Is the new Mr Price container store aimed at township market poverty porn?

Mthunzi Plaatjie, an advertising and brand communications executive, condemned retailer Mr Price for launching a container store model which was aimed at township shoppers.

The new look Mr Price container store to be rolled out in townships. Picture: Mr Price.

JOHANNESBURG – Mthunzi Plaatjie, an advertising and brand communications executive, on Monday condemned retailer Mr Price for launching a container store model which was aimed at township shoppers.

Mr Price launched the new container store model in Illovo in KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking on the Azania Mosaka Show, Plaaitjie said, “To me it’s a shack and I think these brands never learn engaging or tying to be an integrated part of our communities. So these brands need to take the township market seriously.”

He argued that it seemed executives sitting in their offices had a certain perspective of what the black township consumer looks like.

The new stores are built in containers and resemble Shoprite’s USave ekasi container shops, which were launched in townships across South Africa three years ago.

Both Mosaka and Plaaitjie agreed that the container store was poverty porn.

“It really reflects no dignity for the consumer that they say they dearly love. These are people who have worked really hard for their money and take time to go experience these brands. It shows utter disrespect for the market,” Plaaitjie said.

The brand communications executive argued that black people had no other option but to make corrugated iron a building material because of poverty.

“That’s all [black people] had at their disposal - I don’t think we should celebrate it. There’s nothing beautiful or wow about it.”

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