public relations intelligence

SEMSEYE – A solution for brands and retailers

SEMSEYE provides an integrated hardware, software and analytics solution to accurately count people.

In January 2016, Black Snow Connect became the principal reseller of SEMSEYE Solution for South Africa.

At an international event (Challenge up), SEMSEYE took centre stage alongside global brand partners Cisco, Google, Intel and Deutsche Telekom. SEMSEYE, dubbed “Google Analytics” for retailers and shopping malls ran a pilot with Intel in the Dublin Croke Park Sports stadium as well as in Dublin’s museums and libraries, where SEMSEYE was used to monitor visitor flows. Concurrently, Deutsche Telekom installed SEMSEYE in five flagship stores in Romania and two in Poland.

Similarly to the Internet of Things (IOT), which refers to connectivity of smart devices/cameras/beacons etc. that gives them the ability to sense and report back, the SEMSEYE system uses smart sensors and cameras which are connected via the internet to an analytics driven IOT cloud platform. The information provided is virtual real time footfall data integrated with external contextual information such as weather, point of sale (POS), media and loyalty programmes.


These days, retailers are looking for new and different ways to get shoppers back into their stores to increase the profit margins from brick and mortar shopping and prevent “showrooming” – where consumers use shops to check out products only to purchase them later online. By providing retailers with live tracking and reporting that until now only online stores could tap into, SEMSEYE can assist retailers to achieve these goals.

The product is has also demonstrated similar application for improved crowd management and shopper journeys in  shopping malls, airports and exhibitions.

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Benefits of our solution:

  • We improve sales conversion levels
  • Measure sales and marketing effectiveness and clients’ loyalties
  • Reveal retail marketing’s most effective times and spaces
  • Optimise retail working hours and staff scheduling

“Game changing” as we at Black Snow Connect call it… Contact us today for a free demo and presentation.

South Africans demand good service no matter the cost

Some things change and some things don’t. Last year taught us the Rand won’t be holding sway against the other major currencies any time soon, and Zuma won’t really be inspiring any form of confidence locally or abroad. However one thing has remained the same, South Africans want good service no matter the cost.

Let’s use the Showmax vs. Netflix debate. We all know Netflix was launched here in SA last year, along with 130 other countries worldwide, and that, even though the cost of the service is in USD, Netflix reported one of the highest numbers of subscribers to the service in SA. If you would like to find out more read this interesting article on ITWeb.

Surprisingly enough it is the most expensive of the video on demand (VOD) service currently available in the country but this just goes to show that the South African market demands quality services from vendors, no matter the cost implication. Don’t believe me? MyBroadband explains why: Netflix versus ShowMax.

However, never to be disheartened, ShowMax has welcomed the new player to the market, hoping that it will encourage internet-connected-South-Africans to pursue more VOD services, perhaps even trialling both Netflix and Showmax and, in the same way that cell phones weren’t for everyone at first but steadily increased in popularity over time, the market will eventually explode. See more on this theory here: Netflix is good for South Africa: ShowMax

So, while we might be tightening belts and strings and all sorts of things, we will skip the outing at the movies or that expensive dinner if it means that as South Africans’ we can enjoy that most elusive of pleasures, quality service with a touch of instant gratification.



Extramarks Exhibits

Extramarks Exhibits At The Digital Education Show Africa 2015

Extramarks Education, a 360° digital learning solutions provider catering for comprehensive digital learning content for grades R to 12, exhibited its offerings at the “Digital Education Show Africa 2015”. The event was held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 6-7 October.

The conference provided a showcase platform for prestigious digital learning innovators from across the world. Attendees were introduced to high-end technological solutions for the education sector.

Mr. Karunn Kandoi, President at the International Business & Strategic Initiatives at Extramarks Education, focused on personalised learning. Mr. Tanay Kumar, South Africa Business Head, then demonstrated anytime-anywhere learning through Extramarks’ solutions.

“Personalisation of learning” jargon was demystified by showcasing Extramarks’ content and its pedigree. While the uniqueness of students owing to different intrinsic tendencies and personalities is the biggest impediment to traditional learning, the same is encountered in most of the modern digital learning solutions. The majority of digital education providers resort to different product designs for personality variations which can lead to inflated prices. Extramarks Education reaches out to different learners with the same offerings but packaged differently. The concepts are presented carefully in a number of ways, designed to ensure meeting of varied learner needs.

The speakers placed emphasis on scalability in quality education as a unique selling point (USP). With high technological expertise, academic experience and a deep understanding of psycho-social aspects of learning, the company is successfully able to facilitate world class education offerings at a comparatively lower price.

The after-school assessment model, including Smart Study Pack, Smart Study Tab and Smart Study App, is a guide for learners studying at their pace. Students herein plan their own schedules and study independently. This model can also be supplemented by mentor intervention.

Mentioning the after-school model, the delegates emphasised the need to break the constraints of physical proximity in learning. A big proponent of Asynchronous Learning, Extramarks Smart Study Packs and App are bound by the minimal requirement of access to the Internet. Smart Study Tabs have embedded content and offer 100% anytime-anywhere learning.

The delegates presented various features like adaptive software enabling a student to learn at convenient times. Another feature of its content is quality hardware to ensure uninterrupted learner attention. Also, Extramarks usage of text, audio-video, animations etc. compensates for the physical absence of an instructor. Fragmented into very small bits, the lessons can match themselves with different learner attention spans.

Barbie-in-Rock -n-Royals

Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals Launch

Barbie rocks SA! Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals DVD launches with a Show Us Your Shine competition, great merchandise and awesome prizes!

South Africa, 3 September: This one really is for the girls! From her powerful talents to her super glam style, nobody rocks like Barbie®. If you love Barbie, have a daughter that is Barbie mad or know of a Barbie fan, then raise your voice and enter the Barbie Show Us Your Shine competition by submitting a video of your best performance of “What if I shine”, a song from the new Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals DVD. There are prizes to the value of R15 000 up for grabs and a chance to attend the exclusive DVD launch event with PJ Powers on Saturday, 12 September at Montecasino, Johannesburg.

The DVD will officially be released on 11 September and will be available at all leading retailers. You can also beat the crowds and pre-order your copy on the competition website:

In the new Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals movie, Barbie’ plays Princess Courtney. A mix-up sends her to Camp Pop and Erika, a famous rock star, to Camp Royalty. With a lot of determination and support from their friends, Princess Courtney and Erika achieve amazing things. Barbie honors heroes like Princess Courtney and Erika who help break boundaries and prove girls can be anything they want to be. The message, “Everyone can unlock their dreams if they just try.”

So hurry, find your superpower within and get mom or dad to record your performance – you can sing, dance or play air guitar – just Show Us Your Shine! Competition entries are officially open and will close on 6 September.

#BarbieRocksSA! Enter and win amazing prizes and giveaways!

To enter the competition, go to and watch the music video of the Barbie song “What If I Shine”. You can download the song and lyrics to practice then ask mom or dad to make a video of your performance. Fill out the entry form on the website and upload your video.

For the Show Us Your Shine competition winners, there are fabulous prizes up to the value of R15 000. These include: a studio recording experience with friends, Edgars fashion vouchers, the new Barbie Rock ‘n Royals Princess Courtney and Erika dolls and playset, a Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals guitar and much more.

There are other great prizes up for grabs on the website too like tickets to the exclusive DVD launch event which is by invitation only. The website also has information about the awesome new singing Courtney and Erika Barbie dolls which both have 2-in-1 Rock to Royal transformation accessories and the new Rock ‘n Royals clothing, guitar, soundtrack, colouring books and duvet sets.

Twelve finalists will be chosen. Their videos will be uploaded to the website where the public can vote for their favourites until Tuesday, 8 September. All 12 finalists will be invited to attend the launch event of the Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals DVD at Montecasino and meet local singing sensation PJ Powers! The winner will be announced at the event where there will also be photo opportunities with Barbie, a sing-along and a screening of the new DVD at Il Grande cinema. All kids attending will receive a Barbie goodie bag filled with lovely Barbie products. Spot prizes can also be won throughout the event.

Want to know more about the movie? Get ready to rock!

It’s an upbeat musical, with Barbie™ starring as Princess Courtney, a modern princess whose world is turned upside down when she switches places with Erika, a famous rock star. Two very different worlds collide when a mix-up sends Princess Courtney to Camp Pop and Erika, to Camp Royalty. While the leaders of the rival camps try to correct the mix-up, both Courtney and Erika learn to adjust to the different worlds and have fun while making new, unexpected friends. When the girls learn both camps are at risk of shutting down, they must embrace their differences, find their true voices, and come together for an epic sing-off that shows anything is possible when you dare to dream big!

About Mattel Inc.

The Mattel family of companies (Nasdaq: MAT) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Mattel’s portfolio of best-selling brands includes Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever produced, Hot Wheels®, Monster High®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends® and Fisher-Price® brands, including Little People® and Power Wheels®, MEGA® Brands, including MEGA BLOKS® and RoseArt®, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2013, Mattel was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Magazine and in 2014 ranked No. 5 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel’s companies employ nearly 30,000 people in 40 countries and territories and sell products in more than 150 nations. At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play. Visit us at, or


# # #

©2015 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

public relations intelligence

The Rare Meat Company Pick ‘n Pay grass-fed meat and wine event

The Rare Meat Company

Pick ‘n Pay grass-fed meat and wine event – 25 June 2015

What a ‘rare’ pair!

Friday, 26 June 2015: Guests were treated to an evening of fabulous food and wine at the Pick ‘n Pay Good Food Studio on William Nicol Drive on Thursday 25 June. Not just another standard food and wine pairing, the event centred around grass-fed meat from the Rare Meat Company with an educational focus on its health benefits.

“As much as we are a nation of meat eaters, few of us actually question the quality of our cuts. Free-range and grass-fed meat comes from cattle that feed only on grass and are farmed in a much more ethical, sustainable manner than grain-fed cattle,” says Derek Bresgi of The Rare Meat Company, an exclusive supplier of high quality, humanely produced, free-range and grass-fed meat products.

“The benefits of eating grass-fed beef are numerous. The meat contains more Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), both of which can protect against various heart diseases. It also has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than grain-fed beef and is free from any antibiotics and hormones,” says Bresgi.

Perfect for a chilly Winters evening, the menu for the evening comprised mouth-watering dishes including French lamb trim chop with potato and marrow bone croquette with a cream caper sauce and beef burger on a brioche bun with a red wine glaze and smoked maple bacon. These meals were perfectly paired with a selection of white and red wines from the Bottega Family Idiom Wine Collection. At the end of the evening, guests walked away with complimentary packs of grass-fed, free-range biltong, feeling well satiated after unforgettable food and wine combinations.

For further information, contact the Rare Meat Company on:
RARE Quality Meats
Shop 75, Doringkloof Mall
Botha Avenue, Centurion.
Tel: 012 667 5522

RARE Meat Company
23 Spanner Road, Clayville
Tel: 011 316 6330

Hot Wheels Celebrates Dads

With research findings showing the significant shift in the role of men in parenting, this Father’s Day, Hot Wheels celebrates the important part dads play in their children’s lives. The new campaign reminds dads of their own childhoods and celebrates their connection with their children through quality time.

As the definition of family changes amongst millennial parents, dads are now playing a more important role than ever in the upbringing of their children.

The new study reveals:
• Aspirational role. Dads want to make a positive impact on their children’s lives more than ever before.
• Value of quality ‘dad’ time. Dads are spending more and more time with their children.
• Balancing responsibilities. Dads believe the responsibilities are split evenly in the household (but mums still see this differently!)
• Childhood memories. Dads are more likely than mums to choose toys that remind them of their childhood or that can help build a connection with their child.

The campaign, dedicated to ‘Dads Who Never Need to Grow Up’, includes a video  that delves into children’s perceptions of dads and reveals that modern-day dads do know how to have fun, and have the ‘cool’ factor that makes them fun to play with.

Says Chantelle Fritz of Blue Horizon Licensing, the exclusive representative of all Mattel Consumer Products in South Africa: “The aim of our global Hot Wheels campaign is to remind dads of their own childhood and having fun while at the same time reinforcing their connection with their children and the value of playing together.”

“Playing feeds kids’ imaginations and playing with important role models such as their parents, helps kids learn those critical life skills they need to create relationships, negotiate tricky situations, innovate, take risks and succeed in life. The Hot Wheels cars, track sets, remote control cars and other products available in our market epitomise fun, exploration and innovation in play. And of course, when you do it with dad, it’s triple rad!” says Fritz.

Liane Lurie, a Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist also sees the roles of millennial parents shifting from the old archetypes, “The gap is closing – two incomes have become essential so there is more sharing of childcare and household responsibilities. Dad is doing homework with the kids, putting them to bed, and generally spending more time with them. The focus is on creating a happy, healthy family and unstructured play is a crucial part of childhood development.”

While it is often natural for the mother to take the lead role when it comes to playing with the kids, she notes that they need to be careful not to give dad an easy out. “Father-child interaction and play are very necessary. At play, children learn to socialise and problem-solve. They take turns, learn to see things in different ways and will model the different approaches that mom and dad take,” says Lurie.

“Play in a safe, nurturing environment is crucial as it helps children learn new skills. If they are supported and encouraged, the skills they master during play will be applied in larger settings to address everyday challenges.

“The Hot Wheels cars and track sets are ideal for this kind of play. Construction play helps kids solve problems, improve spatial perception and fine motor skills and of course, dad knows all the tricks to help in this area!”

2015 sees the launch of the Hot Wheels Track Builder System that offers the ultimate track experience. It allows kids to design, create and customise their very own track challenge, developing their own stories and adventures and expanding their worlds through Hot Wheels – if they can dream it, they can build it!

For Father’s Day, give dad something special – time out with the kids and Hot Wheels.

About Mattel Inc.
The Mattel family of companies (Nasdaq: MAT) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Mattel’s portfolio of best-selling brands includes Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever produced, Hot Wheels®, Monster High®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends® and Fisher-Price® brands, including Little People® and Power Wheels®, MEGA® Brands, including MEGA BLOKS® and RoseArt®, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2013, Mattel was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Magazine and in 2014 ranked No. 5 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel’s companies employ nearly 30,000 people in 40 countries and territories and sell products in more than 150 nations. At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play. Visit us at, or

©2015 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Digital PR

How to braai the perfect cut of ‘grass-fed’ meat this Father’s Day

This Father’s Day, despite the chilly weather, what better way to celebrate than by lighting up the ol’ braai, because let’s face it, nothing beats a traditional charcoal braai. Men get to revel in their ‘manliness’ while ladies get time out of the kitchen.

As a nation of meat eaters, South Africans take their braais seriously, but knowing how to cook the perfect cut of meat can be tricky, especially if it’s the grass-fed kind. Derek Bresgi of The Rare Meat Company, an exclusive supplier of high quality, humanely produced, free-range and grass-fed meat products, shares his top 5 tips on how to braai the perfect cut of ‘grass-fed’ meat.

Choose a quality product
Says Bresgi: “A great braai is nothing without a good quality cut of meat, the best quality being free-range, grass-fed meat.” Grass-fed meat comes from cattle that feed only on grass and are farmed in a much more ethical, sustainable manner than grain-fed cattle. “Not only is grass-fed meat tastier than grain-fed meat but it’s healthier too. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), both of which can protect against various heart diseases. It also has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than grain-fed beef and is free from any antibiotics and hormones.”

Know your cuts and cooking times
Once you’ve chosen to go the free-range, grass-fed route, it’s important to know how to cook your meat so you don’t end up wasting a good quality product. Chicken for example, needs a longer cooking time so should be placed on the braai first, while steak, wors and chops have shorter cooking times and can be cooked later. “Grass-fed meat is ideal for the braai as it cooks about 30 percent faster than grain-fed meat because the fat has a lower melting point,” says Bresgi. When cooking steak, the grill should be approximately 20cm above the coals which should still be hot. “You should not be able to hold your hand at grid level for longer than 5 seconds,” says Bresgi. “The recommended cooking times for steak are 6 minutes for rare, 8 minutes for medium and 10-12 minutes for well done.”

Preserve the flavour
One of the added advantages of eating grass-fed meat is the great quality and flavour. “It’s important to respect the integrity of the beef and not mask the flavour with unnecessary ingredients and marinades,” says Bresgi. “Because grass-fed meat is leaner, brush the meat with a little olive oil, this helps the searing process and prevents it from sticking to the grill and drying out. A simple squeeze of lemon over the meat can also do a lot for enhancing the flavour and tenderness. Salt draws out the juices and prevents browning. It can also make meat dry and tough so you should salt just before braaing or preferably after cooking,” says Bresgi.

Handle with care
If you’ve gone to the trouble of choosing a superior grass-fed product, knowing how to handle it is important. “Don’t defrost frozen meat in the microwave or in the sun, leave it in the fridge to thaw and don’t cook it cold, meat should be left at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before braaing,” says Bresgi. “Most importantly, don’t turn meat on the braai with a fork as this will allow the natural juices to escape and will result in a tougher product, rather use a good set of braai tongs. Turn the meat only once, 60% of the cooking time on one side and then turn and cook for the remaining 40% of the time on the other side. Lastly, allowing the meat to sit for 10 minutes on a warm plate will allow the juices to redistribute resulting in a succulent, flavoursome end product.”

Perfect pairing
There is a lot to be said about food and wine pairings of all kinds. As much as you don’t want to mask the flavour of the meat when preparing and cooking it, the same goes for what you eat and drink with the final product. “A nicely cooked piece of grass-fed meat pairs beautifully with lighter style craft beers and juicy red wines that aren’t too pungent and complement, rather than compete with, the flavour of the meat,” says Bresgi.

If you’ve gone to the effort to source and buy a good quality grass-fed meat product, then it’s worth the little bit of extra time and attention in preparing and cooking it as the end-result will be that much more satisfying.

About The Rare Meat Company
Established in 2006, The Rare Meat Company (Pty) Ltd is a supplier of top quality, flavoursome, grass-fed, free-range and grain-fed meat products that have been sourced from local, ethical producers which have been approved according to protocols registered with the South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC). With experienced personnel, product know-how, high quality standards and modern equipment, The Rare Meat Company ensures a fully integrated animal production system where every aspect of meat production, from procurement, animal health, feeding, processing and distribution is monitored.

Headed by Derek Bresgi, the company is breaking new ground in the meat sector with the introduction of its Grasslands Protocol which defines a set of principles and fundamentals that address how the animals are raised, guaranteeing their well-being and humane treatment, as well as the quality and healthiness of the meat produced.

To purchase products visit The Rare Meat Company retail store at: RARE Quality Meats, Shop 75, Doringkloof Mall, Botha Avenue, Centurion. Tel: 012 667 5522 or email:

For further information, stockists or direct delivery, contact the Rare Meat Company directly on tel: 011 316 3660 or email:

The Dangers of DIY Social Media Marketing

Social media is fast becoming a mature marketing option for South African businesses. However, companies need to be wary of diving in head-first without professional assistance.

According to a 2014 report from market watchdog, World Wide Worx, South African social media use has skyrocketed.

Facebook jumped from 6.8 million local users a year ago to 9.4 million currently, while Twitter soared from 2.4 million users to 5.5 million over the same period. Other social sites and apps have also seen significant growth.

Clinton Muir, MD of Johannesburg-based digital marketing agency, Black Snow Digital, says that organisations should embrace social media to engage their market, build their brand, and promote their products and services.

“With social media,” reports Muir, “businesses of all sizes can enjoy tremendous online exposure and lead generation at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. They can also create personalised customer experiences unlike anything available offline. And because responses can be measured in real time, they can curb spend on unprofitable campaigns at a moment’s notice and fund the winners instead.”

However, Muir sees a disturbing trend in social media marketing that could hurt the adoption of the platform as a viable alternative to traditional efforts.

Many major brands are opting to use an internal marketing team for social media. Only 16% employ the services of professional third parties.

“While it’s critical that organisations take a hands-on approach, “ says Muir, “it’s a mistake not to leverage the experience that digital agencies have gained from working daily in social media marketing since their inception.”

The need for specialist expertise can be deduced from the report’s findings that social media management and efficacy reporting is fairly unsophisticated in business.

For example:

  • 83% of companies measure Twitter effectiveness by number of followers; only 48% conduct sentiment analysis
  • 87% measure Facebook effectiveness by number of fans and 79% by number of posts and comments; only 54% analyse sentiment
  • 91% agree that social media offers the potential for promoting their business
  • Only 19% said they were getting as the desired value from social media

“What we’re seeing,“ says Muir, “is that most companies don’t have the know-how to exploit social media effectively, nor create a positive ROI against their social media spend. The result is that many companies who have delved into social media marketing in the past have been burned and some even pulled their social media budgets prematurely.

“This is unnecessary, and with the assistance of an experienced digital agency, highly unlikely.”

Further, 87% of Facebook users and 85% of Twitter users access these tools with their phones or tablets. Therefore, social media marketing complexity has been compounded by the emergence of mobile device as the main form of access in SA. The two marketing mediums can no longer be managed as separate entities.

“There’s more to social media marketing than posting Tweets and counting followers,” says Muir. “It requires specific technical and strategic management skills that most organisations do not have or cannot afford, and which can’t be gained through training alone.”

According to Muir, agencies like Black Snow Digital have much to offer businesses, large and small, by merit of their focus and experience in this specialised digital field.

Muir believes that companies underestimate the skills required to effectively manage their push into social media. “When a company needs a TV ad, they outsource the project because of the technical skills involved. With social media, the observable skills seem rudimentary so anyone can write or upload an image. This is not the case.”

However, there are dynamics to social media that cannot be ignored, including long-term reputation management and complex analytics that protect brand image, financial investment and market share. These underlying elements require a level of technical sophistication not easily acquired by employees managing social media in addition to other projects requiring different skill sets.

Companies will find themselves stuck with a trial-and-error experience that either works or falls flat. Digital agencies handle a wide range of projects across varying industries and bring new ideas to the table that can help companies reach their goals.

In terms of brand protection, Muir reports a blurring between personal and business etiquette, as evidenced by a common use of coarse language in online exchanges. “Social media is a very open platform where people less inhibited in their personal interactions. Unfortunately, some employees bring these bad habits to commercial social communications. So companies risk undermining their brand, as has been seen in the past.” Digital agencies give good PR and communication management practices the highest priority.

Companies also need to understand social metrics. “Again, it’s more than adding up ‘Likes’”, says Muir. “Anyone who has worked with tools like Google Analytics will know that there are a vast number of variables at play on the web that constantly impact one another. Social media is no different. Companies need the right reporting tools and a deep understanding of metrics to succeed. Digital marketers can offer guidance on both.”

Lastly, it’s important for companies to realise that social media does not exist in a vacuum. It must be managed as an integral component of a larger web-based strategy that includes websites, blogs, email marketing, mobility, photo sharing and much more.

According to Muir, “Agencies have a handle on the entire online landscape and the digital marketing mix. So they offer vital assistance to companies who are limited by the number of resources at their disposal and the fact that they must split their attention between multiple marketing concerns.

“Right now digital agencies are not only service providers but also change agents and enablers that can empower South African business to enjoy success with social media.”

Black Snow Digital works closely with its clients to design robust, integrated social media marketing strategies, to create innovative social and digital media assets, nurture brand awareness and reputation, develop online campaigns, manage interactions with followers, and provide appropriate metrics and analytics. They are experts in online technical, strategic, public relations and communications management.

Black Snow’s reputation as a digital maverick has been recognised since its inception in 2009. “Over the years,” reports Muir, “we’ve established ourselves as the go-to team for organisations who want better mileage from their digital marketing budget.”

“Most importantly, with the figures looking as they do, the question is not why to invest but how best to go about it. This is what makes Black Snow Digital such a valuable social media partner.”

About Black Snow Digital

Black Snow Digital was established in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2009 as a strategic digital marketing company. The agency has grown rapidly by helping clients develop innovative digital identities and brand strategies in the online space. It has formed many successful relationships with small, medium and large brands across South Africa. Black Snow Digital’s unique proposition is that social media is not part of a multi-service portfolio but a core competency to which the company devotes its energies entirely.

Increased Truck Hijackings – A Cause For Concern

How safe are truck drivers when they are out on our roads? One would generally assume that they are the least affected by all the road rage, highway crimes, and hijackings seeing as they drive such big vehicles. However, there seems to be a frightening increase in truck hijackings throughout the years. What could be the cause or reason for this?

Recent reports of two recent truck hijackings, both which occurred in the Bedfordview area have sparked debate. During the investigation of the attempted hijacking, the Bedfordview SAPS reported that the hijackers had hooted at the truck driver and told him his truck had a flat tyre. When the truck driver stopped to check his wheel, four armed men exited from the car, one jumped into the truck to drive it, while the others forced the driver into their vehicle. Fortunately, the driver was ditched in Eldorado Park alive, but these men managed to get away with goods worth thousands of Rands.

While some truck drivers may be stopped by hijackers dressed and pretending to be police officials, it seems a growing trend is that policemen are becoming involved in these crime rings. More recent reports have been found where off duty police officials have been actual accomplices in these truck hijacking crimes.

As infamous as these crimes have become, you have to admit it must be hard to hide a truck (horse and trailer) including its contents (probably worth over hundreds of thousands), especially for an ordinary “Joe” or first timer just trying to make a quick buck. So how exactly are these guys getting away with it? What piece of the puzzle are we missing? If you hijack a truck, how far can you get without authorities catching on?

Not all hope in our police officials has been lost though. According to a recent report in August 2014 by News24, six people had been arrested in North West when they tried hijacking a truck by pretending to be metro police officers. The scary part is, these people had actually approached a metro cop in that area and asked him to assist them in hijacking the truck. Luckily the Sergeant reported the matter immediately to the SA Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, and the men were apprehended. The accused were later found in possession of metro police uniforms and a tracker jammer.

Truck hijacking has become a major concern for the South African economy. The South African Chamber of Commerce has raised its concern about the 14.9% increase in crime rates this year. Meanwhile, trucking experts seem to think that truck hijackings are organised by sophisticated cross-border gangs. They believe that part of the problem is South Africa’s permeable borders, high levels of corruption in the police force, and in some cases poor screening within companies. Trucks stolen in SA are often used in mining operations in other countries. It is not just stolen trucks that are posing a problem, but the stolen goods too. When a truck is hijacked, the goods are taken too, and when they are not delivered to the companies, it affects the balance of business in a major way and can also be highly damaging to the economy.

The more you read up on these truck hijackings, the more you realise that it is not actually about the trucks but the goods that they are carrying. A truck could be transporting anything from fuel, food stuff and cigarettes – which will be relatively easy to sell.

All these crimes are affecting us negatively. It creates a negative view of our country, and poses a major threat to our economy and truckers. What can we do? One suggestion is for truck and company owners to thoroughly screen employees and to educated them about road safety and making unnecessary stops at unknown or dangerous areas. What other suggestions do you have? Tell us on the blog, on Facebook, or on LinkedIn.