Mihlali Ndamase’s R1 Million Coca-Cola Campaign
This may be the influencer’s biggest campaign yet
In June 2021, popular youth radio station YFM released an episode of the Banques And Venom podcast on the station’s YouTube channel. This episode of the podcast featured none other than award-winning influencer Mihali Ndamase.
The title of the episode is ‘Mihlai Reveals How Much She Earns’ and it was not just clickbait because Ndamase actually revealed this information on the episode. Because the influencer industry and broadly digital content creation as a business is relatively new, every interviewer feels compelled to ask how much money digital content creators make.
A short 9 minutes into the 40 minute long episode, one of the hosts asks Ndamase what the biggest campaign (money-wise) she has done is. Without mentioning the name of the brand Ndamase says “There’s something I’m doing with a brand soon and they are giving me one bar”. To spell it out, one bar is R1 million.
In the interview Ndamase dances around the details of the campaign but reveals just enough for us to join the dots. She shares that she just signed with the brand, the campaign is for product placements, it’s a series of posts and the brief is to create content around the brand.
Ndamase obviously makes money on Instagram through sponsored content so almost every post on her feed is a sponsored post. Many of the sponsored posts on her feed are for big brands but many of them are just one or two posts which does not constitute a campaign so that significantly narrows down the possibility of which brand is the million-rand deal.
One of only two big campaigns that Ndamase has done since the release of the podcast episode has been with well known fast fashion brand FashionNova. In the same podcast interview, Ndamase mentioned that she sometimes gets paid in US Dollars and that FashionNova is one such brand that pays her in that currency. She also mentioned that the million-rand deal is in Rands not US Dollars. Additionally, the FashionNova campaign started before the podcast interview in which she indicated that the ‘big campaign’ had just been signed. That rules out FashionNova and leaves the Coca Cola campaign.
The first post for the Coca Cola campaign dropped on the 31st of December 2021, 6 months after the interview. This campaign checks all the boxes for why it is most likely that this is the million-rand campaign.
Firstly this is a product placement campaign. With other campaigns that Ndamase does it’s usually a feed picture post with just the product — which she is usually wearing or holding. The difference here is that she is making content around the Coca Cola brand and it is not just pictures. The content that has been released for the Coca Cola campaign so far has been has been Ndamase sharing a Christmas meal with coke products on the table, the next one was a dinner with her cousin wearing a coca cola apron and obviously the meal is shared over a glass of coca cola. This is what is meant by creating content ‘around a brand’. There are two more Reels on Ndamase’s Instagram page including a picture post for Coca Cola South Africa.
The bulk of the content that has been created and released for this campaign has been in the form of Reels which are short-form video content. The production value of these Reels is exceptional and clearly professionally done. Ndamase would not put this much time, effort, energy and resources behind this campaign if it was not generating her a lot of money.
Coca Cola is a massive brand that generates billions of Rands in the South African market, it is not surprising that a brand that big is willing to spend that much money on one influencer. The only other influencer that I have seen who seems to be doing the same campaign for the same brand is Reggie Mohlabi.
Although Mohlabi has a smaller following than Ndamase, he captures an audience that is very important to Coca Cola and that is teenagers. It’s hard to find a South African teenager who is an consumer of YouTube content who does not watch Mohlabi and that makes him the best person for Coca Cola to use to reach that market.
Given that there seems to only be two influencers on this campaign, it is another indicator that the big budget that I’m sure the brand has allocated to this campaign is only shared between two influencers and this increases the likelihood that the million-rand campaign Ndamase said she signed is this Coca- Cola campaign.