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4 lessons Nando’s can teach us about successful marketing

Nando’s highly profitable restaurant franchise has grown steadily since its inception in South Africa in 1987. Today, the chain has over 1,000 stores worldwide and trades in over 20 countries. For many, Nando’s epitomises smart marketing in South Africa. The brand’s hilarious advertising and social media presence have made many businesses envious of its marketing strategy. There are plenty of tips to skyrocket your marketing campaigns by looking at the advertising efforts made by Nando’s. Here are four lessons Nando’s can teach us about successful marketing.


1. Stay Trendy

Nando’s have become notorious for their satiric ads based on current affairs and trends. This relevance has led to some very successful campaigns. The ads may relate to the country’s climate, politics, or fiascos and are presented in a humorous manner. An example is a hilarious video that Nandos recently released that perfectly sums up the atmosphere right now in South Africa, where power outages have been happening more frequently. The fast food company makes fun of how SA homes have had to respond to Eskom’s loadshedding, including ordering in more, in its recent advertisement. The ad said, “Let’s face it, we’re going through the most. Like darkness through the winter nights, so are the days of our lives. Mara, there’s a Bright Side to everything. Nando’s will have you excited for load shedding just like Eishmael Komanate and his family.” Another example is the 2012 diversity ad, which highlighted the rampant xenophobia in South Africa. The question arose, “What if everyone went back to ‘their own’ country?” and ended by saying that South Africans love diversity.

People like ads they can relate to, so using current events as the basis for your ads can be a great way to connect with everyone. South Africans often find the humour in unfortunate situations, and Nando’s has used this to create some of its most memorable advertisements. Responding to what’s happening in this country is a great way to get the public’s attention and make your campaign memorable as long as it is done tastefully.

2. Be Funny

Nando’s is notorious for poking fun at other brands. An example of this is their campaign poking fun at Absa. They made fun of their slogan, ‘Africanacity,’ and changed it to ‘African nasti’. They also used a symbol similar to Absa’s symbol. Nando’s don’t just make fun of other businesses, they also make fun of everyday situations unique to South Africa.

Nando's don't just make fun of other businesses, they also make fun of everyday situations unique to South Africa.

Using humour increases the chances that your ad will be remembered. This is due to the humour effect. The humour effect is a psychological phenomenon that makes people remember information better when they find it funny. For instance, pupils are often more likely to recall a new subject when taught in a humorous fashion, such as through a humorous narrative, than when presented in a non-humorous way. The comedy impact can be quite advantageous, and humour, in general, offers a variety of advantages like heightened interest and energy. Comedy also humanises the campaign. That is, it evokes emotion in general, resulting in greater public reaction.

3. Have A Style

Nando’s has its trademark font or the black and red logo on its advertisements. TV ads by Nando’s also have a certain style and humour that is immediately recognisable. This is the goal of any business and depends on the success of your brand’s marketing strategy. Nando’s has never been more afraid to be ironic, quirky, and bold, and it’s part of their style. They have been bold enough to address political and other social issues while pushing the product forward.

Recognisable style is part of your branding, so make sure your style stands out.

4. Engage


The brand engages with its followers on social media, especially Twitter. Nando’s continues with their humour on social media, often replying directly to people’s tweets.

This bold and often cynical commentary is not appropriate for most brands, but brands can learn from Nando’s level of commitment. By not engaging with your audience on social platforms, you miss out on an opportunity to grow your customer base and build a loyal following. Social media is a great platform to grow your audience and customer base. It’s also a way to build a more personal relationship with your followers.

Bottom Line

Nando’s is a master of advertising, and brands can learn something from them. But remember, not all their techniques would work for all brands, it all depends on the tone and positioning you have decided on.