In the past 10 months, the Johannesburg Roads Agency has received some 42,500 complaints of potholes across the city. With government in South Africa neglecting basic services such as road repair, people are agitated and anxious—in a difficult economic climate, the last thing motorists want is the expense of repairing or buying new tires and rims.
Brands have stepped in, taking advantage of the opportunities for CSR initiatives. Kentucky Fried Chicken has donated R200,000 (about $27,000) to help fill some of the potholes in and around Johannesburg. It seems like an awfully small amount, although KFC is positioning the move as part of a “challenge to other companies to help in any way they can.”
Meanwhile the Empowerment Gateway Group, a consulting practice, started an Adopt-a-Pothole project; it is now handing off custodianship and considering bids from businesses looking for a CSR cause. The program is positioned as one that helps alleviate unemployment along with improving roads.
One of the more successful such initiatives is from OUTsurance, an insurance company that has teamed with police to place branded pointsmen (traffic control people) at busy intersections to help alleviate congestion. It’s a good example of how brands can strengthen their image by helping to alleviate anxiety.