#OnShelf: Siya Kolisi, Lady Gaga & Barbie product news

By Louise Burgers, Retailing Africa Editor. BOS, Cotton On, Toys R Us, Makro and Unilever, are right on trend with their brand collabs to capitalise on key events, culture moments or societal issues, while giving back.

By Louise Burgers, Retailing Africa Editor. BOS, Cotton On, Toys R Us, Makro and Unilever, are right on trend with their brand collabs to capitalise on key events, culture moments or societal issues, while giving back to the communities they serve, in various ways.

Go BOS with the Bokke!

BOS Iced Tea has launched a limited edition can with Springbok rugby captain, Siya Kolisi, which will also benefit the Kolisi Foundation through sales. For each limited edition can sold, BOS is donating 5% of the turnover to the Kolisi Foundation. BOS Iced Tea is now available worldwide, with the brand benefitting from the growing consumer appetite for healthier beverages. The unique can has a bold beadwork design that draws inspiration from Siya Kolisi’s Xhosa heritage. The campaign drives the message that we are all brewed for greatness, with themes such as finding joy and connection, looking at people as individual works of art, and exploring how we can each make a difference. Will Battersby, CEO of BOS Iced Tea, says the campaign is the culmination of BOS’s growth journey: “To partner with the Kolisi family and its foundation is a privilege, as they are uniquely South African, just like our rooibos tea. Siya has impacted the nation as a sporting icon and inspirational person, and Siya and his wife, Rachel, are both making a significant difference in our vulnerable communities through their foundation. With France being our biggest international market and the Kolisi family moving there this year, we felt it fitting for BOS to shout to the rooftops about what we as a country have to offer, introducing Siya Kolisi’s limited edition design in Europe and in South Africa, and sharing rooibos with the world while making a difference in the communities at home.”

Commenting, Siya Kolisi, says it’s very special for him to launch this can with traditional patterning from his culture: “It’s not just a can. It’s a can that will open so many doors, it will open so many opportunities in every community that we operate in. The support generated by this can could be supporting a woman; it could be getting a warm meal for a child. Those are things that I struggled with when I was young, and this will be making little Siya’s life a bit better.” The Kolisi Foundation was founded by Siya and Rachel Kolisi in 2020 with a vision to change the stories of inequality. They believe that every small act of change matters, and that by “remembering the one, one by one”, we will impact the nation. Rachel Kolisi is CEO of the Kolisi Foundation, and says: “What’s great about this collaboration between BOS, the Kolisi Foundation, Siya and myself, is that there is such a value alignment for us. Firstly, the fact that it is a proudly South African product that has gone global, but also that as a brand they’ve chosen to go beyond making sales and to give back to South Africa through the Kolisi Foundation.”

Cotton On to a kinder world with Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Cotton On Foundation have partnered to raise funds for global mental health support, with R2.5 million earmarked for donation to South African mental health initiatives. ‘A Kinder World Is Our Kinda World’ is the aim of the partnership to raise $5 million USD for global mental health. “We’re honoured to partner with Cotton On Foundation for our first global campaign amplifying our mission to build a kinder, braver world together,” said Lady Gaga. “We are constantly working to uplift the stories of young people worldwide, and through this partnership, we invite everyone to practice kindness and learn how to better support one another. Our research tells us that kindness is one way we can support each other’s mental health.”

Cotton On is an Australian-born fashion and lifestyle brand; and the US-based non-profit, Born This Way Foundation, was founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Bissett Germanotta, in 2012. The two organisations came together to create a range of limited-edition products available from September to October 2023, with Cotton On donating 100% of the net proceeds to Born This Way Foundation, making Cotton On one of the biggest corporate contributors to global youth mental health resources and support in 2023. Customers can purchase items, including caps, T-shirts, tote bags, stationery, and a denim jacket online and in select stores globally. The ‘Kinder, Braver, Together’ product design was inspired by Born This Way Foundation’s mission of supporting youth mental health and working with young people to build a kinder, braver world. “We are grateful for the support of Cotton On Foundation and the opportunity to expand our collective impact worldwide. Every day, we witness young people around the world leading and transforming the discussion around mental health and calling for increased resources to support themselves, their peers, and their communities,” said Cynthia Germanotta. “We hope this partnership will accelerate the delivery of tangible resources, skills, and grassroots support necessary to build kinder, braver communities that value and improve mental health.”

I’m a Barbie Girl

With the Barbie movie making history with a record-breaking opening weekend for a film directed by a woman, and becoming the highest grossing film of all time, with over a billion dollars in global sales, it will certainly boost Mattel’s sales of the iconic Barbie doll and related merchandise. As the world turned pink, Barbie sales rose by 30% immediately after the film opened and demand is expected to grow for Barbie related merchandise and toys in the run up to the seasonal holidays.

“We have an active stock keeping unit (SKU) count of 110 Barbie dolls covering all themes from fashion, beauty, signature, accessories estate and clothing lines across our 60 stores nationwide,” says Catherine Jacoby, Toys R Us marketing manager. “The toy market is massive and has seen increased growth in the past two years, driven by the rise of a new trend of audience now fondly dubbed as ‘Kidults’. This new trend has emerged as nostalgic toys are surging in popularity as young adults look to their childhood toys for comfort during difficult times and a way to reconnect with their inner child.”

In fact, the booming growth of the toy collectibles market is supported by better returns than gold, art and financial securities: “Kidults are now responsible for more than one quarter of toy sales globally,” she adds. Last year Toys R Us launched a specialised focus on Fan Vault for the kidult collectors – which includes a variety of collectible toys across many nostalgic categories from the fifties to the two-thousands.

CAMPAIGN: Makro & Unilever collab aims to reduce costs for consumers

The global cost-of-living crisis following on from the pandemic, coupled with South Africa’s own fuel price increases, loadshedding impact and rise in average grocery bills, prompted Makro to partner with Unilever to help South Africans purchase household products at the best possible prices. Makro collaborated with Unilever to ease the burden on a few household products through their mRewards millionaire competition.

Kevin Maier, Makro merchandise vice president: food, explains: “We’re committed to helping our customers make their money stretch further in these tough financial times. Partnering with Unilever enables us to offer our shoppers their favourite products at affordable price points, through our mRewards programme. We’re also running a massive competition to make one of our lucky customers an mRewards millionaire. As a customer-obsessed business, we care about making our shoppers’ lives better. Collaborating with Unilever will empower us to keep offering our customers their most-loved products at affordable prices, which should make a material difference to people’s daily lives. We’re always looking for ways to help South Africans save.”



Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of She has 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 gamechanger in the next decade.


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