Share this article

Ponte is bareheaded after years of sporting a giant blue and white Vodacom sign. But the signage is just being renovated, not taken down for good.
PONTE has gone dark. Well, the roof has gone dark. The massive, bright blue and white Vodacom hoarding on the top of the imposing building has been taken down.

The Vodacom sign at the top of Ponte is being removedThe Vodacom sign at the top of Ponte is being removedThe advertising hoarding could be seen from tens of kilometres away, especially at night when the lights shone across the Joburg skyline. Now, the telecommunications company plans to erect a new corporate banner with new vibrant colours and a new emblem in the near future. 

Details of the campaign are still sketchy; however, news reports speculate that Vodacom could swap its familiar green, white and blue branding in favour of the all red approach of its parent company, Vodafone. It is not expected to change its name yet, confirms Portia Maurice, Vodacom’s chief officer for corporate affairs.

The cellphone operator has been surreptitiously overhauling its marketing image since last year. Vodafone is one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies, and it has a 65 percent shareholding in Vodacom; the government owns 14 percent and the balance is listed on the JSE.

Maurice explains that Vodacom has long had plans to rejuvenate the organisation across the board, including refreshing the current brand. She declines to comment, though, on whether Vodafone’s branding will influence the group’s plans for a new brand identity.

Ponte City management has also declined to comment on the matter, only saying that the hoarding was not being removed but was being renovated. They referred the matter to Vodacom, which was not taking media enquires about the issue at the time of going to print.

The round residential building in Berea on which the Vodacom trademark stood for years, was built in 1975 as a huge cylinder with a hollow core. It is 173 metres high, with 54 floors, and offers 360° panoramic views of the city.

At first, it was a desirable place to live, but it was a victim of urban decay and soon became synonymous with drug peddling, prostitution, crime, grime and squatting. In recent years, however, there has been some work towards renovation and cleaning it up.

Related stories:

'I abseiled down Ponte City'
Ponte: rent the best view in town
Joburg's secrets
Ponte gets a second life
Taking a different route down Ponte
Berea: Jozi's first residential CID
Joburg pushes for more CIDs