Durban - They are colourful, quirky, in your face and occasionally stylish: these are the pimped vehicles used by political parties to create brand awareness.

One party calls its pimped ride a mobile public address unit, while other parties have simply adorned vehicles in party colours and the faces of their candidates.

The ANC has spared no costs, says KZN spokesman Bongani Tembe. “For us, money was not an issue, what matters is the campaign,” he said.

He refused to divulge how much the party had spent on branding vehicles.

“We branded 40 vehicles in KZN. We have 11 regions in the province and we asked every region to send us a vehicle to brand. But the majority of the vehicles are branded by the comrades,” said Tembe.

He said party members were all issued with art works and were given companies where they could have their vehicles branded.

MOBILE BILLBOARDS

Tembe said some vehicles used wrappers, while others used stickers to brand their vehicles. “There is nothing unique about the branding, we do this every election. This is one of the ways we campaign. The cars are great because they are mobile billboards,” said Tembe.

The DA’s provincial chairman, Haniff Hoosen, said the party owned one mobile public address unit that it used to campaign in the province.

“There are several other vehicles that our members have branded themselves.”

He said it cost R10 000 to brand a vehicle. “It is completely wrapped with our leader’s face and party colours. It is good-quality vinyl that won’t damage the vehicle when it is taken off. The branding is all part of the excitement factor of the elections and it also created a carnival atmosphere.”

Helen Zille is not shy about using unusual forms of conveyance, which have included a vintage car and, more recently, a donkey cart. She used this to travel to address traditional leaders of the Barolong ba ga Modibowa tribe in Bodibe, near Mahikeng in North West last month.

NFP’s Youth Movement president Sbusiso Mncwabe said the NFP did not own vehicles. “The branded vehicles belong to the members and the supporters, so it would be difficult to quantify.”

He said he had seen vehicles branded with NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi’s face, the party’s emblem and the words “Vote NFP” written on them. He said after the elections members would remove the wrapping, or peel stickers off. “This type of branding is effective because the branding boosts the campaign. If we don’t have flags during the motorcades the branded cars do all the work.”

The IFP’s Campaign Committee head, Narend Singh, said the IFP owned eight branded vehicles. “They will still have our branding on them even after the elections. The supporters chose to brand their vehicles, but with magnetic stickers. It’s cost the party R120 000 to brand the vehicles.”

Brand consultant Vista Kalipa of OnPoint Media said using vehicles as campaigning mediums was a good marketing strategy. “Visible branding means people will constantly be reminded of what you stand for, your values and your policies.”

He added that the “constantly moving campaign is not just a reminder to vote, but it is a conversation starter.

Sunday Tribune