Big brands rush to sign Siya Kolisi

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Johannesburg – The 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph keeps paying dividends for Springboks captain Siya Kolisi.

The latest corporate goliath to grab a slice of Kolisi’s magic is banking FNB, which joins the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Total in associating its brand with the first black man to lead South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory.

Kolisi is the first rugby player to sign up with American music mogul Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and that partnership has quickly borne dividends with the talent agency negotiating the deal to make the Springbok skipper FNB’s brand ambassador.

“This partnership is a continuation of a journey which began many years ago with this brand. Coming together and unifying a nation is of utmost importance at this time and a little bit of help can go a long way in helping others. I’m excited to be part of a brand that believes in #Realhelp and hope,” Kolisi said.

The financial institution described Kolisi as a global icon and national hero.

FNB chief marketing officer Faye Mfikwe said, “He is a true embodiment of nation building, unity and demonstrates the true value of help, trust, leadership and togetherness. We are proud to have him onboard as our ambassador and look forward to working with him in driving our commitment to make a positive contribution to society through the principles of shared value.

“We are tremendously inspired by Siya’s work and are very excited to be partnering with him to advance our collective social impact,” Mfikwe added.

In August, Kolisi was snapped up by Mercedes-Benz SA and Total in similar partnerships; while in May, OmniProtect had signed him up.

He has been a brand ambassador for Land Rover SA, Panasonic, MOT and Audi in the past; in addition to being involved in advertising and related campaigns for Citadel SA, Adidas, Red Bull and the Spotlight Initiative.

Kolisi - born in 1991 - plays club rugby for the Stormers in Super Rugby and Western Province in the Currie Cup, where he regularly turns out as a flanker.

In 2018, Kolisi was appointed captain of the Springboks, becoming the first black man to hold the position, a year before leading South Africa to victory in the Rugby World Cup final against England.

Soon after lifting the cup, Kolisi was named in New African magazine's list of 100 Most Influential Africans.

 

Controversy

Kolisi’s appointment as FNB brand ambassador will no doubt accrue significant personal and financial rewards for the flanker.

But for FNB it has been described as a case of the bank trying to play down allegations of institutional racism.

FNB has been causing waves for allegedly charging more interest to black clients and generally being discriminatory against black account holders, leading to the eruption of a viral social media campaign dubbed #FNBMustFall.

The bank has been labelled by some an "Apartheid institution that aims to keep blacks enslaved through debt".

The bank was also accused of considering black people "high risk" when processing loans, car installment and bonds.

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