The Ogilvy office spouse

What is an office spouse? An office spouse is that one person in the office who knows you the best; the person that supports you, listens to your ideas (no matter how crazy), and who is there if you need someone to vent to. You are not married or even dating, but in many ways your relationship mimics a real marriage. You probably bicker like an old married couple, have lunch dates and even share inside jokes.

As you can imagine, Ogilvy Cape Town is filled with ‘office marriages’.

We recently opened our doors to the Expresso Show team, who were eager to get to know a few of the Ogilvy ‘couples’, and find out just what makes them the perfect professional match.

People featured in the clip:

  • Luca Gallarelli – MD Ogilvy Cape Town
  • Karen Vermeulen and Anthony Walton
  • Alison Hingle and Mike Martin
  • Carol Gallarelli and Awie Erasmus
  • Claire Brayshay and Tarryn von Romburgh
  • Rikki Majiet and Nashane Mariah
  • Michelle Culhane and Angelo Dionisio

Ryan Stramrood – Your average Joe with a not-so-average hobby

We recently had the incredible Ryan Stramrood host a How To Friday at the agency. Ryan describes himself as a South African, small business owner, family man and Average Joe.However, what sets him apart from most other self-proclaimed ‘Average Joes’ is his passion for Ultra Extreme Open Water and Ice Swimming. As the name suggests, Ryan partakes in swimming competitions in icy cold open water, of which potential hazards include swimming alongside poisonous jelly fish, enduring rough seas, and temperatures that do not push the thermostat past 5°C…in nothing more insulating than a Speedo.

His adventures and death-defying experiences tell an amazing tale of human spirit and victory, and so we decided to chat with him about how he manages it all.

GWC_3200Q: You’re somewhat of a superhero… salesman by day, Ultimate Extreme Open Water Ice swimming by night. What is the general reaction when you tell people about your hobby?

A: Superhero? Haha! I think not, but I’ll take it. I own and run Stramrood Connect Media Sales House, representing the Soccer Laduma platform, SowetoTV, YFM radio and Zee World (and often hassle Ogilvy’s Nicole Williams and Brad Page for business!) When it comes to light what I do in my spare time, I usually encounter a deep frown, a “Huh?!”, or lots of head-shaking.

Q: In a nutshell, how did this hobby come about?

A: Well its way more than a hobby now – together with some crazy mates, we now lead the world in developing extreme cold swimming and pushing human boundaries. Its been a long journey – a journey into cold – a lot of pain, a lot of exploration of boundaries – exploring the profoundly devastating effect the cold has on the human body and, more importantly, the mind. So extreme cold swimming is about learning to control this impact on the mind and channel the panic, pain and fear in a positive direction.

PolarPlunge-250Q: Chat us through what goes through your mind when you’re just about to jump into water temperatures below 5 degrees.

A: Before: TRAIN! Then FOCUS, get into the ZONE that allows you to control the impact of diving into ice water to offset panic reaction, and understand the EFFECTS of what will happen to you.
During: CONCENTRATE on your pace and TRUST your support crew and the knowledge that you’ve done the training and what you are feeling is familiar turf. Stay mentally strong and positive, and offset fear.
After: STAY IN THE ZONE. It is very important to accept and understand that the challenge only ends after the recovery period, once the shivering starts and then slows and the dangerous ‘after drop’ process ends. Once out of danger, relax, enjoy and process.

Q: What do you want people to take away from your talks?

A: Through my story, people realise that our minds are governed and controlled by a powerful default setting that makes us believe in our own limitations, keeping us in our comfort zone. When you believe in your own limitations, you have no reason to challenge them. If my audiences can understand that there is a default setting and begin to push their boundaries, it will change their lives.

Q: What would you want your tombstone to say about you?

A: Yoh, never thought about it…probably “Ryan – the best dad in the world” – cause that’s what’s really important.

Q: What are your words to live by?

A: Push Past Impossible (my quote – haha)

We’d just like to thank Ryan and Gill for making it out to host this How To Friday, it was an hour very well spent, and we are all better people for it. 

To find out more about Ryan and his incredible story, click here.

Content Marketing 101

Our hallways are filled with incredible people… Mel Attree being one of them. Mel has been in the social media space before social media was a ‘thing’, and is now the Director of Content Strategy here at Ogilvy Cape Town.

Melissa Attree

Being the legend that she is, Mel has shared 10 content marketing tips with us.

  1. Question the brief

Many content marketing strategies develop from more traditional advertising briefs, agencies and clients need to question specific briefs and explore different ways of reaching customers using different mediums.

  1. Have a plan

Make sure your content marketing efforts align with the business, sales and marketing strategy. Consider the ongoing benefit that publishing effective content could have for customers and develop a long-term roll out plan that meets your specific objectives.

  1. Consider the source

The sourcing, planning and distribution of your content is as critical as the actual content itself. This process helps with the planning and publishing process:

Content = Curated + Created + Commissioned + Crowdsourced

Brands need to be open to collaboration, there are many independent people producing great content, bring them into your process and commission them to create content with you.

Crowdsource content by tapping into your existing communities and encouraging them to create images, words or videos that you can repurpose and publish. Here is an example of this

  1. Entertain or empower (or both)

What do your customers need and want? Produce content that empowers or entertains your customers. This means you’ll have a more sustainable approach to being able to create content that has long-term appeal and is shareable.

  1. Learn to share

Make sure your content is easy for people to discover, share and comment on. Great content travels, help it. Don’t forget the power of email and sms as ‘dark social’ sharing platforms.

  1. Repurpose

Some people like to read, some watch videos, other prefer audio recordings or images. Remix your content for a variety of mediums to cater for different consumer needs (and channels). Where possible, give people choices; this extends the longevity (and reach) of your content.

  1. Act like an editor

Managing publishers, editors, editorial teams and editorial calendars are all essential tools for success. Be the Anna Wintour!

  1. Measure and adapt

The ability to be adaptable is a key component of an effective content marketing approach. Pay attention to what people are sharing and commenting on and iterate your approach.

  1. Buy or rent

Brands should be considering owned spaces for content, rented social media platforms then act as content amplifiers and conversation facilitators.

  1. Rinse and repeat

Effective content marketing often requires a slow burn approach; some of the most established international brand examples are only gaining momentum years later. Plan your efforts, invest in publishing and measure your growth.


Allan Gray – The Letter

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town has produced its first commercial for Allan Gray since winning the account.

Set in Germany in 1989, ‘The Letter’ tells the story of a man reunited with the love of his life after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Brought-to-life by director Kim Geldenhuys, director of photography Jan Velicky, and music composer Dustin O’Halloran, the commercial was shot over four days in Riga, Latvia, with an all-German lead cast. Careful attention to factual period detail was taken, including the building of a replica of part of the wall.

The micro saga underpins how commitment and patience bear reward over time – true to the brand’s investment philosophy.

Watch it here:

Checking in with the Ogilvy Grads

Kara Levy and Glenn Kisela have been learning the ins and outs of agency life through the Ogilvy Graduate Programme (OGP). Our last check in with them was in April. Find out what life has been like at the Big O.



Q: The last time we checked in you were leaving Account Management and heading to OgilvyOne (OO). Name one high and one low from your time at OO.

High note: There were so many! On a light note, sharing a desk with Claire and having some bonding time (we made a ‘your side/my side line’) and took it very seriously. Another high was actually working on a Sunday with a colleague from another agency putting a strat together for a presentation that was due to be presented on the Tuesday morning – that moment when things start to come together and a strong story and argument is built succinctly is so rewarding.

Low note: This is tough – there weren’t many lows, but if I had to say something it was probably having a mild panic attack when I realized I hadn’t ordered enough Lego for one of the workshops we were running and I had to get it couriered to my house – yes, we use Lego for workshops.

Q: You’re in Ogilvy PR (OPR) now. How has travelling through all these departments opened your eyes to what agency life is like?

I guess it has shown me how every department is able to function as a mini-agency on its own, but how important it is for all the departments to work together because everyone has such niche knowledge and skills.

Q: What are your plans after OPR?

I am planning on making my way back up to the 6th floor, to do some time in ATL strategy. It will be interesting because I have worked my way from very specific digital strategy, to a bit more of a broader perspective in PR strategy and I will end off with time looking at things from a very top line perspective.

Q: If you had to create an agency survival kit for an OGP, what would you include?

  • A notebook: Chris Rawlinson told me something really interesting in one of my first months at the agency, he said that you always have your best ideas in your first/first few years of working, so I always write down new ideas when they come to me and hopefully I’ll be able to implement them at some point.
  • Earphones: These serve more than one purpose, they are the ultimate “do not disturb” signal and they save you from the questionable music that sometimes comes out of the buzz
  • Flash drive: As you are working on presentations and with different people all the time, a well organised flash stick is a must have
  • Comfy shoes: people underestimate the amount of stair running that gets done in this building, and being looked down upon for taking the lift two floors is a real thing
  • Coffee/identify a good coffee spot: this is the 9 o’clock turbo fuel injection – make sure it’s good
  • Minimal desk decoration: as you move around a lot (I am on my 6th desk), you must have desk decoration that is easily movable and not much of it.

Q: Who is your “ad-crush” and why?

The people at Ogilvy Brasil who made an advert called “immortal fans” for Sport Club Recife. That advert was a large contributor to me wanting to get into advertising. Check it out:


Glenn 2

Q: You’ve been with Ogilvy PR (OPR) for about 6 months now. What have you been up to? 

PR has been a whirlwind ride. It’s hard to put into words really. I’ve been involved in everything from setting up a newsroom for the agency to creating campaigns for various brands. Creating social content to doing fashion photo-shoots. It has been an incredible experience working in a place where I never actually know what each day is going to bring.

Q: If you could create an OPR survival kit, which 5 items would you include?

  • A bottle of Jameson to help you get through the late nights
  • A book that taught you a sense of humour in case you lack it
  • A music playlist that only featured Drake because obviously
  • A 4 pack of Red Bull because sometimes the world of PR moves too fast
  • Lastly, a dictionary because typos in our world means death.

Q: Who is your “ad-crush” and why?

It’s not Brittney Kok because she’s the worst.

Q: During your 6 months, name one high and one low while being at OPR.

A high would be winning the Times Creative Challenge, definitely. A low would be a particularly frustrating client presentation.

Q: How much caffeine do you need to get through a typical day?

2 cups a day. Excluding my daily Red Bull.


Conn Bertish – creative strategist, cancer survivor, and then some.

We recently had former adman and all-round inspirational guy, Conn Bertish, host a How To Friday at the office.

Conn Bertish is the former ECD at Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT and Quirk; and more recently, the founder of the Cancer Dojo. He came to chat to us about the disease that changed his life in a way you can’t imagine.

Have a look at his story:

He also took some time to answer a few questions…

1. Since your diagnosis have you had any crazy YOLO (yes, we can say YOLO here) moments?

I do, every six months, but they’re called MRI scans. They are true perspective YOLO moments that last about 25 minutes while fully immersed in an MRI machine scanning tube that checks for signs of cancer in my brain. I used to fear them, but have learned to really appreciate the 25 minutes of true perspective of what’s important, and what is not. It’s amazing how much crap we worry about, that we shouldn’t.

2. If you could describe your journey in 10 words, how would you do it? (or draw it if you like)

It’s just begun – stay tuned @connbertish or @cancerdojo.

3. What would you like your tomb stone to say about you?

Led an extraordinary life. Affected the world positively. Had lots of fun. 

happy people harder to kill

4. Your illustration above says “Happy people are harder to kill.” What would your main tips be for people to start living happier lives?

  • Follow your gut. 
  • Play more. 
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  • Get rid of baggage that holds you back.
  • Love humans and nature.
  • Scare yourself on a regular basis.
  • Go surfing.

5. What is your 5 year plan?

Change the way the world views cancer and healing. Stay tuned…

Find out more about the Cancer Dojo here.  


Castle Lite breaks the ice

Castle Lite is known for having a continuously fresh approach to branding and their latest campaign was no different. ‘Ziyabanda‘ is the first track to be recorded at the sub-zero temperature of -2.5°C and comes courtesy of Castle Lite, the only beer lagered at – you guessed it – minus two point five. If you’re wondering how this is possible: the beats are made out of ice.

The video, featuring South African hip hop star Stilo Magolide, was directed by Lebogang Rasethaba who has been documenting the music scene for the last few years. This hard hitting track will definitely get you prematurely ready for summer.

Watch it here:


  • Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town
  • Production Company: Arcade Content
  • Directed by: Lebogang Rasethaba
  • Shot by: Rory O’Grady
  • Edited by: Julian Redpath