An Officer and a gentlemen


There are so many people who can attest to Graham’s ability to do whatever it took to deliver creative excellence and to initiate campaigns that made business sense as well. However, over and above this he always remained a true, charming gentleman.

Looking at the posts and condolences on various Facebook pages it is abundantly clear that Graham touched many lives in the advertising world, as a mentor, a gentle giant, a leader, a creative force, a pillar of strength and a friend.

Graham spent just over 20 years at Ogilvy and the Cashbuild@Ogilvy team were fortunate enough to enjoy the last five years with Graham as our Creative Director. His input was invaluable and changed the course of Cashbuild’s advertising.

Our client fell in love with not only the concepts that Graham created but also his ability to make unparalleled sound effects when presenting radio and TV scripts. His rendition of the Cashbuild radio tag will forever be etched in our memories and has become the standard in Cashbuild presentations.

Graham was more than just an ‘adman’, he was also an incredible father, brother, uncle, a builder and prospective guest house owner.  He spent the last few years of his life building a tree house which was designed to provide unique guest accommodation.  This was to be his retirement project. He wasn’t afraid to literally get his hands dirty and often arrived at work with cuts, grazes and bruises he attributed to manual labour.

One a more personal note and one which I think sums up the fun loving man Graham was, he joined me as a dance partner when no-one else would rise to the challenge.  We had dance lessons together every week and he became quite the kizomba dancer much to his daughters’ amazement.  (For those of you who aren’t familiar with this form of dance, it is a Congolese/Angolan form of Salsa/Argentine tango and the hottest addition to the dance world.) Graham embraced this challenge with swaying hips and complicated footwork like a true dance pro.

There are so many more anecdotes and stories that his colleagues and family would be able to add to this tribute but I think we agree that Graham was an all round extraordinary man who lived life to its fullest and gave his all to everything he embarked on.

Graham, we salute you for the massive 45 year contribution you made to the advertising industry , for your commitment to Ogilvy for the past 20 years and for the difference you made to businesses, clients and all the people you met along the way.

Rest in peace Great Man! You will be sorely missed!

New to the Ogilvy Creatives. Introducing “Beard & Moustache”

Q: Beard and Moustache; that’s enough to catch your attention! How did the duo come about?

Drew: We first met up at Umuzi – an institution that seeks to develop young, black, creative talent. We did our internship at the same ad agency and then we ended up becoming a creative team. I’ve got a beard and Sims has got a moustache. The obvious (but not so obvious) name to give our “brand” was ‘Beard & Moustache’.

Q: What made you want to join the Ogilvy family and where do you fit in?

Simphiwe: I think Ogilvy presents any creative with a huge opportunity to do great work. We’re hungry to create great work. I’m an Art Director.

Drew: Who wouldn’t want to join the top agency in the country? I’m a copywriter.

Q: Is keeping up with the beards a lot of work?

Simphiwe: I’ve got a struggling beard (hardly anything) so not really. I do have a moustache though. I can’t shave it because it’s part of my brand now. It can sometimes be annoying.

Drew: Not really. Just a bit of shea butter every morning and I’m good to go. On the other hand, keeping up with the team (Beard & Moustache) can be too much. We fight a lot. People always joke and say that we act like a married couple. We’ve got totally opposing personalities so we kinda balance each other out. It also makes for great work.

Q: What do you love most about being a creative?  

Simphiwe & Drew: The fulfilment we get from creating work is probably what we love the most. Seeing work from conceptualisation through to execution, plus all the drama and emotions in-between is the stuff we live for.

Q: What were your thoughts on day 1 walking into Ogilvillage?

Simphiwe: I come from a mid-sized agency so I thought it’s huge, really huge. It’s also very vibey. I like the buzz in the studio.

Drew: I was like “Chill, why are y’all so friendly?” People were so welcoming. I legit thought it was all pretence at first, but I’ve come to realise that it’s genuinely how people here are. There’s an overwhelming sense of family and I feel like I’ve been welcomed right in with open arms.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you have met so far?

Simphiwe: Andile. Chill a few minutes with him and you’ll surely be in stitches.

Drew: David from the Digital Media team. I met him during our induction last week. I found his quirky personality and his childlike curiosity to be quite fascinating. He reminded me of what we should be as creatives – childlike and inquisitive.

Q: If you are not busy being an Ogilvilian – where would we find you

Simphiwe: On the road cycling, running, or on a soccer field. On Instagram you can find me at @SKkhumalo

Drew: Probably somewhere snapping cool pics… or chilling on the Instagram streets. Catch me at – @iDREWitZA


Finalists–Bookmarks 2012


Last night the 2012 Bookmark awards shortlist was announced, Ogilvy & Mather South African currently has 23 finalists in the running (6 for Johannesburg, and 17 for Cape Town). The Bookmarks are South Africa’s Digital Awards, recognizing and rewarding results in digital publishing and agencies. Below is a list of the short listed results from Ogilvy, just click on the links below to see the work, or if you want to see the full list go to

Core Awards – Websites/Microsites/Mobisites – Government, Public Service and Civil Society Sites (6 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Johannesburg – Add Hope Website

Core Awards – Websites/Microsites/Mobisites – Microsites (9 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Johannesburg – Add Hope Website

Core Awards – Advertising and Search – Display Advertising (17 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – Amarok Double Cab
Ogilvy Cape Town – Audi A5 – Sharper News
Ogilvy Cape Town – Explore Tab
Ogilvy Cape Town – Golf Cabriolet – “Scroll Up”
Ogilvy Johannesburg – KFC Tower Raiders

Core Awards – Social, Community and PR – Social Media Properties (14 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – The World’s First Alien Abduction Flavoured Gum
Social@Ogilvy – Castle Lager Social Media Relaunch

Core Awards – Social, Community and PR – Social Media Campaigns (33 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – The World’s First Alien Abduction Flavoured Gum
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest
Ogilvy Cape Town – YouTube Interventions
Ogilvy Johannesburg – Miller Music Tour West

Core Awards – Games – Games (6 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest

Core Awards – Online Video and Audio – Online Video (7 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – The World’s First Alien Abduction Flavoured Gum Campaign
Ogilvy Cape Town – YouTube Interventions
Ogilvy Johannesburg – Doing More

Core Awards – Integrated / Mixed Media – Integrated Digital Marketing / Campaigns (13 shortlisted)
Ogilvy Cape Town – The World’s First Alien Abduction Flavoured Gum
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest

Craft Awards – Interface, Interaction, Navigation, UX (10)
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest

Craft Awards – Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation (12)
Ogilvy Cape Town – Golf Cabriolet – “Scroll up”
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest

Craft Awards – Tech. Innovation (12)
Ogilvy Cape Town – Volkswagen Street Quest

Fran Luckin: Creative Freedom

Freedom wallFran Luckin is the Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy Johannesburg.

This is the time when we celebrate freedom, in all its manifestations. For people like me, Fran Luckinwho work in an industry whose life-blood is creativity, freedom is no less a serious business than it is for anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong when I talk about the desire for more creative freedom.  Parenting manuals (and, probably, more than a few parents) will tell you that total freedom is not a good thing. There need to be boundaries.

A misconception I encounter often, and that that never seems to die, is that great creative people are free-spirited, mercurial, bong-toting beings, as hard to pin down as tiny bashful woodland creatures, who detest rules and discipline, and need to be given enormous rein and scope to ramble about, chasing the Muse.

This is, frankly, rubbish. The best creative people I know are also the most disciplined people I know, with the focus and commitment of endurance athletes.

They know that coming up with a great creative solution requires hours of being chained to a desk, and that having an idea is only the start of a long, arduous process in which the idea has to be hammered out, torture-tested, translated into every possible medium – sometimes only to be dropped, after all that, in favour of another, completely new, idea.

The creative freedom that I – and all of the really good creative people I know – crave, is simply this: the freedom to think about the problem differently.

It can be enormously frustrating to be given a business problem to solve,  only to find out the media agency has already solved it by buying 30 second radio ads and quarter-page magazine ads.

Fortunately, there is a strategic shift taking place in the world, in which creative thinking is beginning to rise to the top of the marketing hierarchy.

Design thinking, as it’s called, has emerged from the fringes and been embraced by P&G, Kimberley-Clark, Kraft and Johnson and Johnson. It is what happens when companies realize that not only could they benefit from better product design, but that they might also gain competitive advantage from using the methodology of designers and creative people themselves.

Tim Brown“Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the (product) development process.. the “pretty wrapper” at the end,”  according to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, the Palo Alto design company that is arguably the most influential in this movement, and the godfather of design thinking.

According to Brown, by around 2000 marketers started to recognize that competition was resulting in parity of quality between every major brand in a given category.

This left only three options: compete on price, innovate faster than the competition or create more unique experiences that consumers could have with brands. Since price wars are ultimately unwinnable, focus naturally fell on the latter two. And that’s where the window of opportunity is for designers and creative people.

Where marketers emphasise charts and data, and generally practise inductive thinking (if x. then y), designers and creative people employ a method that Todd Wasserman, business editor of Mashable, calls “abductive thinking”  – taking a creative leap that attempts to solve a problem in previously unforeseen ways.

But enough already with the theory. Here’s a concrete example.

In 2002, Coca-Cola increased its sales by 10% – a significant figure in any industry, and even more so in an industry where a CEO’s career can be made or lost over one or two share points.

This sales increase was achieved, not through a massive media blitz, nor through the introduction of Vanilla Coke – but through package design. Coke fridge pack

Specifically, the Fridge Pack:  a package that stacks 12 cans in a way that takes up minimal room on the fridge shelf, with an opening that dispenses one can at a time.

How did Coca-Cola come by this innovation, which it calls “the greatest innovation since the contoured plastic bottle was introduced 20 years ago”?  The solution came from outside: from Alcoa, manufacturer of the aluminium used to make cans, and Riverwood International, a company that designs and manufactures cardboard packaging.

These two companies organized a brainstorm with engineers, researchers and marketers, where they literally spent a day huddled around a refrigerator, looking for the best way to fit a 12-pack into it.

They were practicing “abductive thinking.” As outsiders, they had license to think about the problem of selling more Coca-Cola in a different way.  They put themselves into the consumers’ lives and asked: what is the consumer’s experience of the product beyond the store shelf, beyond the taste of the product?

Their investigations revealed that the 12-pack the industry had been using up until then was like a suitcase -it was too bulky to fit into a refrigerator, so people would put a couple of cans in the fridge, then put the pack, with the remaining cans, in the cupboard.

When all the cold cans were used, people would choose another cold drink from the refrigerator instead of getting out another Coke from the package in the cupboard.  The Fridge Pack meant that all twelve cans could fit neatly in the fridge.  The dispenser was easy to use and convenient. Voila – a 10% increase in sales.

The Coca Cola example is one demonstration of the fact that people outside of a company are ideally positioned to see the company’s challenges in a unique way.

Creative agencies and design companies, who have the benefit of an intimate relationship with a company without the potential hindrance of being located within it, have the power to see the problem from the inside and the outside.

And they have the methodologies that enable them to think disruptively, “abductively” – to use insight to take a leap beyond the problem to a solution no one had seen before. 

In short: it’s time creative people were given the freedom to act as the disruptive innovators they have all the potential to be.  So hold the hallucinogenics and give me the freedom to be a co-creator. That’s my kind of high.