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The AVBOB Poetry Project

BRAND ET AL, Pretoria / AVBOB / 2018

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Supporting Content






The AVBOB Poetry Project is a national online poetry competition in all 11 official languages that, defying expectation, generated record-breaking results over a period of four months.

The competition produces a bank of poetry which mourners (AVBOB’s bereaved clients and prospective clients) can access via as a value-added form of bereavement counselling.

PR and social media drove awareness and generated most of the traffic to the website – the central hub that serves to connect poets to the competition editors and, ultimately, connects mourners to the poems.

The project also gives SA’s aspiring poets the opportunity to take centre-stage through this highly-rewarding competition which awards cash prizes to its winners and a R300 payment for every approved poem.

Shared value through user-generated content – for the poetry community of SA, for the wordless mourners, and for AVBOB, the sponsor, who benefits from the remarkable PR generated through the project.


A) Timeline

Peak PR bursts:

Launch: 16 July to mid-August 2017

Closing: Mid-November to 30 November 2017

B) Implementation

Press conference:

AVBOB’s CEO made a personal address to the media on Mandela Day 2017, attracting over 30 journalists. An emotive video, explaining the inspiration for the project, was played to the press, leaving them teary-eyed and inspired.

Build the anticipation:

The launch and closing included count-downs on social media, as well as increased PR efforts for bursts of exposure.

Ongoing content angles:

As poems were entered, unique content angles arose in our weekly content workshops, e.g. the first approved poem, the youngest entrant (10 years old), the oldest entrant (97 years), key milestones (1 000, 5 000 poems, etc.).

Always on:

- Editors provided poetry workshops to entrants, resulting in additional content angles to show AVBOB’s caring nature.

- User-generated content (approved poems) was used to inspire social followers.


The AVBOB Poetry Project yielded 20 774 entries in all 11 official languages, over only four months, making it the biggest homegrown competition of its kind ever in South Africa.

3108 of these poems were approved for publication on the website.

878 poems were entered on the last day, indicating that the competition was still gathering momentum.

Media outputs:

The PR exposure was remarkable, with most of the objectives already met in the first two days.

The project reached almost all major media titles in South Africa:

• Tier 1 media – 50 of 118

• Unique published pieces (without duplication) – 118

Broadcast – 6

Print – 79

Online – 3

Article website – 33

Community – 36

Daily, weekly & weekend newspaper – 43

Radio – 3

TV – 3

Target audience outcomes: Brand affinity

Social sentiments:

The AVBOB Poetry Project was warmly received by thousands of people who showered the project, and AVBOB, with thanks on social media. See social sentiments in supporting documents. Many fans begged for the competition’s 2nd edition in 2018 (which was recently approved by AVBOB’s CEO and EXCO, with a sizeable budget increase).

Influencer support:

The AVBOB Poetry Project also received lofty praise from acclaimed literary heavyweights, including JM Coetzee. High praise for AVBOB, from a local legend.

Awards: Local recognition

The project has already scooped up noteworthy local awards, including four highly sought-after PRISM Awards at a gala evening hosted by PRISA (Public Relations Institute of South Africa).