say_helloSo Day One was undoubtedly about embracing the process of creating and everything that comes with it. Today, speakers once again made reference to understanding the context of the work you’re creating, but the focus fell heavily on trans-media creatives. People who transcend the normal boundaries we set for what a particular designer should or can do.

The day started with an intimate look at the obsessive collecting habits of Steven Heller. He has single-handedly chronicled the growth of design through more than 150 books on the subject. He freely admits that he’s trying to justify his collecting compulsion by saying that it’s about “understanding what visual code needs to be cracked for successful consumption”. Whether that does the trick in explaining the impressive selection of Mao figurines (above) he’s amassed we’ll leave up to your own collecting urges to judge.

There’s also an element of lifting seemingly “low art” to a higher level. He argues that mass produced porcelain figurines will possibly be revealed as the modern day version of Greek sculpture. And we tend to believe him.

A lot of mention was made today about work growing from passion. Some things are hard to sell to clients as ideas or prototypes, and as Jeanne van Heeswijk pointed out, we have to “commission ourselves”. Heller loves counter culture publishing, because he says they’re all “acts of passion”. The same goes for the logo and menu designs that his wife, Louise Fili creates. She loves food and type, so she’s carved out a niche for herself where she can live these two passions in her daily work. She says that even if you’ve got a full-time job, doing personal work and projects is essential to finding your own voice.

It might’ve been all the passion talk or perhaps just the conviction and bravery of Jeanne van Heeswijk, but her talk was as emotionally stirring as it was a rousing call to arms. “The artist has to decide whom to serve,” she said and it became very clear that she serves the communities that desperately need her help. Through seemingly simple co-opts and working together, she helps some of the most neglected and forgotten communities open a debate on who’s job it actually is to take care of the spaces they inhabit. Inevitably, the answer is that it’s up to each of us, and us as a collective.

She’s brave in her defiance of regulations and norms – suggesting that together a community can come up with better policies than the ones created for us by government, correctly surmising that housing is the battlefield of our time.

Chef Alex Atala spoke beautifully about his evident love for Brazilian food. To him, innovation is creating something surprising. Something you know, but it still surprises you. This idea was echoed by Asif Khan who “discovered” his Cloud Machine while playing with his kids at bath time. By combining helium and bubble bath, he created these magical clouds:

“Sometimes you have a hunch that combining things in a new way will result in something beautiful. And then you just go and try it out. Act on hunches,” was his advice.

Nicholas Hlobo did a performance piece after lunch, leaving everyone absolutely quiet and eyes glued to the stage. It might sound a bit over-the-top, but many delegates described it as a near-spiritual experience. He is undoubtedly one of the most honest, talented and relevant artists we have in South Africa.

What is interesting is that he turned the usual formula of an informally presented collection of ideas on its head. Through hauntingly beautiful music (with him singing) he projected images and text on the screen. These told his story and touched on some of his convictions in such an honest an relatable way, interspersed with imagery of his art. Woven into this visually engrossing tapestry was snippets of meaning and interpretations on both his Xhosa culture and his art.

Initially he was nowhere to be seen on stage, but he lowered himself down to the stage in a womb or calabash-like shaped shroud – all the while singing. Essentially, he never spoke a word, yet his was by far the most inspiring and appreciated talk of the day. As a local artist, he surpassed everything that seasoned and internationally acclaimed presenters and public speakers did before – connecting with people on an emotional and intellectual level like no one else has managed to do.

The last speaker of the day confirmed the idea of extending your skills and thoughts to as many different spheres as you can. Thinking broadly, educating yourself and never losing your sense of awe in simple things are some of the qualities that came through in Daan Roosegaarde’s talk. He likes the idea of design scaring people a bit, making them a bit uncomfortable. At the same time he shares Jeanne’s drive for good: “Technology doesn’t have to have an Orwellian effect on our lives. It can be used in a Da Vinci-way, for helping and growing; for good.”

Lastly, all the speakers today acknowledged the fact that they cannot possibly do any of the things that they do alone. Roosegaarde summed it up nicely, saying that artists of today all work together in teams. This principle of collectivity shone through all the talks thus far in Design Indaba. Design and those plying the trade should never be seen as a thing separate from the context of where it will live; the people who’ll interact with it; or the community of experts who could contribute.

We’re geared for the last day of Design Indaba. It promises to be another riveting ride – here’s who we’re looking forward to hearing speak.

Day Three brings on a long and varied selection of speakers – sure to keep our brains functioning at a high gear as we wrap up this awesome Indaba.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg works in the space where synthetic biology and design meet. She’s worked on projects that programmes bacteria to do useful things, like determine whether water is safe to drink and even diagnose illnesses.

Matthew Carter follows hot on her heels at 9:40. If you haven’t heard of him, how about some of his work. Does Verdana, Georgia and Tahoma sound familiar? Those are all his creations – see all of them here.

At 11:30 two of the most interesting People of the Internet will be doing a joint talk. We’re talking about the awesome “proctastiworker” Jessica Hische and Marian Bantjes (above). Jessica created this incredible site explaining how Twitter works to her mother. That alone deserves a massive amount of respect. Marian is known for her intricate style of illustration.

One of the greatest minds of the advertising industry as we know it, Sir John Hegarty, will be speaking next. He’s got a long and illustrious list of accomplishments – founding BBH, coming up with Vorsprung Durch Technik, making Levi’s cool and (most importantly, we feel) essentially finding Brad Pitt. All the Team Red ladies are eternally grateful for that last fact.

Lastly, there’s our hometown boys Spoek Mathambo, Bogosi Sekhukhuni and The Smarteez. They’re sure to add a South African and distinctly Jozi spin to this internationally renowned platform.

Remember to follow the hashtag, #DesignIndaba2013, and us as we wrap up this incredible week.

Yesterday was the perfect way to kick off this incredible week of inspiration! Read our recap post about it if you’ve missed out on the live action.

Today is set to be just as thrilling with Steven Heller starting things off bright and early…or at least we will be bright once we’ve had another cup of coffee. He’s the man behind more than 150 books on design and pop culture and the daily bits of awesome called the Daily Heller. Sign up to receive this read-worthy newsletter.

At 10:50, interaction designer, Jeanne van Heeswijk, will be taking the stage. Continuing the trend from yesterday of participatory design and cultural production in an urban renewal context. One of her most recent projects is ‘Public Faculty’ that actively encourages people to express their opinions and learn from each other within a specific public locale. Read more about it on her site. Above’s a great interview with her on the topic of her most recent Public Faculty.

One of the people of the entire Indaba we’re most excited to see is definitely Nicholas Hlobo. Not only because he’s a Joburg based artist truly representing, but also because his work is so gutsy and explorative in terms of concepts and materials that he just cannot be missed. Here’s a great video profile of him:

Rounding up our list of must-see speakers is Asif Khan, the guy who designed the Coca-Cola Beatbox installation at the recent Olympics. It was the first time in Coca-Cola’s history that the global brand had commissioned a feature Olympic showcase with the absence of a single Coke logo on it – and that’s no mean feat!

Remember to follow the hashtag, #DesignIndaba2013, and us (of course) to stay in the loop with all the mind-blowing as it happens.

We’re glad to announced that we have kicked off our 2013 How To Friday schedule with style! Editor for Destiny Man and technophile Kojo Baffoe came to visit us this morning to share his thoughts on the print and digital worlds. With years of experience in both fields, he has more than enough knowledge to help us understand these two vastly different platforms.
The question burning on everyone’s mind is the outcome of the print versus digital battle. The truth of the matter is there is no battle and there is no true victor – according to Kojo the winner is content.

He argues that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to digital platforms to showcase our information, but are we using the right platforms to share this content? Too much focus is put on where content is hosted rather than how content is created.

Think of content as a lump of clay; it’s a whole lot of information that you need to sculpt into something for a specific audience. You could sculpt a flamingo or an eagle. They’re both birds, but one is just better suited for a certain target audience than the other.

We’re all working on a trial and error basis. Through social media we’re trying to figure out what platforms work with certain audiences. Some work for all, but most are target specific, which makes packaging your information key to success.

So what is the answer? Well, in short, we don’t know what is dead and what is not. We’re still trying to figure out what works best.

For more of the nuggets he shared, check out the Storify below:

Our newest ad for Cell C is all about the everyday person who uses the network. It’s a brand manifesto and their first official, non-retail, non-product brand ad in years – celebrating not just the way cellphone technology connects all of us together in inextricable ways and the role that connectivity plays in our lives; but also celebrate the people that are on Cell C’s network.

Cell C is an enabler, the only network in South Africa that is FOR the consumer, not themselves, and this ad aims to showcase the way in which all our lives are richer because of the way we can now connect, or unplug, anywhere, any time, and share those moments with whoever we choose.

The team decided not to simply cast and import the usual “perfect” models and actors. This is an ad about real people from all walks of life across the country, so they made sure that most of the casting was done in the towns and cities they were going to shoot, with the people who live there.

They also enlisted the help of Deon Wiggett to reinterpret, not just translate, the script – with some delightful results:

The Team

Creative Director – Louw le Roux

Art Director – Darryn Rogers

Copywriter – Andrew Pearson

Agency Producer – Debbie Dannheiser

Production Cpmpany – Picture Tree

Director – JH

Producer – Gary King

DOP – Werner Maritz

Earlier this year we kicked off an programme geared to find the absolute best talent available in South Africa. And that’s exactly what we found! We asked four of the tertiary institutions we have a longstanding relationships with to participate in the first ever Ogilvy Graduates Programme.

Students from the University of Cape Town (Business Science Marketing), the University of Johannesburg (Marketing), the University of Pretoria (Visual Communication) and Red and Yellow School of Logic and Magic (all faculties) were really put through their paces.

Their challenge was to create and manage, in four months, a blog on any subject and in any language, that demonstrates not only a sound knowledge of target audience and engagement tactics, but the kind of groundbreaking ideas that would impress a selection panel comprising some of the most creative and business-minded people in the industry.

In addition to the blog entries, judged by O&M South Africa leadership and a member from the faculty of the respective institution, candidates were evaluated holistically for aptitude and experience, among other criteria. Finally, shortlisted entrants were invited for interviews to assess their interpersonal skills and culture fit.

Our panel got to meet 12 of the brightest young minds stepping into the creative industry this year. We were inspired by the passion and creativity of Liesle le Roux, Kyle Sparks, Gina Lodewijks, Jessica Foce and Michael Stopforth. Angelique Bandolini, Simone Carter, Tshepo Chaka, Caprice Montepara, Keren Schwartz, Glen Bvuma and Stephanie Baker blew us away with their knowledge and strategic thinking. Go follow them, read their blogs and keep an eye on their undoubted rise to superstardom.

It took a lot of deliberation, but finally our two winners were chosen:

Tshepo Chaka, a UJ Strategic Communications student whose blog aims to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship amongst South African youth, says he most enjoyed the interactive use of various social media platforms.

Michael Stopforth, a Visual Coms student from UP, blogs about his continued efforts to become superhuman. He draws comics and believes that everyone should get off the couch and go do something new.

Our winners will continue to blog as they embark on a customised six-month training and rotation programme designed to evaluate their skills and aide their transition into the industry. On identifying their particular niche and areas of strength and passion, with guidance from peer and senior mentors, the candidates will be permanently placed in one of the Ogilvy divisions.

The winners will be introduced to all the advantages of a vibrant, creative culture, stimulating encounters with people drawn from all walks of life, training sessions, exposure to the major sub-disciplines, and the opportunity to network and fine-tune their skills within the company.

We’re super happy to welcome Michael and Tshepo to Team Red and we’re sure they’re going to fit right in.

For more on the programme, visit the site and be sure to keep an eye out for the 2013 edition!

We are often astounded by the amazing, selfless work that some people manage to do. Far too often, we complain about traffic and not getting what we wanted from the office canteen when there are those who come up against much bigger challenges during the course of a regular workday.

Our newest campaign for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) tells the story of the extraordinary work that their doctors do on a daily basis. MSF is an independent, international medical humanitarian organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and disasters across the globe. Their doctors have to deal with some of the harshest conditions to deliver medical care to those who need it most in countries where the ratio of people to doctors is as little as 1 : 50 000

Featuring real-life field footage, the ad is inspired by the documentary, Living in Emergency (2008). Directed by Mark N Hopkins, it reveals the daily lives of four MSF volunteer doctors working in treacherous conditions within the Liberian and Congolese war zones.

In addition to this footage, Deepend editor, Daniel Mitchell, spent hours trawling through MSF archival footage to find the right scenes. The ad was revised several times to showcase all the MSF activities and get the perfect mix.

In its first week of flighting on DStv, SABC and eTV, MSF recruited 166 donors through the ad, which earned an Orchid in the Saturday Star. If you want to get involved, SMS the word “Join” to 41486 to make a monthly donation of R15. You can also find out more about the incredible work MSF does on their website or by following them.

Team Credits:

Executive Creative Director: Fran Luckin

Creative Director: Mariana O’Kelly

Art Director: Michelle McKenna

Copy Writers: Michelle McKenna, Taryn Scher

Editor: Daniel Mitchell (Deepend)

Producer: Lesley Roe

Playing with your children. Riding a bike. Coming home after a long day. Moments like these are what make life worth living. But for some, this very moment might well be their last.
What if you could play a part in ensuring that there are many more such moments?

That’s what The Topsy Foundation, together with Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, have partnered to do this World AIDS Day on 1 December with their “Buy Them A Moment That Matters” campaign.

Captured in evocative photographs of real people living with HIV and AIDS in the impoverished communities Topsy serves across South Africa, these “moments” will be available to the public to purchase on either, or by sending an SMS with “TOPSY” to 39810 (in South Africa only).

All proceeds from every purchase will go towards Topsy’s life-saving treatment and care programmes, enabling the individuals it supports to continue to relive their most valued moments and fulfill their hopes and dreams.

“This campaign gives online shopping and browsing a new twist, targeting people on platforms that are exceedingly popular at this time of year and making charitable giving an integrated part of the online shopping experience,” says Nimay Parekh, Digital Group Account Director.

Saving thousands of lives over the 12 years since its inception, The Topsy Foundation is a fully-registered and internationally-respected non-profit and public benefit organisation that provides medical and social relief services from their free HIV and AIDS Care Clinic.

“The recent UNAIDS Global Report  highlights that there is a decrease HIV infection rates of up to 49%  amongst adult South Africans,” says Silvia de Jager, Topsy’s Executive Director. “That, coupled with a five-fold increase in government spending to heal the country of the disease, makes it clear that it is now essential to support organisations like Topsy to continue this positive trend.”

Launching on World AIDS Day on 1 December, the campaign will extend into 2013, giving the public further opportunities to support this cause.

From as little as R15, your donation can change lives. To buy a moment that matters right now, visit or SMS “TOPSY” to 39810 (in South Africa only).

Visit and follow or like them for more information. You can also follow the conversation around the movement #WorldAIDSDay and #EndOfAIDS.


Creative Directors: Dylan Mclean and Bridget Johnson

Art Director: Brendan Ho Yong

Copywriter: Shane Geffen

Technical Manager: Richard Knowler

Web Developers: Wesley Sharman and Leanne Grunewald

Photographer: Warren van Rensburg

Media Strategist: Brad Page

Group Account Director: Nimay Parekh

Account Directors: Georgia Matthews and Kate Turner

Social Media: Amanda Sevasti

PR: Leigh-Anne Hunter

The recent KFC campaign celebrates the aboKlevas – the dreamers, the street smarts, the savvy I’ll-make-it-happen self-starters. To aboKleva sithi Salute. “AboKleva know where they want to go and make a plan to get there,” says Creative Director, Molefi Thulo. “They may not have a Harvard education, but they’re determined to beat the odds.”

Launched in March this year, the campaign’s multiple phases highlight different angles of this theme, rolling out on various platforms, from television to building wraps, billboards and radio.

The fifth and latest campaign phase will roll out on print, radio, mobile and digital platforms, and features a special collaboration with acclaimed local musicians Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa and Mandla Spikiri Mofokeng. After all, who better epitomises aboKleva values than this dynamic duo, who have overcome setbacks to achieve considerable success in their field, turning rejection into inspiration?

Putting their heads together yet again to create something remarkable, the Kwaito and House music maestros will get summer off to a sizzling start with a new track that is as much autobiographical as it salutes aboKleva who slog away to make things happen. Fans will be able to download the track, titled “Kleva”, using a specific USSD code – give it a listen here.

“The KFC Streetwise campaign salutes the go-getters who push from nine to five and five to nine. They may not yet have attained the fame of Oskido and Spikiri, but they have their sights firmly fixed on the stars,” says Thulo.

Campaign credits
Mike Martin – Creative Director

Molefi Thulo –Creative Director

Justice Mukheli – Art Director

Lynette Ngwata – Account Director

Galaletsang Kgoathe – Copywriter

Mponeng Sedumedi – Copywriter

Nqobile Mncube – Art Director

Palesa Motiki – Copywriter

Pierre Cassuto – Group Account Director (Digital)

This weekend at TEDx Soweto, one of our Team Red stars Justice Mukheli and his I see a different you crew will be taking the stage with guys like Shaka Sisulu, filmmaker Dumisani Phakathi, architect and fine artist Lorenzo Nassimbeni and tech entrepreneur Yaron Assabi.

The conference focuses on whether or not  Africa will be able to seize the moment and find new ways to close the gaping wealth gap? Whether we’ll be succeed in harnessing renewable energies to develop in a more sustainable trajectory? Will we build a digital Ubuntu and export our ideas to the world?

It’s sure to deliver some amazing conversations – all within the brand new Soweto Theatre. Head to their site now to register before Friday.