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 / Spring 2013 / Issue 70(originally published by Booz & Company)


The Thought Leader Interview: Cynthia Montgomery

Nando’s, a large South African fast-food chain renowned for their satirical advertising, then parodied the ad with one of their own, stealing the concept. Instead of ignoring it, or threatening to sue, Yegs got the same agency to create a response. “Under normal circumstances we’d be upset, but frankly we’re flattered,” said a Kingsley-like narrator in the new ad. Then he made a demand: Santam would “overlook the indiscretion” if Nando’s delivered a package of food—a list of dishes from the Nando’s menu—to the Johannesburg Children’s Home.

Santam’s challenge to Nando’s took South Africa by storm. The ad got more than 250,000 hits on YouTube, and Santam’s name is now everywhere, as an example of a company that is humane, progressive, contemporary, and accessible to a growing group of customers. The campaign reinvented the brand and, with that, the business.

That’s strategy. It’s not unlike what Steve Jobs did for Apple, or what Alfred Sloan did for General Motors when he first went up against Henry Ford. Nobody could beat Ford at his own game, but Sloan reinvented the auto company. A really good strategy doesn’t happen on the margin; it doesn’t simply perpetuate an industry game that is mature and may be decaying.

A really good strategy revitalizes the company, and to do that, you need to assemble a group of people who have the courage to confront business at its roots. You need people who can say, in effect, “Strategy is dead. But long live strategy.” 

Reprint No. 00163

Author Profiles:

  • Ken Favaro is a contributing editor to strategy+business and a senior partner with Booz & Company. Based in New York, he leads the firm’s work in enterprise strategy and finance.
  • Art Kleiner is editor-in-chief of strategy+business.


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