Monday Musings 13 September: Business in the front, party at the back

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What is short in front and long at the back? Did you guess the mullet? 

Yes, really. We’re talking mullets in today’s Monday Musings. And why not? With so little to smile about for so long now (18 months plus), perhaps it’s time to have a little fun. And after our family meeting last night, we’re all feeling rather buoyant.  
 
In the tiny commune of Chéniers in central France last week, an altogether different type of attraction was being crowned: Europe’s Mullet King, Nicolas Vanderkelen, a Belgian truck driver, was crowned the 2021 Mullet Cup champion in the second championship of its kind. Organisers said the event started as a joke.  

 ”It’s a way of life, of being able to laugh at yourself,” one of the 500 festival attendants told AFP. 
 
The hairstyle, short in front and long behind, became popular in the 1980s and today the gender-neutral style symbolises non-conformism, freedom, and above all, not taking yourself too seriously.  
 
Laughing at ourselves is something South Africans do very well, if we do say so ourselves.  

Our family meeting last night was certainly cause for smiles. In short, we are making progress, although there is much work still to be done.  

The new Alert Level 2 regulations include: 

  • Curfew from 23h00 – 04h00. 
  • Non-essential establishments – restaurants, bars and fitness centres – to close by 22h00.  
  • All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.   
  • Alcohol sales for off-site consumption are allowed between 10h00 and 18h00 from Monday to Friday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted until 22h00. 
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It’s all systems go for our highly-anticipated, digital vaccine certificate as well. Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced on Friday that we can expect South Africa’s vaccine certificates “within weeks.” It’s a move welcomed across the board by the travel and tourism industry. The WHO has issued guidelines to standardise such documents, which South Africa will comply with. Here’s what they may look like.  
 
To date, 14.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccinations have been given, with over seven million South Africans vaccinated. 

Still on home soil, we’re celebrating Tourism Month – a month dedicated to showcasing our incredibly diverse tourism offering to the world, and highlighting the sector’s contribution to the economy.  
 
In good news, more and more countries are opening up to South Africans with Seychelles the latest to remove us from their list of restricted countries – and Mauritius opening soon. From today, South Africans are now allowed entry, without quarantine (or vaccination) into the Seychelles and from 01 October, Air Mauritius will commence direct flights to our favourite island nation.  

But travel to Denmark and you’d be forgiven for feeling you stepped into a time capsule. The country became the first in the EU to lift all coronavirus restrictions on Friday, completely going back to pre-pandemic life. Yip, that’s no masks and no social distancing. The move is due to an almost ¾ of the adult population being fully vaccinated, coupled with low hospitalisation rates. However, experts have pointed out that trust is a key factor. It’s an interesting observation and one that is not new in Denmark. It’s called samfundssind, or social mindedness, a sense of collective responsibility and accountability. This explains why the country is routinely named as one of the safest in the world, where it’s commonplace for babies and toddlers to nap outdoors in their prams, while parents are busy inside.  
 
We may not quite be where Denmark is in terms of COVID restrictions, but we’re making progress. Just like the world’s quirkiest hairstyle, let’s enjoy our collective freedom (responsibly) and laugh at ourselves every now and again.  

​PS: Please note the image credit here for the fabulous header image “Mullets of the Animal Kingdom.”


Mindful Musings 

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Marketing Musings

It seems like advertisers in the booming 50s could teach us a thing or two about human behaviour.  
 
Howard Luck Gossage was an advertising legend. Called the “Socrates of San Francisco,” Gossage offered a new take on advertising, focused on putting the customer’s needs first and emphasising “quality” over “quantity. It’s a hymn sheet we should all be singing off – no matter the decade.  
 
Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them.  
 
Gossage elaborated saying, “… when you say something interesting you can’t say it all that often, and this means that you will just have to spend less money on your advertising, hard though it may be. It’s a tough thing to decide to stop spending money when you’ve been flinging it around like a drunken account executive all these years.” 
 
It sure is tough. Perhaps one silver lining on the pandemic cloud though is that budgets have got tighter. Forcing us to think smarter and more creatively. To take a step back and ask what interests my customer? What do they need? How can I help them?  

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Of course, your customer’s needs may have changed over the last year. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the basics and discover why understanding your customers is the only marketing strategy you need.  
 
And if you need a masterclass in empathy marketing, Adweek shared some tips to leave you misty-eyed (you’ll need to sign up for Adweek – but it’s free!).


What the world was musing over this past week  

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20-year timelapse of the World Trade Center 

The timelapse film is Earthcam’s longest-running timelapse project. It details the site’s rescue, recovery and rebuilding over the last two decades.


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Get swinging in the Overberg 

The Western Cape is gearing up to offer adrenaline junkies the world’s longest  zipline. The zipline, with the snappy name of K3, will be 3 kilometres long and zip eager guests through the stunning Overberg region, near Caledon. It’s expected to be operational by the 2021/2022 summer season.  


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Inspire your Mzansilust 

Here are 5 proudly South African Instagram accounts to give you travel FOMO this Tourism Month.  


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Meet Africa’s ice cream storyteller 

Tapiwa Guzha stumbled into ice cream making by chance, after watching an episode of MasterChef. With a PhD in molecular biology, Guzha knew a thing or two about experimenting in a lab. Cape Town locals and visitors can taste the diversity of Africa in scoops of Tapiwa’s creative ice cream flavours.


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Gratitude – the best marketing plan 

We all know authentic, empathetic marketing plans are good practise but here’s why gratitude is the best marketing plan ever