"We're thrilled that the campaign was recognised by the Creative Circle Awards," says Steph van Niekerk, creative director at Grey and Liquid, WPP's bespoke agency solution for Distell.

"We're proud to have developed a campaign that helped entertain South Africans and connect them through laughter during a difficult time when they felt alienated and alone," adds van Niekerk.

The campaign consisted of two elements — the weekly bar nights and bi-weekly comedy specials — which ran from April until July. The weekly bar night events, which were hosted on Zoom, featured two talented comics and a comedic host.

The first weekly bar night featured comedians David Kau and Nik Rabinowitz, with Coconut Kelz as the host. The comedy specials were run every two weeks for 12 weeks and had nine different comics and their host comedic barman. The line-up of comics included Chris Forrest, Angel Campey and Lindy Johnson. The specials were hosted on Savanna's social media channels, including Instagram Live, Facebook Live and YouTube Live, and provided 90 minutes of entertainment.

The campaign proved very popular with South Africans, reaching over 25 million views online, says the agency. It offered aspiring comics a platform to showcase their talent and ensured more established comedians didn't 'get rusty' during lockdown. Most importantly, the '#SavannaVirtualComedyBar' also gave financial support to these comedians to keep them going during a time when they couldn't otherwise earn a living, says the agency.

Eugene Lenford, marketing manager for Savanna, says, "If there is one thing we have realised over the past seven months, it's that no matter what level of lockdown we find ourselves in, there is no ban on serving unrestricted laughter."

"COVID-19 just forced us to think on our feet and find different ways to show our support for the comedy industry and to entertain our fans when they were feeling isolated from family, friends and fun," adds Lenford.

"And now that we are on Level 1, we are thrilled to bring back the '#SavannaVirtualComedyBar' to an even broader audience for season two," concludes Lenford. 

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