Mthatha mall’s bullish birthday campaign

JUNE 23, 2016

BT Ngebs City gives away two prize bulls as part of first birthday celebrations

Mthatha’s largest shopping centre, BT Ngebs City, is honouring its cultural heritage by giving away two prize bulls as part of its first birthday celebrations on Saturday.

The novel prize incentives, which are a first for the regional mall, were selected to cater to the 99% Xhosa-speaking rural communities it serves within BT Ngebs City’s footprint in the former Transkei.

In doing so, the birthday campaign speaks to the mall’s understanding of its shoppers’ wants and needs, according to Billion Group marketing head, Deborah Bailey.

Billion Group opened the mall – of which Rebosis Property Fund Ltd. now owns majority shares – to much fanfare last year, introducing major leading brands to the region.

“Understanding the nuances of our target market is critical and a great brand builder,” said Bailey. “We do however also have to take into account that we do have an aspirational market and our campaigns will always consider promotions to suit the needs of our target markets.

“Unemployment in township communities is high, hence the decision to give away two valuable bulls as our main prize,” she said. Other prizes included airtime, groceries, fashion store gift cards and beauty treatments, “giving consideration to our aspirational market as well”, according to Bailey.

The Eastern Cape mall, which occupies 60 000m2 in the heart of Mthatha, hit the one-million visitor mark just four months after opening and currently draws about 500 000 shoppers per month.

According to general manager Lolo Sabisa, the mall opted to buck urban retail trends and create an authentic talking point and general excitement about the birthday festivities among shoppers.

“For our first birthday, we decided to do something different and give something that matters to our community. Bulls are an important part of our tradition and background. This has never been tried before and the shoppers are really excited about it,” he said.

Sabisa said the bulls would be transported directly from the farm where they were reared to the winners’ homesteads and would at no time be on public display at BT Ngebs City or elsewhere.

While the livestock prizes were a nod to the mall’s rural heritage, Sabisa said BT Ngebs City remained nevertheless firmly focused on bringing consumers the kind of high-end aspirational brands generally associated with developments in larger urban centres.

“Since opening, we have brought some of the top lifestyle brands like Bogart Man and Forever New to the region. We’ve also added value by being the first centre to offer extended trading hours as well as free Wi-Fi.”

Well-known brands MRP, MRP Home and Winston Sahd have recently joined the 100-strong tenant list, with stores like Glocell and Musica set to open their doors soon.

“A branch of the South African Post Office is also coming soon for our shoppers’ convenience. Shopfitting for that is already underway.”

In addition, he said, construction on a four-star hotel in the mall precinct was almost complete, with the establishment set to open to the public by year-end. An upmarket office park is also under development as part of a R60-million infrastructural investment in Mthatha by co-owners Billion Group and Rebosis Property Fund.

Other prizes up for grabs as BT Ngebs celebrates its first birthday include gift hampers comprising of grocery, airtime and beauty vouchers to the value of R3 000 each. To be eligible for the competition prizes, Sabisa said shoppers needed to spend R200 or more before June 25 and that the winners would be chosen in a live draw at 4pm on that Saturday in the Woolworths Court.

“Traditional dancers, an acapella music group and poetry sessions will add further local flavour to the celebrations, while shoppers can get a taste of the biggest birthday cake Mthatha has ever seen – a two-by-two-metre creation sponsored by Checkers.”

Image: BT NGEBS CITY: Mthatha’s biggest shopping mall, BT Ngebs City, will celebrate its first birthday on June 25. The mall reached the one-million visitor mark after four months of trading and currently attracts almost half a million shoppers a month. (Images: The Studio in Mthatha)