The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has set a new smart, warm and helpful tone with the launch of its intensive integrated marketing campaign to introduce 'Filing Season', an initiative that marks the 60-day countdown to the 11 July tax return submission deadline.
The campaign comprises an impactful blend of advertising, public relations and promotional activities to educate the South African public with regard to filing and submitting complete and accurate tax returns.
"The campaign is targeted at all taxpayers with a strong through-the-line call to action component to broaden its reach and to ensure consistency and commonality between the marketing disciplines employed," says Kathy Berman, SARS Assistant General Manager of Communications and Marketing. "The campaign also highlights the promise of improved delivery from SARS."
She says the campaign began with brochures detailing how taxpayers can navigate their way through the maze of rules and procedures. "We then used the universal icons that are easily recognisable, such as question marks and equals signs, to form the template of our 'help' kiosks that are positioned across the country in community centres and shopping malls, and at regional SARS offices."
Developed by King James in Johannesburg, the advertising campaign aims to achieve three goals. Eoin Welsh, Creative Director at King James, cites these as a reminder to taxpayers that the deadline for the filing of personal returns is looming, inform them that SARS is doing all in its power to ensure this process runs smoothly, and telling them how, when and where help is available.
"To this end," says Welsh, "we kept the messaging in all the ads short, punchy, tactical and contextually appropriate. We wanted to keep the points simple and suited to outdoor and radio, as these media present fantastic opportunities for reach, especially for different language groups in their mother tongues."
He says what differentiates the campaign is its tone - smart, warm and helpful. "This year SARS is going to a greater effort than ever before to help taxpayers meet deadlines and fill in the forms correctly, for the simple reason that it benefits our nation as a whole."
He says the entire campaign communicates this enthusiasm, removing any perceptions of SARS as being an imposing, intimidating entity. He points out that SARS is, and should be perceived as an entity dedicated to the betterment of the nation, and one that is determined to live up to its new positioning, namely "At Your Service."
The PR and advertising form a co-ordinated, synergistic marketing mix to ensure a fused approach that will have maximum impact, says Kathy Berman, Assistant General Manager for the South African Revenue Services.
She says as the campaign is targeted at a very wide audience, it is being backed up with a strong wide reach publicity campaign being rolled out by Tin Can Communications. "While advertising can deliver the desired content, size, reach and frequency, PR helps communicate useful information and enables us to paint the 'big picture' around the 'Filing Season' campaign," she adds.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE