On Shelf: The crazy month of #Januworry had it all in store

By Louise Burgers. Back-to-school vs Easter POS; milking a milkshake record; a Christmas creep; and the Corona conundrum…

by Louise Burgers. Our weekly pick of all things new in retail — consumer product launches, retail news and FMCG campaigns!

We don’t need no Easter eggs in #Januworry

(With apologies to Pink Floyd). I get that Christmas sales were terrible, but Easter displays in early January? Come on Pick n Pay, that was a back-to-school pester power display in #Januworry that parents did not need! Or for that matter, the legion of dieters that kick off their New Year resolutions on January 2nd! A conscious eating and healthy school snacks display would have been much more welcome – I could certainly use some new healthy lunch box ideas for the endless daily lunchbox grind for my child during term time.

At least Checkers had this cool Bic stationary school bus display in store during crazy back-to-school week, even if the yellow schoolbus concept is borrowed from the US of A. It was a nice attempt.

Our milkshakes are better than yours

(With apologies to Kelis). A restaurant at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is set to become a huge tourist attraction after being named as the Guinness World Record official title holder for ‘Most varieties of Milkshakes Commercially Available’. So how many flavours did the Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs need to win? It was a sweet 207, ranging from the usual flavours to the more exotic, like Milo and banana; koeksister and maple syrup; coffee and doughnut; Nutella and mascarpone; Oreo cheesecake; crème brûlée; and so on. The record-breaking attempt, which was finally confirmed this month by Guinuess, took place in October last year when the official judges, made up of well-known foodies Jenny Morris, Pete Goffe-Wood, Justin Bonello, Giorgio Nava and Clarice Gomes, had to actually count and taste all the flavours, following the strict criteriafrom Guinness.
It makes me lactose-intolerant just thinking about it.

WTF Woolies

I find hamsters creepy and stinky. I know they are supposed to be cute, but seriously, they have no personality and they die at the slightest provocation. Like a loud noise. I get that kids think they’re cute (alert: marketing spin), so I suppose Woolies thought that putting reindeer antlers on a hamster for Christmas this year would appeal to all kids: cute furry hamster + red reindeer horns = Christmas cuteness overload = big sales! Listen, our generation are still having to explain that elephants don’t hatch out of eggs (reference: that 90s IBM advert with baby elephants hatching out of eggs); and now we have hamsters that grow horns at Christmastime? Honestly, I don’t have enough hours in my day to deal with this. Just no.


One thing no brand marketer can ever anticipate in a million years, is that your brand will become synonymous with a deadly disease that has the potential to kill hundreds across the planet, like this super scary Coronavirus mutation. Google searches have actually spiked this past week for “Corona Beer Virus”. The Australians are the most concerned according to a search history map… Ai siestog. How do you PR your way out of that one? Maybe take a leaf out of the cynics on the dark web: ‘Laughter is the best medicine?!’

Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor of She’s spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global game changer in the next decade.

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