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XTEND comedy collaboration

South African marketing at its best

It’s not every day that a plumbing company teams up with some of South Africa’s best comedy talent to advertise geyser heating elements, but, as we saw with COVID, anything can happen.

A few years ago, the XTEND team came up with a ground-breaking design for a geyser heating element that saves users up to 1000 units of electricity per year. “After three years of development, certification, lab and field testing, and installing thousands of XTEND elements, disaster struck: COVID,” says XTEND investor/CEO Andrew Koch. Our supply chain and manufacturing processing in China were hit by lockdowns, loadshedding (not only a South African problem) and supply chain issues. We had no stock for the six months.”

In the midst of this despair, another director, Richard Pickering, found himself chatting to local comedian celebrity, Stuart Taylor, at his son’s school camp out. The comedian explained that the comedy circuit had also been horrendously affected by COVID and the two men decided to collaborate. “Over a lager they discussed how they could work together, have a laugh and get their livelihoods back in order. It was synchronicity, such a wonderful word, and an even better life experience,” says Richard, “and we were flattered that Stuart wanted to work with us.”

An old university friend Alan Grove, now a London-based advertising executive, came up with their first video script. “When he warned that ‘This must be done by professionals’, we weren’t worried even though our budget was laughable as, with Stuart, we knew we had the best,” says Richard. “Stuart called in top SA comedy talent Rob Van Vuuren and Kenwyn Davids to star, and Grant Atkinson to edit the new collaboration called: ‘Willie and Dan stick it to the man’. They filmed three hilarious skits about saving money by using energy-saving XTEND elements to mitigate the serious cost of living crisis. “Afterall, South Africans are very good at laughing in the face of crisis,” says Stuart.

Rob says, “We did the joke about ‘sticking it to the man’ because XTEND draws less power and uses less energy, two to three fewer units per day for an average family. If you use XTEND with solar panels or batteries, it will make your system even more efficient and your home more self-reliant. The more geysers you use with XTEND elements the more the positive impact multiplies.”

Stuart Taylor says, “This happened during a time when people wanted to help each other not for the ‘big bucks’ but to uplift people through collaborating. During the pandemic my mantra was ‘collaboration is key’. We worked together to create something cool and fun and they saw the value in it. It was a novel and funny way to market this great product.”

“As a country we face serious challenges and need high quality solutions to address them. We are proud that XTEND is one of these solutions and it is exciting to help address these serious issues in a light-hearted way,” says Stuart, with which Richard concurs wholeheartedly! These videos are spot-on South African funny. As XTEND grows, so too will our support of SA comedy.

“If you do the math, customers install XTEND and pay Eskom less, so these videos are brought to you by Eskom,” he jokes.

See the first video here:

Rocket Video:

Stuart Taylor’s information here: @stuart_taylor_comic

Kenwyn Davids information here: @Kenwyntheking

Rob Van Vuuren information here: @robvanvuuren (namastebae)

Camera: @danielalbertse
DOP: @graaaaant