Other Research

The Institute occupies a unique space between academia and commerce and we come across interesting research and whitepapers by post-graduate students and other research organisations. This is often rigidly academic in format but for those people who are looking for insights into a specific area they can be useful.

As always please acknowledge the source if you’re using any of this material in your presentations or assignments. We are extremely grateful to the people who willingly share their work and give them full credit.


Investigating the success of the Carvela brand in the South African market: challenging conventional branding approaches.

MBA thesis by Owen Mbundu

Carvela, the brand under investigation in this study, displays all the hallmarks of an iconic brand. It has become embedded in township culture as the quintessential embodiment of style and class. Carvela is mostly worn by consumers who cannot actually afford it; however, the strong appeal of the brand makes it a must have item. Carvela is intimately associated with the construction and assertion of identity amongst individuals, subcultures and class groups.

The fact that Carvela achieved iconic status only tells part of the story. It is extraordinary that the brand achieved this feat without applying any conventional marketing methods. For example, advertising and public relations were only financed from 2010. Brands with comparable prestige and gravitas often achieve their status by investing huge financial and human resources into elaborate marketing and communication programmes.

The primary purpose of this study is therefore to uncover the reasons for the Carvela brand's success. In addition, the findings of this study can be employed to enhance the brand's competitiveness and inform its future marketing and communication programmes. Finally, the study will investigate whether Carvela can expand into new product categories.

Download PDF



The Somalinomics report has some key insights into the informal sector for any FMCG brand hoping to gain ground there. The report explores the role of Somali spaza shops in the Western Cape economy and looks at the business strategies employed by these traders.

Download PDF

The Problematic Legacy of Wine

Masters thesis by PODGORSKA, Malgorzata

An exploration into the underlying values and opinions of the emerging Black middle class and their unique relationship to wine in the Cape region . How might the comprehension of the symbolism this segment of the population attach to wine help the local wine industry better tap into a growing and highly influential South African economic group?

Following the tumultuous recent Apartheid history of South Africa, wine has accumulated both oppressive and aspirational symbolism. With particular focus on the wine producing region of the Cape, this paper aims to analyse how the emerging Black middle class view and understand wine in order to provide a better comprehension of a growing and highly influential economic group of the South African economy.

Download PDF

Download Other Research

We’d like to know who is using our site so while the material is available free of charge you’ll need to leave your contact details in order to download the PDF documents.

Accessing research

On joining the UCT Unilever Institute, members receive a library of all research projects released more than six months ago.

Research is not available for sale on an individual project basis.

New projects are released via presentations and roadshows countrywide. Tickets are available to the public and members are entitled to a discounted price. Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when new projects are released.

Selected projects are not released publicly and are only available to members, e.g. our annual Landscape presentations, Branded and Marcom.

Some information is free - so sign up for our newsletter for regular research snippets