Avatar photo

By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor


WATCH: Auto Trader takes a swipe at Ramaphosa in ‘Bala-Bala’ ad

The deal involves the sale of buffalo and takes place with a bag of cash and a couch...


Vehicle retail giant Auto Trader is the latest big brand to capitalise on the infamous Phala Phala farm heist involving President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s privately owned game breeding business.

The Bala Bala advert posted on the retailer’s TikTok account last month has since racked up about 2.9 million views.

WATCH: Bala Bala wildlife sales

@autotrader_sa 🥁 Introducing our new #PriceRatings 🥁 Check them out 👉 LINK in our bio #ShopSmarterNotHarder #tiktoksouthafrica @William Last KRM ♬ original sound – AutoTrader South Africa

ALSO WATCH: School career day? Children dress as prisoners and police

Users on the short video app were quick to point out the advert was reminiscent of the ones South Africans come to expect from grilled chicken franchise Nandos.

Auto Trader, in a bid to punt its price rating feature, which helps the buyers determine if they are getting good value for the buck, depicts the owner of ‘Bala-Bala Wildlife’ showing a prospective client a handsome (read expensive) looking buffalo.

Vital information about the buffalo, such as weight, sex and eating habits, overlays the screen as the prospective and eager buyer queries the price.

ALSO: WATCH: Naked machete-wielding man demands to see Ramaphosa

“Three million,” replies the owner. While the price appears steep for the buyer, the price ratings show it is a good price.

The deal takes place with a bag of cash and a couch, where the owner stuffs money received for the transaction in the couch.

Amused viewers quickly brought Nandos into the fold, while some pondered if the chicken franchise outsourced its advertising team.

User Laz posted, “Did the presidency approve this illegal advert?” While AbutiBonginkosi commented, “Nandos was found shaking”.

Autotrader has since responded saying it did not use Nando’s advertisers.

“You did Ramaphosa dirty,” said Erick.

“We went with our internal marketing team and an external partner with which we have worked on a few other campaigns. Our goal was not to grill or open up political discourse; instead, we only wanted to talk about an inherently South African event which we could all relate to,” said AutoTrader South Africa marketing director Angelique Lynch.

South Africans largely approved Auto Trader’s advert. Judging from the reaction, it’s safe to assume the vehicle retailer earned an entry-level badge of honour in shade-throwing for its first political satire advert.

ALSO WATCH: Baboon duo hijacks tourists’ car, in daring fruit heist

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits