favourably than domestically produced products.

3. Consumer ethnocentrism

9It is further argued by Hamin and Elliot (2006:80) that beyond the generalised preference for products originating from more developed countries there is also evidence that some consumers, particularly those from more developed countries, will always prefer to purchase products that have been manufactured in their home country. This generalised preference has been referred to as «consumer ethnocentrism» and is defined as «beliefs regarding the appropriateness, indeed the morality of purchasing foreign made products.» An ethnocentric consumer believes that one should not purchase imported products as imports threaten the national economy, reduces domestic job security and that such buying behaviour is unpatriotic (Shimp and Sharma, 1987:280).

10It is held by Good and Huddleston (1995:35) that consumer ethnocentrism (nationalism or patriotism) asserts that patriotic emotions affect consumers' attitudes about products and purchase intentions. It was, for instance, found that consumers from the United States of America prefer products from the United States, (Nagashima, 1970; Gaedeke, 1973); French consumers had more favourable attitudes towards French products (Baumgartner and Jolibert, 1978:604) and Japanese consumers preferred products from Japan, (Narayana 1981:34).

11According to McLain and Sternquist (1991:40), ethnocentric tendencies of consumers can be enhanced through highly patriotic advertising themes. The American Fiber, Textiles and Apparel Coalitions (AFTAC), for example, used a campaign «Crafted with Pride in the USA» to influence American consumers to purchase domestically produced products. Australia and New Zealand have also mounted campaigns to encourage local people to purchase products that have been produced in their home country. In South Africa, the Proudly South African campaign was launched in October 2001 and is mod- elled on the Australian Made campaign (

4. The «Proudly South African» campaign

4.1. Background of the campaign

12The goal of the Proudly South African campaign is to encourage economic transformation and growth in employment in South Africa, through the promotion of local companies, products and services (Irwin, 2004).

13At the heart of the Proudly South African campaign is the logo, illustrated in Figure 1 below. The design of the logo is modern but classic and colours are strongly linked to the South African flag, clearly identifying the local content of a product (

Figure 1

Figure 1


14Companies meeting the standards set by Proudly South African can use the logo to identify themselves, their products and/or services. The following criteria must be met before the logo can be used.

  1. The products and/or services of a company must incur at least 50% of production costs, including labour, in South Africa and must be «substantially transformed».

  2. The company as well as its products and/or services must meet high quality standards.

  3. The company must be committed to fair labour and employment practices.

  4. The company must be committed to environmental standards. (

4.2. Communication activities

4.2.1. Communication activities used by proudly South Africa

15Through the years, Proudly South African has implemented a number of marketing activities that assist with achieving the objectives of the campaign. These activities include promoting products and/or services of members through Proudly South African mediums such as the website, Nca!News (electronic newsletter), Proud! magazine and various exhibitions. Other Proudly SA projects include a consumer education/outreach campaign, the Proudly SA Homegrown Awards, Proudly SA week, and a Proudly SA loyalty card (

16Illustrated below are examples of a campaign launched in 2002 called «Appearing Soon on SA’s Finest». The idea of the campaign was to start linking the Proudly South African logo to a range of South African made products such as fruit, jeans, leather goods beer and food. Various mediums were used, such as magazines, newspapers and outdoor billboards (

Pictures 2 and 3 – Product tags used for arts and crafts

Pictures 2 and 3 – Product tags used for arts and crafts


17A number of promotional items are manufactured and sold by Proudly South African to members at favourable prices. These items include the following:

Picture 4

Picture 4


Picture 5 – Generic Poster that can be used in advertising and promotional campaigns

Picture 5 – Generic Poster that can be used in advertising and promotional campaigns


4.2.2. Communication activities by proudly South African members

18Examples of Proudly South African members incorporating the Proudly South African logo into communication campaigns are the following:

Picture 6

Picture 6


19The above print advertisement is targeted at clients and business partners of Nedbank (a large South African Bank) as well as the general South African public. The advertisement showcases the bank’s awards in which they excelled in among others, Best Annual Report by a Proudly South African member at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Southern Africa and Best Annual Report in the Financial, Insurance and Property Category.

20«The intention behind the advertisement is to show all our stakeholders that Nedbank is committed to becoming a bank that epitomises what it means to be Proudly South African – it is a critical element of how we do business. Excellence is not something that is achieved overnight and the recent awards show that we are on the right track», Greg Garden, Divisional Director of Group Marketing at Nedbank (

Picture 7

Picture 7


21G.U.D. Filters, a wholly South African company produces and markets a range of automotive air, oil and fuel filters. Red Shuttleworth, Managing Director of G.U.D. Filters, holds that G.U.D. decided to join the Proudly South African campaign to reinforce messages in the marketplace, where the trade is faced with choices, including cheap imports from Eastern countries, which are often of inferior quality. «Since joining we have incorporated the PSA logo on to all our products, packaging and every single piece of communication we put out, because we feel passionate about the quality of our truly South African brand.» (

5. South Africa – a culturally diverse country

5.1. The South African population

22South Africa can be seen as a nation of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. According to mid-2006 figures released by Statistics South Africa, the country had a estimated population of 47.4 million people. Of these, African people are in the majority, constituting 37.3 million of the population. The white population is estimated at 4.4 million, the coloured population at 4.2 million and the Indian/Asian population at 1.2 million (

Graph 1 – South African population by race

Graph 1 – South African population by race


23Even though more than 75% of the South African population is constituted of black African people, this category is neither culturally, nor linguistically homogenous. According to, African people include the following:

  1. Nguni people, compromising the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi

  2. Sotho-Tswana people, compromising the Southern, Northern and Western Sotho

  3. Tsonga people

  4. Venda people

24Nine of the eleven official languages of South Africa are African, reflecting a variety of ethnic groupings (

Graph 2 – Official languages spoken in South Africa

Graph 2 – Official languages spoken in South Africa


6. Further research

25Over the years, many countries have attempted to capitalise on the country of origin cue in order to promote domestically produced goods, but these campaigns have had only limited impact (Baker and Ballington, 2002:162). It is furthermore argued that a review of the Australian Made campaign indicates that although the emphasis of the campaign was to encourage the consumption of goods produced in Australia, this has been based on outperforming imports, rather than a simple appeal to patriotism.

26Kucukemiroglu (1999:471) argues that along with increased nationalism as well a heavy emphasis on cultural and ethnic identity, the concept of consumer ethnocentrism can be regarded as a potent force in the global business environment in future. An understanding of whether the level of ethnocentrism is differentiating customer characteristics for products originating from overseas countries can be extremely useful for the development of marketing strategies for imported products. According to Luque-Martinez, Ibanez-Zapata and Barrio-Garcia (2000:1353) research on consumer ethnocentrism may be an important step toward forming a better understanding of the way in which individual and organisational consumers draw comparisons between domestic and foreign products, as well as the reasons that lead these consumers to develop patriotic prejudices against imports. Kaynak and Kara (2000:929) came to the conclusion that despite the profusion of studies that have been conducted on the subject of country-of-origin, it has been found that investigations of product perceptions and judgements of consumers in developing countries and newly emerging economies are relatively scarce. It is also argued that this scarcity exists even though multinational companies have expanded their operations in many developing countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region and have faced significant challenges.

27In order to measure ethnocentric tendencies of consumers, the Consumer Ethnocentrism Scale (CETSCALE), was developed by Shimp and Sharma in the 1980’s. The CETSCALE was originally designed to measure the ethno- centric tendencies of consumers towards purchasing foreign products as opposed to buying products manufactured in the United States (Shimp and Sharma, 1987:281).

28Recent research suggests that the CETSCALE may have great potential for international consumer research. Shimp and Sharma (1987:288), however, suggested that the CETSCALE be translated into other languages and tested in other countries. Although The CETSCALE has previously been validated with samples of American, French, Spanish and Japanese consumers, to date, no formal research could be found indicating whether the CETSCALE has been used as a reliable and valid measure of ethnocentric tendencies of South African consumers.

29The objective for future research is therefore to measure the level of consumer ethnocentrism in a developing country (South Africa) by means of the CETSCALE or an adapted version and compare it with known levels in other countries. Due to the cultural diversity of the South African population, the aim will also be to investigate whether different cultural groups in South Africa display different levels of ethnocentrism towards the country and locally produced products. The results of this investigation can be extremely useful for the development of marketing strategies, especially communication strategies, for products produced in South Africa, as well as for products produced and exported to South Africa.

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About the Proudly South African campaign. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10/07/2007].

Appearing soon on SA’s finest. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25/06/2007].

Benefits to members include: [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22/06/2007].

Nedbank is Proudly South African … still. [Online]. Available: ned.gif. [Accessed: 25/06/2007].

Promotional items. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10/07/2007].

Proudly South African – Campaign May 2002. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 19/06/2007].

South Africa’s population. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 21/06/2007].

Still feeling «GUD» to be Proudly South African. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25/06/2007].

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Título Figure 1
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Título Pictures 2 and 3 – Product tags used for arts and crafts
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Título Picture 4
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Título Picture 5 – Generic Poster that can be used in advertising and promotional campaigns
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Título Picture 6
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Título Graph 1 – South African population by race
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Título Graph 2 – Official languages spoken in South Africa
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Referência do documento impresso

CD Pentz, «Incorporating the «proudly south african» campaign in communication programmes of South African firms»Comunicação Pública, vol.3 nº5 | 2007, 143-156.

Referência eletrónica

CD Pentz, «Incorporating the «proudly south african» campaign in communication programmes of South African firms»Comunicação Pública [Online], vol.3 nº5 | 2007, posto online no dia 15 outubro 2020, consultado o 01 março 2021. URL:; DOI:

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CD Pentz

Stellenbosch University (South Africa)

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