BRR Inc to acquire Top Twenty

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., January 19, 2018 – BRR Inc. ( announced today that it has agreed to acquire Top Twenty, the consumer media company for people to find, rate and review businesses through a Web experience, for an undisclosed amount. Following the acquisition, Top Twenty will operate independently to preserve its successful brand.

The acquisition combines one of the fastest growing online business directory communities with BRR’s expertise in organizing information and creating new models for advertising on the Internet. The combined companies will focus on providing a better, more comprehensive experience for users, and will offer new opportunities for businesses to advertise their services to reach a vast new audience.

“The Top Twenty team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements BRR’s mission to organize the world’s business information,” said Jonathan Cole, Chief Executive Officer of BRR. “Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience.”

“Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people find businesses and services in South Africa. We have developed exciting new technology models that organise large volumes of business data. By joining forces with BRR, Top Twenty can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners,” said Marthinus Strydom, CEO of Ingaro (Pty) Ltd, the owner of Top Twenty. “I’m confident that with this partnership Top Twenty will have the flexibility and resources needed to pursue their goal of building the next-generation business platform. We are very excited that our locally developed innovation has been noticed internationally.”

Top Twenty will retain its distinct brand identity, strengthening and complementing BRR’s own fast-growing directory services investments. Top Twenty and the UAE team from BRR will move to Cape Town during the first quarter of 2018. All Top Twenty employees will remain with the company. With BRR’s technology, advertiser relationships and global reach, Top Twenty will continue to build on its success as one of the fastest growing directory services in South Africa, expanding to the rest of Africa and then globally.

About BRR Inc.

BRR’s innovative directory and advertising technology investments connect millions of people around the world with information every day. BRR’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. BRR is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and the UAE.

About Top Twenty

Founded in December 2015, Top Twenty is a consumer focussed company for people to find, rate and review businesses and services in South Africa. Operating mainly in the Western Cape, Top Twenty has grown rapidly to become the fastest growing business directory service in South Africa with enormous global growth potential. The proof-of-concept technology was developed in Stilbaai in the Southern Cape and organically expanded into the region. The innovative technology developed by this South African start up is internationally competitive, scalable and ready for the global stage.

Press Contacts:

BRR Media:
Arnold Shim

Ingaro (Pty) Ltd. (Top Twenty):
Marthinus Strydom

How bad businesses kill tourism in small towns

Good businesses do more to promote tourism in a small town than anyone else. Bad businesses destroy tourism.

Let me sketch a scenario for you. Joe saves the entire year for a holiday and decides to visit your town during the holidays. He arrives with his family full of excitement and anticipation. Before Joe decided to come to your town he researched a number of other options. He spoke to his friends and family and he asked Google as well.

So Joe decided that your town is the place where he will spend his hard earned cash. While on holiday Joe decides to take his family for breakfast. He drives around town and decides to go to Mary’s Coffee Shop. It looks nice and cozy and there are lots of people having breakfast. In no time the expectation of a great family breakfast turns into a disaster. The food is bad. The coffee is terrible and the staff have a serious attitude problem. Clearly Mary has no intention of servicing or keeping customers. What Joe didn’t know is that Mary has never run a coffee shop and doesn’t know a thing about making a good cup of coffee. Mary thought that it will be romantic to own her own coffee shop, but Mary shouldn’t own a coffee shop, ever.

This all sound too familiar don’t you think? It gets worse, because Joe has a number of these really bad experiences in your little town. There are more than 30 coffee shops and restaurants in your town and they all complain that business is bad. They seldom seem to survive past the holiday season. The next season there is another coffee shop that opens where Mary’s Coffee Shop used to be. And so the cycle continues.

What has happened here? In the first place, Joe went home feeling that he has been robbed of his idyllic holiday. The entire experience has left a bad taste in his mouth because of the bad service he received. He tells his friends and his family and instead of your little town turning Joe into a prophet, you have turned him into a terrorist. He is going around telling everyone he knows how bad your town actually is. So Joe never comes back because Joe has many, many choices. Why on earth will he come back to a place where the service is so poor?

In the meantime the towns business chamber hear about these things all the time but instead of acting, they turn a blind eye. Why? Because it’s not in the interest of the business chamber to expose businesses. The chamber collects membership fees and they won’t collect as much if they chase their customers away! So, these bad experiences are carefully swept under the carpet. Everyone in the little town knows that the emperor has no clothes, but they say and do nothing.

Top Twenty changes all that. Joe will in future search on Top Twenty for a place to eat breakfast and he will find those with the high ratings. He finds Susan’s Coffee Shop just off the main street. Susan is passionate about her business and loves serving customers. She has a high rating and many positive reviews. Now Susan gets all the business and the bad coffee shops get nothing. What happens? They don’t survive and some of them close down – for good reason. They shouldn’t have been in business in the first place. Susan on the other hand is starting to make good money and is steadily growing her business.

Bad businesses are everywhere, but in small towns they can cause enormous damage to the tourism industry of a town. Top Twenty ensures that good businesses are rewarded for good service.


Marthinus Strydom, President of Toptwenty shares his special knowledge and insights about rural tourism on his blog at Top Twenty assists small towns and their businesses in the development and marketing of their local business communities.

The 3 Worst South African Websites

One has to wonder how these successful companies manage to be so pathetic online. It’s astounding that with the amount of money they make and their access to resources, they are unable to manage even the simplest task such as developing and maintaining a usable website. Go to almost any TV channel and you will see their commercials. They tell us how great they are and why we must use their services and then we go to the website that they advertise just to be confronted by broken links, error messages and gross incompetence.

It’s not just annoying but also insulting. We don’t like to have out time wasted and we expect you to get it right, or stop flashing commercials at us around every corner. It’s pathetic.

So what can you do? Fire you IT team for starters. Parade you CIO in front of all your staff and tell them how incredible useless he or she is. That will make me feel better at least. Collectively I have wasted precious hours on your useless websites just to be frustrated and left irritated. Your brand may be strong and it will definitely survive my little rant, but rest assured, you do not have a sustainable business. You have no pride in what you are doing.

So here are the 3 worst websites in South Africa.

#3 –

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This website is sloooooow. It is so slow it will be faster for me to drive to their head office, stand in a queue and wait for a written quotation. Come on Outsurance, with all the hype and marketing why can you not just get this right? It’s not that complicated you know.

#2 –

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 12.09.25 PM

This is a joke. I fill in all the fields correctly to get a quote and then I’m confronted with a slew of errors. The errors are poorly constructed and you cannot continue after wasting 30 minutes on the site. It claims my ID number is incorrect. Now what? You spend millions on marketing but you can’t manage a simple quoting engine? It’s pathetic. All talk and no substance.

#1 –

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 12.09.54 PM

And the winner of the most pathetic website in South Africa is… DSTV (again). Don’t even get me started on this one. They have this “self service” section that never works. You have to log in multiple times to get into different sections. Everything is disconnected. Boxoffice doesn’t talk to DSTV and Self Service doesn’t talk to your profile and on and on.

It’s a hodgepodge of rubbish slammed together by a bunch of greenscreen mainframe developers that think HTML is some obscure Italian pasta.

What is your major malfunction DSTV? There is not one single customer that think you have a good website. At what point will someone with half a braincell at DSTV get up and say, “mmmh, there are lots of people that think we’re shit. I think they’re right. We are shit. Let’s re-do this thing we call a website.” No?

Google search “intelligence” is a joke

  Why is it that if I search for a plumber in Pretoria that Google shows me plumbers in New Jersey? And that is just one example of a search engine that has zero intelligence. Almost every single search produces incomprehensible organic results and in the most cases totally irrelevant. 

If this is the future of AI then we have a very, very long way to go. In fact, the biggest mistake we can make is to allow google to put their self driving cars on our roads. Can you imagine the clusterfuck on the N1?

Google has lost the plot. Their innovation is driven by revenue and their initial drive to create a search engine that works has been largely abandoned. Now, all they do it clump together a whole bunch of rubbish and present it as search results. Why? Because it makes no difference to the paid advertising . Sorry, it actually does. It makes the paid advertising more valuable. Organic search results has become obsolete and pointless. The only thing that counts now is Adwords.  

 Google it seems, is actively pursuing a strategy of discouraging organic search. Big mistake Google because your core search users are going to abandon you. Fast.

Losing sleep

Losing sleep

How many times have you been woken up at 3 in the morning by the beeping of your phone, signaling the receipt of another SMS spam message?

It is happening to me more regularly every week. It seems that every company in the country has jumped on the SMS spam bandwagon, blissfully unaware of the enormous damage they are doing to their brands. Companies that use SMS’s to market their services or products have very little understanding of consumer behavior and obviously don’t give a damn about the retention of their customers.

I am specifically referring to companies that use their own customer databases to perpetrate this evil and not the traditional spammers that use purchased databases to spam people. That is another topic that has been written about a thousand times.

Companies that send marketing messages to their own customers believe they have an inherent right to do so as long as they provide the requisite “Stop to opt out” at the end of the message. These companies, that included the top brands in South Africa, show their ignorance when it comes to electronic and mobile marketing and their total disregard for the privacy of their customers. The mobile service providers are the biggest culprits because they sell these services through the aptly names “WASPS” or Wireless Application Service Providers. Wasps are companies that are appointed by the mobile service providers to send spam. According to WASPA, their association, they don’t send spam, but as far as I am concerned they exist only because of their ability to send spam. They “sting” consumers millions of times a day and make a few cents on each SMS they send on behalf of these “respected” brands.

The Consumer Protection Act unfortunately has no sting. It allows for spam as long as the spammers comply to a few basic rules. Not that a few rules have ever stopped South Africans from doing whatever it is they want to do, whether it’s breaking traffic laws, evading tax, hijacking a few cars or sending spam. Companies think that if they include the opt out message and the customer interacted with them once, even if it was 10 years ago to get a quote, then it gives them the right to invade their privacy. If we want to stop getting these SMS’s then you must send the obligatory reply with “STOP”. This reply obviously costs money. I think the mobile service providers and the WASPS make millions every month from these opt out SMS’s that we are forced to send. What a blummin cheek! It costs me around R0.20 every time I opt out from an SMS that I didn’t ask for in the first place!

Not that the opt out works. I have opted out on numerous occasions just to continue to receive these SMS’s. Only after many phone calls, lawyers letters and threats with the ECT act do the SMS’s stop. And then sometimes they don’t. It seems that my opt out just confirms that I am in fact alive and my mobile phone works and I actually read my SMS’s. My value as a quality recipient of spam has just exponentially increased and the spam not only continues, but increases!

So herewith a short lesson on consumer behavior.

It has been proved through many recent studies that SMS marketing messages work on a very small percentage of consumers. If you send 1000 SMS’s and you get one sale then you may think that your campaign was a success right? Wrong. If your repeat business percentage (the number of customers that are going to buy from you again) is, let’s say, 20%, then of the 1000 customers, 200 of them will purchase from you again sometime in the future. These studies have shown that out of the 1000 people that receive your SMS, around 150 will be so upset that they will make a conscious decision never to buy from you again. 10 of them will actually go to their friends and family and influence them to never to buy from you again. So, you made one sale but lost more than 5 in the process. Not very smart.

Why would people get upset about receiving an innocent marketing SMS from you? Well, because it’s invasive. We use our cell phones for work and personal calls. Mobile phones have become much more than just phones. They are an extension of our lives and many people cannot function without their mobile phones. We need to be permanently “connected” and this perpetual connection has become very personal. My phone is a personal thing. It has my music on, my photographs, my email. It is my space and it is sacrosanct. The SMS that I receive invades that space with the subtlety of a carving knife. Now imagine if I get this SMS at 3am! Why not switch the phone off at night, you ask? Well, because I have a family. My kids are out and about and I cannot switch my phone off. Like many people I have given up with Telkom and land lines and cable theft and only have a mobile phone. Mine stays on through the night, and no way for me to avoid being woken up at 3am with the incessant beeping in my ear. This very morning I was woken up at 3am by 2 SMS’s from a jewelery company and I could not fall asleep again, so I decided to get up and write this article. It’s now 4:44am. Understandably I will never buy from that jewelry store ever again, and that is a promise.

So what am I to do? Today I am going to buy another phone and I am going to give that number to my family. It will become my family phone and I will leave it on at night and switch the other one off. I will become part of the 2 phone brigade.

And guess what? The mobile service providers will just make more money and continue to rape consumers with impunity.

I wonder, how do they sleep at night?

Big Trouble for businesses who don’t comply with Protection of Personal Information Act

The Protection of Personal Information Act aims to protect consumers from the sale or illegal use of any personal information without their permission. This is good news for the consumer (all of us) as it ensures the protection of our data and stops all the unsolicited direct marketing attempts from businesses that bought your details for the right price from highly reputed and listed companies. However, for business the act means that drastic changes need to be made in how companies market and use customers’ personal information.

 Companies that ignore the Act will do so at their peril. Consumers are fed up with up the tons of spam that finds its way into our inboxes and onto our mobiles and the realities are that in South Africa, a startling 91% of all emails are spam.

 The Act consists of 8 information protection principles which conform to international standards, these range from Accountability to Security Safeguards. The responsibility for the monitoring and enforcement of compliance will rest with the Information Protection Regulator and organisations that fail to comply with the Act will face civil liability claims, criminal sanctions, significant reputational damage and in severe cases a 10 year prison sentence.

South African business needs to make sure that their policies, processes and training are up to standard because there are many areas where a company can fall short. Businesses need to make sure that they have centralised databases containing customer information as well as up-to-date opt-out lists. Processes and policies with employees and third parties have to be water tight to avoid liabilities and regular training needs to be introduced in order to teach employees the correct and safe way to process and store customer information because a spreadsheet on Excel is no longer acceptable.

Most retailers, especially those with a decentralised marketing approach (i.e. every branch does its own marketing) are particularly vulnerable. These businesses with many branches, systems and customer databases will have to make will have to make substantial changes. A single customer repository or database is essential because if a customer wants to opt-out at one branch, they actually opt-out of the entire company and if the customer still continues to get marketing messages from another branch then the company will be held accountable.

Old Spice goes beyond hot-man-in-towel approach to boost sales

As of July 18, Old Spice can take credit for having the most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube.

The P&G brand made waves last week with its interactive videos featuring Isaiah Mustafa, the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” guy from the brand’s commercial that launched earlier this year.

Beginning July 13, Mustafa responded to questions, funneled through Twitter, from celebrities and ordinary folks alike. The brand’s ad agency Wieden + Kennedy developed and coordinated 186 customized video responses that contributed to a 107% increase in Old Spice Body Wash sales over the last month, according to Nielsen data from Mike Norton, director of external relations for male grooming at P&G.

The brand’s Twitter following also exploded 2700% to over 83,000 followers since launch.

Norton explained that it was an integrated approach enlisting AOR Paine PR. The agency sent out updates on Mustafa’s responses and conducted media relations prior to launch.

“Everyone was sitting at the table during execution,” said Norton.

He added that Paine will continue to do media relations around the effort and eventually develop online programs to leverage its increased social media following.

What should be the brand’s next move? Can anything top this?

Just a pity that Old Spice reminds us that our dads used it as did our grandfathers. Doesn’t help that it has OLD in it’s name!



Excellent car ads that cost very little to make

Everyone wants to spend millions on epic productions. Toyota shows that it’s possible to make excellent commercials for very little. It’s not about how much money you throw at it but how much brains you throw at it. Clever has always been far more effective than epic.




The greatest car ads ever made

To many repeats and reality shows have made us even more susceptible to good ads that break the monotony or boring TV productions. It is fair to say though, that car and automotive adverts really are the cream of the crop, and this post celebrates some of the top car advertisements ever made in my opinion. Enjoy the list and let us know in the comments if you think we’ve missed any.