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Svanna now offers a canned option for the beverage. Picture: SUPPLIED
Svanna now offers a canned option for the beverage. Picture: SUPPLIED

Savanna Cider, a brand known to have a strong connection with its audience through the use of humour, has tackled head-on the recent outcry from consumers struggling to find it on shelves.

As Savanna faced some trials near the end of 2021 in supply and demand due to numerous global challenges by suppliers, including a glass shortage, compounded by shipping delays and its own rapid growth, consumers were having difficulty finding the product in some parts of the country.

Apart from working hard to find practical solutions to get the product into stores, the brand knew that it had to offer a sincere apology to its consumers. But words weren't enough. So they took action.

This campaign is an excellent example of what can happen when a brand team and agency team work together as partners

The #SavannaTrial was conceived to find mutual ground between Savanna and “The People” and to introduce a can to market. In the advert's proceedings, Savanna is brutally honest and notes it would rather be “CANned” than “CANcelled” altogether. Exhibit A — a sophisticated 300ml limited edition can of Savanna Dry — settles the tension in court.

The People vs Savanna trial demonstrates Savanna's ability to laugh at themselves to establish connection and engagement between themselves and their audience, similar to the tactic frequently used to good effect by top comedians.

This campaign is an excellent example of what can happen when a brand team and agency team work together as partners. From the first rumble in social media hinting at consumers battling to find their favourite Savanna, the team worked together on short-term and longer-term approaches to own the situation and make up for it.

Instead of letting speculation run its course, Savanna was the one communicating the truth to the media and their audience. 

As Steph van Niekerk, creative director at Grey/WPP Liquid, explains: “Brands tend to lay low when controversy hits. Savanna, in this instance, did not avoid the confrontation, rather leaning into it. We owe it to our community. There is an authentic bond between the brand and the people, and it's a relationship based on listening, hearing and then, very importantly, finding solutions and taking action. We've learnt in the past that honesty is the best policy, and that means owning our sh*t and having a good laugh about it with our people.”

While it is still early days since the introduction of the cans and the trial, the response from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive. Social media users are noting the brand’s ability to not only listen to them but to offer a solution. 

Carla van Pletzen, business unit director Grey PR/WPP Liquid, explains: “We were facing a potential crisis which could gain momentum very quickly. Tackling an issue head-on and taking the lead to put out a truthful narrative does not come without any risk. Still, transparency and an honest apology (and a solution now) went a long way for Savanna in this instance.

“With full access to the brand team in the media answering all questions, consumers also got to see compassion and accountability from the brand they love so much.”

For more information, follow Savanna’s social media channels or go to www.savannacider.com.

This article was paid for by Grey Advertising. 

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