The reinvention of Kabelo (pictured) continues. From his participation in the Comrades Marathon to his reality television show and now as a brand ambassador for a blue chip company, there seems to be no stopping Kabelo Mabalane.
This weekend, Shell launched a new product, with the announcement that the kwaito artist/TV host/fitness fanatic would be its brand ambassador. Outside cellphone companies and alcohol brands, this is the first time that a kwaito artist has represented a blue chip company.
“Shell approached me to be their brand ambassador for their new Shell V-Power Nitro Plus,” said Kabelo. “When I am approached for projects like this, I have to think very carefully, for obvious reasons.
“It has to be an authentic brand that I can identify with.
“Their catchphrase was ‘performance reinvented’. When I read that and I also saw that the campaign is about peak performance, I agreed to do it. I am at my peak performance and from my early days in kwaito with the drugs to where I am now, I am reinvention personified. I have been in the industry for nearly 20 years. You cannot survive unless you reinvent yourself. I believe that old ways don’t open new doors.”
On Saturday Shell brought the Ferrari F1 team to Nasrec to unveil the new product.
“It was kinda nerve racking. I was the MC and I also performed with a live band before the Ferraris raced around the track. The whole Ferrari team was Italian, with Marc Gene, who is the official Ferrari test driver worldwide. They are passionate about their brand and their association with Shell.”
So what is the petroleum company hoping to achieve with Kabelo? “They are hoping I will add leverage to the brand. I will be doing site visits and different activations which will be rolling out in the year.”
Mr Bouga Luv is also hoping that this appointment could be a catalyst to open doors for more brand association between blue chip companies and musicians. “We need to get to the stage where blue chip companies are encouraged to partner with entertainers.”
Considering the track record of some failed partnerships, particularly Nike’s associations with Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius, one could forgive these multinationals for treading lightly. But Kabelo is a sure bet. A consummate professional with street cred as a bona fide, trailblazing musician, he has a charming sophistication that lets him move easily among high society. This is largely because, while he grew up in the township, he attended a top private school.
That he belonged to the most successful kwaito group in history makes him a legend – and his award-winning solo career just added to that. Then there is the fact that he is about to run his eighth Comrades Marathon and with a third season of Kabelo’s Bootcamp on the cards, it shows his commitment to a healthy, disciplined lifestyle.
Let’s not forget he hosted two Samas, and a sports show on SABC2, as well as judging e.tv’s SA’s Got Talent. His much-publicised participation at the Rhema Church shows his spirituality. Then, of course, there is his high profile participation in the Shout campaign with his close friend, Danny K.
“Shout is building three school libraries,” he said. “We realised that one of the reasons there is crime is because of lack of education. We are opening a library in a school in Cape Town in March, with another planned in Soweto, and then in Polokwane.
“We are also embarking on a book drive on various radio stations,” he adds.