Despite the social media reports of celebrities failing to post on their recent trip to Nelson Mandela Bay- the municipality says the campaign exceeded expectations. Picture: Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Celebrities like Cassper Nyovest and Khanyi Mbau were slammed on social media this weekend for allegedly not posting the #sharethebay hashtag on their social media feeds. 

However, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality who hosted the celebrities were quick to refute the allegations. 

The organisation hosted personalities including Linda Moeketsi, Allana Foster, Katlego Selekane, Babalwa Mneno, Sincerely Ward, Chanita Foster, Tumi Mohale, Khanyi Mbau, Tebogo Lerole, Cassper Nyovest, and Carpo for their Tourism Month initiatives. 

The itinerary included an art experience, rum tasting, an ocean safari, helicopter trip over Cape Recife and safaris at Addo Elephant National Park and Riverbend Lodge. 

Anipho Nhlaka Maphumulo shared on his Facebook page: “Social Media Marketing Fail 101. Apparently Nelson Mandela Bay metro hired “Influencers” to market their city as a tourist destination. The campaign had an official hashtag so that it can create a traceable trend on social media platforms, but the majority of the influences hired didn’t use the hashtag and just posted pics as if they are on their private holiday visit 🤣🤣🤣🤣" (sic).

Maphumulo claimed that the campaign took a "dramatic turn" when the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay realised that the municipality used celebrities from out of the city to market the tourism offerings. 

Public relations officer No5 By Mantis, Mandisa Magwaxaza, told the Weekend Post that only a few celebrities posted about the trip. 

She told the publication that when she “raised my concerns with the group, I was told: ‘Do you know how much it costs for Cassper to even tag you on a post? R50 000.’”

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This morning when I woke up at @riverbendlodge1 situated about 55km’s outside of @nelsonmandelabay, my intention was to pack my bags, grab breakfast and checkout. I casually got ready and went to breakfast. As I was about to dig into my muesli, fruit and yoghurt, The General Manager, Debbie (an incredible woman by the way), came running to me saying that they’ve spotted Lions not so far from us and she would love me to see them up close. I quickly ran behind Debbie to go find the Lions. On our trail, we bumped into this Majestic creature. A 48 year old WILD Elephant named Big John. Debbie and Charles (The game ranger) meticulously planned the trail they through Big John was to follow to ensure we get the experience of having him walk right next to us, and it worked. As Big John made his on the trail, we all sat still in the vehicle and recorded this extraordinary moment. Big John Walked towards us and right in front of our truck, he stopped and stuck his trunk out for a sniff. He took a further 3 steps and stopped right next to me. His tusk was about 30cm from my face. That was the most exhilarating experience of my life, especially knowing that this is an UNTAMED, completely wild animal that lives with other wild animals. His trunk came up all the way to the side of my face as he took another sniff and he flapped his ears. That was a magical moment for me. I felt acknowledged and accepted by an animal I was unable to communicate with and that had literally met me for the first time. I don’t think there is a better birthday gift than this experience. Thank you to Debbie and her amazing team of staff at @riverbendlodge1! It is a 5 star game reserve with 5 star treatment. They’re food is world class and made us feel at home. I look forward to coming back soon. #LMBday #Sharethebay

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Despite the allegations, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said that the hosting expectations were met. 

Doné Louw of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said a report revealed that the 92 content items created by the celebrities totalled over R46 Million in campaign value. 

Louw said they wanted to use celebrities as part of their campaign to attract a different travel market. 

He said the celebrities had to post their experiences on their social media platforms and that there were no specific stipulations. 

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Exploring the bay. Welcome to the friendly city.

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“The value is worked out as per accepted methodologies used by media monitoring companies. It is based on the number of post engagements and the number of people it reached. It excludes the value of the 311 Instagram stories. 

“The amount of R40 535.14 spent on getting them here by the city was worth it. As the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, we sincerely thank the celebrities who had taken part in the campaign. We hope that any negative reporting which is not informed by a formal NMBM campaign report will not discourage them from considering the plans we had with them to keep the Nelson Mandela Bay Flag flying.”