Volkswagen hits the road

Ogilvy Cape Town, together with longstanding client Volkswagen SA, has created a commercial that tells a truly South African story in an authentic way.

The five day long shoot captures the story of two unconnected families continuously crossing paths in their road trip from Johannesburg to Buffelsbaai, and finding their mutual connection along the way.

The commercial went live today. Check it out here:

Tseliso, the soon to be, #MannesInCannes

Case studies came after sliced bread/ I swipe left/ WTF is a Digital Prophet?

On the 735th day, just after some other chap invented sliced bread, David Droga said, “Let there be case studies” and advertising award shows have never been the same since. Later on, in 2006, he helped Marc Ecko tag Air Force One in a grainy internet video that completely shattered my view of what constituted advertising. Enough about David Droga for now. Let’s talk about me. It’s been ten years since that enlightenment and four days before I get on a plane to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. You see, I’m escorting a few case studies of our own, to be held up and judged in the frequently harsh light of international creativity standards.

It will only be my second trip to Cannes, the first having been five years ago. A quick read through the official site tells me a lot has changed since then. For starters the festival’s dictionary of buzzwords has grown fatter to include phrases like Big Data, Content, immersive and VR. I also notice that CD and ECD are no longer at the top of the acronym food chain. These have been discarded for the more important sounding CMO, CCO and CEO variants. Someone has shifted the goalposts. I have title envy.

As part of my preparation, which has so far included sorting out Visas and evicting a flu virus from my body, I also decide to get with the times and download the official Cannes Lions app. On the setup screen, I keep swiping left to get to the following page while the “next” button at the bottom just waits patiently for me to get it together. I think it knows I’m from Africa. My login attempt also gets rejected. So I choose the face-saving “not now” option and get through to the home screen. “Welcome to Inspiration” it declares. I’m in.

There are three tabs to choose from on the welcome page. Who’s speaking. What’s on when. Choose a cause. I’m intrigued, so I click on the third. The cause is fighting for gender equality by helping to shatter the deep-rooted stereotypes that exist in marketing. It’s is a worthy one and one of many that the festival has thrown its might behind over the years.

Next I click on the “Who’s speaking” tab and find myself scrolling down pages and pages of what could be the ultimate dinner conversation bucket list. I swipe past a Sci-fi author, a clinical psychology professor and a “Digital Prophet” in under three seconds. There’s an astronaut, a professional wrestler, Usher and The Fresh Prince of Belair himself. I also count Oliver Stone, Gilles Peterson and Gwyneth Paltrow among the list of celebrities taking to the stage this year. I make a mental note to avoid all talks by advertising people. Except for Nunu Ntshingila, my ex-boss, now Director of Africa at Facebook. And of course David Droga.

My last stop on the Cannes Lions app home screen is the “What’s On When” tab. This is where I get to plan my inspiration regiment for the next two weeks. Judging by the sheer amount of stuff happening, an overdose is not unlikely.

Ambiguous metaphors aside this year’s festival promises to buzz with creative energy. From inside the Palais des Festivals, where the judging and awarding of work will happen, to all the tech company beach activations along the French Riviera, it seems likely too much to take in.

Finally, I exit the app and think about what I’m personally looking forward to. Seeing how South African work holds up next to the best from all over the world will no doubt be a highlight. I’m particularly keen to see how our we do against work like:

Volvo’s innovation project, “Highway Robbery”


Apple Music’s YouTube breaking “Taylor vs Treadmill”


The hilarious Christmas campaign from Currys PC World featuring Jeff Goldblum


Save The Children’s hard hitting film about the plight of child refugees


And this really simple but undeniably cool ad for The Grammy’s featuring Kendrick Lamar

In the meantime, I wish everyone making plans to go on advertising’s yearly pilgrimage the best of luck. Everyone except for David Droga. He doesn’t need it apparently.


A suitcase labelled ‘Forced Removal’

If apartheid had forced you to pack in a hurry, what would you have taken?

That was the very real dilemma faced 50 years ago by 60 000 people when Cape Town’s District Six infamously was declared a ‘whites only’ area.

In 1966 the residents of District Six, a mixed area in the heart of the city, were forcibly moved to remote and barren areas on the Cape Flats. They were given little warning of their eviction and many left with little more than a single suitcase.

To help the District Six Museum mark this important anniversary, Ogilvy Cape Town used the symbol of the suitcase as a way of telling the stories of those whose lives were so brutally disrupted.

Working with the museum and with some of the remaining evictees, Ogilvy CT found several vintage 1960’s suitcases and filled them with items from the era including personal items, books, clothing, valuables, actual photographs and apartheid-era identity documents with racial designations like ‘Cape Coloured’ and  ‘Bantu’.

These suitcases were placed on the international and domestic baggage carousels at Cape Town International Airport where they were exposed to a captive audience of 23 000 people per day.


Custom-made luggage tags, each telling an individual eviction story and offering a discount on entry to the museum, were tied onto incoming suitcases.  Ogilvy also took some of the original District Six evictees to the airport to share their stories with visitors one-on-one.

District Six_K_L6136_ISOv2 District Six_K_L6138_ISOv2

G&T and Chill

High res logoSimon Von Witt, the founder of The Woodstock Gin Co.,and his team will be at the agency tomorrow, 20 May, to host their very first How To Friday session.

Their story first began in 2012 when Simon realised he had a knack and passion for producing fine liqueurs. Being adventurous by nature, Simon began experimenting with a variety of different botanicals to produce a high quality South African gin. Simon’s passion for the environment, knowledge of local fynbos and indigenous plant species, along with assistance from a well informed source enabled him to gauge the correct ratios of botanicals and create Woodstock Gin Company’s Inception

2nd packaging wine

We had a chat with Simon who had the following to say: “I absolutely love Limoncello, and after teaching English in Italy for a year, I really wanted to bring it back to SA and make it here. After playing around with liqueurs for a few years, we decided to make a gin and never gave up until we got it right.”

What were some of the highs you have experienced?

  • Making that first sale at a market
  • Getting repeat orders from private clients
  • Receiving praise from chefs and distillers
  • Our first export order
  • Selling 1700 bottles in a month

“But I must say that winning an independent tasting competition against three top gins was definitely one of the biggest highlights to date.”

And the lows?

  • Waiting 8 months for a licence,
  • 5 months for a warehouse number,
  • Monthly cash flow,
  • Running out of juniper berries,
  • Power outages

And of course we had to ask… What is your favourite gin combo?

“Inception beer distilled with orange rind and cinnamon bark, however, The Gin Bar’s Ambition a close second.”





UCOOK’s recipe to success

This coming Friday we have the team from UCOOK at the agency hosting their very first How To Friday session. The idea behind the brand is for you to select your preferred meal of choice, the team then handpicks the ingredients from local farmers and suppliers, perfectly portions and packages them in a box, and delivers it straight to your door with all the necessary step-by-step instructions and recipe cards. Sounds good, right? But before we get carried away, let’s get to know them and what the road to success has been like. This is what co-founder Chris Verster Cohen had to say:

The idea for UCOOK came about when “a bunch of aimless youths, with dreams of independence and tech grandeur stumbled upon, ‘one of the most convoluted and multi-faceted business models to date’. The model had done exceptionally well overseas, harnessed by an amalgamation of Ivy league graduates, with real expertise and serious IQs”

“Our team, with the courage only found in ignorance, thought they could replicate the success of the dinner-kit giants abroad. To date, we have made more mistakes than excel could compute, learnt more than we ever thought and, for the first time, look to be making a success of things”

Well, nobody said starting your own business would be easy. What have been some of the high’s and low’s?


  1. Moving out of one of the founding member’s parents’ garage
  2. Hitting 1000 meals delivered monthly
  3. Securing our first successful investment round

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  1. Delivering our first batch of boxes without any recipe cards…the customer confusion was rampant
  2. Our website was deleted whilst trying to upload new functionality…. it was a long two days of sleepless activity before it went live again
  3. An early investment presentation was going brilliantly until one of the prospective investors who seemed ready, check book in hand, asked how many customers we had…. the answer at the time being 25.This setback made for a short presentation.

What does the future look like for UCOOK, let’s say, in the next five years?

“UCOOK would like to be up into Africa, disrupting the traditional grocery environment and pushing the farm to fork philosophy, with the help of rural farmers and local communities.”

And lastly, how would you rate the teams cooking skills?

“The teams cooking skills are varied, but the cooking environment in the office is one of heated competition. We all take turns to test the dishes curated by the chefs to make sure that they do not require serious kitchen aptitude.”

To find out more about the UCOOK brand, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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