The art of an influencer

By Tassin Albertyn

Today I sit, barely 31, reflecting on my life and an experience that took place 20 plus years ago and all I keep asking myself is how could a child possibly know the magnitude of such an event? Well, I have learnt over the years that when you are that young your mind perceives such influential people with pure emotion. I have realised that the art of an influencer is subtle; they speak a language that science cannot speak. My story begins with such a person, so let me tell you the story of my encounters with greatness.

Before we all knew what was really happening, there were a group of people following the right people. These individuals knew greatness before we could even comprehend what was really in motion and I was fortunate enough to be related to one of them. My aunt, the late, Virginia Engel was Nelson Mandela’s personal secretary. I remember the call like it was yesterday, she knew I was a borderline fanatic of Michael Jackson and at the time he was scheduled to visit one of his hero’s all the way from America which happened to be our then president Nelson Mandela. It was strange that she was telling my mom this and calling unexpectedly, and then she asked the question that every fan dreams of… Would you mind if Tassin accompanies Michael Jackson on a tour around Parliament?

The flood of emotion filled every iota of my body. If you knew my aunt you would know that this was unethical to her. To this day her incredible kids have had few, if any, experiences similar because she served our country with the same values that our late president did.

The day arrived and evidently I wore my best interpretation of Michael Jackson attire which at the time was all my parents could afford. My parents who were both working had asked my grandfather to escort me to parliament and make sure that I didn’t make a total fool of myself on the tour. I was extremely close with my grandfather; he was a legend to many and was the perfect person to share this with. We parked outside of the parliament and approached security. I remember feeling the most surreal emotions; we were transported from the public gates by a dark vehicle that would take us to the door of the prestigious parliament building.

My aunt stood at the entrance waiting and said in the most professional tone, “Tassin I’d like you to meet President Nelson Mandela”.  I looked up at this figure that I can only describe as infinitely boundless. His mere existence filled the room and he embraced me with the sense of protection that only a sincere soul could translate without words. Up to that point I was consumed with the idea of meeting my idol, the man who sang the truth. What I did not expect was meeting the man who was responsible for influencing the mindset of millions. Nelson Mandela was effortless in his thought process; he spoke with such purpose that even witnessing small talk between him and Michael Jackson seemed significant. I remember sitting in his office, just the five of us, Madiba, Michael, Michael’s parents and little old me and although I could not comprehend the conversation, I knew that day that I was in the company of the world’s greatest influencers.

The rest of the afternoon I expected to be asked to leave but instead I walked the hallways of parliament in-between Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela while he explained the history and visions he had for our country. I was in total ore the entire time and even though I was an insignificant child, in the presence of greatness they constantly made sure I was included. It was an intimate experience that shaped who I am in so many ways that cannot be articulated.

I recollect the smells and history that I saw walking through the corridors of Parliament with immense pride in our people. I can undoubtedly say that the art of influencers will stay with me throughout my life. These people have shaped us on every level and are responsible for what we are today. To the influencers which are the parents, the aunts, the presidents, the idols, the husbands, the children and the fellow citizens of South Africa… we were blessed to live in a time of legends. They have built the foundation that we need to enhance every day and they will be a part of our legacy for eternity!


A Tribute To Bob Rightford

By Brian Searle-Tripp

Bob Rightford, you made work, respect, soul, toughness, pride, commitment – and a promise – to truly mean something.  I will remember your big heart, big soul, big hunger, big love.  Bob Rightford, I owe you my life.

By Roger Makin

Bob Rightford was my mentor, my partner, my role model and above all, my friend.  I owe so much to him that I cannot fully express my thanks and my good fortune for having met him.

I first worked with Bob at the advertising agency De Villiers and Schonfeldt, where he was MD. Thanks to him, the Cape Town company was growing rapidly, and late nights at the office were commonplace.  One evening we were due to have a new business presentation the next morning, and the creative studio was working flat out to meet the deadline.  Bob’s report for the presentation was finished and typed; his work was done and he could easily have gone home to his family.  Instead he went out and brought back steak rolls for everybody in the studio, and joined us for a late-night picnic. I remember thinking: “I’d be happy to keep working for a man like this.”

And so it happened, and I thank my lucky stars for my many years with Bob at Rightford Searle-Tripp & Makin, and beyond. He enriched so many lives, especially mine.

Straight outta Azaadville

By Safaraaz Sindhi, Creative Group Head at Ogilvy Cape Town

Before I started in advertising I was just a kid from a tiny, little town in the West Rand of Johannesburg called Azaadville. Where I come from the only music you could get your hands on was rap music and the only movies you’d ever watch were the skop skiet en donner action movies tonight on e. (You read that in his voice, right?) Where I come from you grow up to become a doctor or a lawyer if you’re lucky, if you’re unlucky you run your dad’s motorcar spares shop and if you’re really, really just shit out of luck, you’d get a job at the Oriental Plaza. For me, that was life.
So, when I walked into my first ad agency in 2010, in a predominantly white male industry, it wasn’t the colour of the skin of the people I worked with that intimidated me, it was their knowledge of popular culture. My gut reaction was, yikes! Am I going to make it? And no, not just because I was a few shades darker than everyone else – it was more because I wasn’t prepared – I wasn’t equipped to write witty ads that made references to cult films that everyone else’s award-winning ads did. You want to hear a secret? Before I started out in advertising I didn’t even know who Wes Anderson was. I’d never heard a song by the Beatles and I honestly cared very little about Chuck Palahniuk. I didn’t know it back then but my lack of knowledge on these subjects is what would give me my edge in the industry. You see, I could have gone out and read a bunch of books, listened to some music and spent my weekends watching their movies, but I soon figured that I didn’t need to do that to tell stories. I figured, that to tell stories in the ads I made I didn’t need to know everything they knew, I just needed to know everything they didn’t. My different view of the world allowed me to bring fresher insights into my work, it allowed me to solve problems differently, be more relevant and most importantly I could speak to the markets I advertised to in a language they could understand, because in most cases, I was the market.
We live in a diverse country – we have eleven different languages and we’re the proverbial cultural melting pot of the continent – yet all of our advertising looks, sounds and feels the same. We’ve got to ask ourselves, why is this happening? We have so many of our own stories to tell, so much of our own cultural richness to expose but instead we create work that resembles advertising from different continents to such an extent that international award shows could never tell us apart. We need to create an identity that represents our diversity. And if for nothing else, therein lies the reason for transformation.
And transformation isn’t just about bringing black talent or female talent into our agencies, it’s so much more than that. It’s about teaching them how to harness their own knowledge and their own personal experiences into great advertising, and when agencies realise the power in doing that for their brands, perhaps one day a TV ad written in vernacular will win a Grand Prix at Cannes.

Ogilvy Johannesburg 2017 Christmas Party

To the nights that turned into mornings, and the friends that turned into family. The 2017 Ogilvy Johannesburg Christmas Party was unquestionably a night to remember. In most cases, cops and robbers would not be seen in the same place, as for criminals, their home is generally a jail cell unless still on the loose! LOL. In this case however, things were slightly different (as per the usual Ogilvy culture).

After a hard long year, the end of year party was the perfect time to sit back and relax while having a drink amongst friends surrounded by good vibes, great music and some killer outfits. In an environment that allows us to be who we are, share our uniqueness and motivates us to create great work, no one knew the rhythm that certain people had contained.

Dominic Shwarz was the talk of the town with his slaying dance moves!

Not too sure whether they knew where the camera was LOL!!

Don’t be fooled, they were ready to start handing out fines.


If you were not a part of the night, catch a sneak peak above!

For more pictures, follow our Facebook page using the link below:

‘From the Lion’s mouth’ with Mo, Dave, Tammy

Molefi Thulo, David Krueger and Tammy Ratter (Mo, Dave and Tammy) are the kick ass creative team behind Ogilvy’s Grand Prix winning radio campaign for KFC. The ‘Sad Man Meal’ campaign – for the KFC Double Down burger – also raked in Gold and Bronze Lions at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. We wanted to take a behind the scenes look at what it takes to become a winning creative team, so we sat down with this powerhouse trio to find out what makes them tick.

Q: How does it feel to win one of the most coveted accolades in advertising?

To win a Cannes Grand Prix the first time is amazing, but to win it for the third time is absolutely astounding. We feel grateful, “#blessed” and encouraged to keep working our butts off.

Q: What do you think made the campaign stand out?

The campaign drew inspiration from real life and human insight. We think that a lot of people can resonate with what the guys are saying in these commercials and if none of these scenarios have happened to you, you surely know someone that this has happened to. We deliberately used non professional voiceover artists to give that genuine feel.

Q: How do you guys work as a team?

Three individuals from different backgrounds coming together to have fun while producing work. We actually believe that our strength as a team lies in our diversity and our enthusiasm for humour – we love clowning around.

Q: When do you know you’ve come up with a winning campaign?

One never does know. You just have a feeling, but even then awards are a lottery. You just have to get your idea to the best possible standard and after that it’s in the judges’ hands.

The best work, in our opinion, should elicit a genuine gut reaction. It’s work you never tire of seeing or hearing again and again.

Q: Do you think there’s a formula for producing award-winning creative work?

We could tell you that it’s 90% perspiration, but we don’t want anyone grossing their colleagues at the office (lol). The goal should be to make people feel something when they interact with your work.

Let’s remember judges are human beings, they want to see fresh ideas that “jump” from the page or screen and affect them personally.

Q: What does a day in the life of [Mo/Dave/Tammy] look like?

Tammy: Our day usually starts with a list of what we’re supposed to do. Then we talk about what we’re supposed to do. Then we watch funny videos. Talk more about what we need to do. Then Dave and I take turns panicking, and we finally start working. Mo joins us when we talk crap for a bit and laugh. Then carry on working.

David: Wake up at before traffic o’clock to get to work because I live in Pretoria. Do some embarrassing exercises because I had a back op and now I have a weak spine. Yes. Then eat breakfast and start working. When people start arriving at work I distract as many of them as I can from doing their work. I mostly do that by scheduling meetings to talk about things that concern me. Like the fact that there are no dustbins in any of the meeting rooms.

Mo: I wake up in the morning and do a bit of meditation. Ok I don’t, would like to. I usually sit in front of the tv with my cereal bowl and switch between BBC and CNN. Then I’ll blast hip hop all the way to the office where I’ll join Dave and Tam and we’ll talk nonsense till a great idea emerges.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents? What are they?

Mo: I can impersonate people. Give me anyone at the office and I’ll impersonate them. I find humans interesting. No one is safe around me.

David: Talent is a stretch. I’m taking piano lessons and recently finished my grade three exams with a whole bunch of 8 year olds. They can be quite mean sometimes.

Tammy: Probably not really a talent, but I have under active tear ducts so tears never stream down my face when I cry. That’s actually quite sad.

 Q: How often do you people watch (if at all)? Do you consider it creepy?

Tammy: All.The.Time.

Mo: A lot. People are awesome to watch. I plan on writing a book one day, observing people gives me material.

David: I watch and then make up a story about them and why they’re here and then try to work out if they’re secretly stalking that other person who is actually hiding their true love for the fruit and veg guy over there? Yip. I love people watching. And then story making for the people I’m watching.

Q: Are there any pop culture trends that you don’t get the point of?

Tammy: Nervous to say anything in case it’s not a trend.

David: Ja, the one were the guy says to his friend, “I see you’re not wearing a helmet?” and the friend is like, “wha…” and then the first guy slaps him on the forehead. That’s a weird one. I like it but it’s weird.

Mo: Planking. Don’t get it. But guess it has to be good for strengthening your core muscles.

Q: What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?

David: I think in the beginning I made things very complicated. I thought that the more complicated it was, the more clever it was. So now I’m a lot more simple. In every sense.

Tammy: I’ve always struggled with detail. It’s been and still is a journey.

Mo: I can be a control freak at times. So I’ve had to learn to take it easy and trust in others and the process. Not that I didn’t trust others… you know what I mean.