dataOgilvy SA CEO, Abey Mokgwatsane, spoke at today’s Adnext Conference about big data and what it means for the future of communication. Here’s a transcript of his talk in case you missed anything:

“I love innovation. I consider it to be the great equaliser. Innovation brings down even the most monolithic companies and raises new ones. Innovation means that if something worked in the past, it won’t necessarily work again in the future.   There have been few innovations that have changed the trajectory of human kind – the wheel enabled mobility; paper money created a unit of exchange so people didn’t have to take their cow over the hill to get grain; the combustion engine powered cars, trains and planes.

In our life time we have also had some: the computer processing power; the internet, mobile phones and so on. I believe that there is another such innovation upon us – data.

Technology has created two fundamental changes that alter the way we generate access and leverage data. Firstly, by exponentially increasing the volume of data generated, and secondly, by making the analysis of this data stream more feasible and accessible to many more businesses.

The world’s store of data doubles every 24 months.  Every second, Google receives 2 million search queries; 48 hours of video content are uploaded onto YouTube, and over 100, 000 tweets are sent.

Social media, mobile phones and other data tools mean that billions of people on the planet leave mile-wide data trails, making for much richer data sources available than ever before.

This data explosion is coupled with our ever-increasing ability to slice and dice data. Computers are now better able to analyse the non-structured data surge, such as words, images, tweets, blogs and text messages. Whole industries are forming that help dissect this data into actionable insights.

Why is this important for what we do?

I consider all of us to be in business and businesses build brands they hope will continue to grow.  We ensure that they grow through investing in product innovation, promotion, packaging, building associations through sponsorship and so on. However, a brand can only create real competitive advantage when it has a one-on-one relationship with its consumer. One-on-one is the final competitive frontier – everything else is in parity.

It is only through one-on-one relationships that a business is able to engage in a learning relationship with a consumer and incrementally add individualised value to that consumer, thereby becoming indispensible and decreasing the potential for churn.

Data makes this possible.  And that’s the fundamental shift in our market place. Mass customisation is no longer a pipe dream.

An excellent report by IBM’s Leading through connections CEO study states that “technology has now made ‘mass customisation’ possible. Businesses now have the means to understand customers, based on actual, real-time behavior, and engage them as individuals.”

How does this change the design of the future agency?

At the moment agencies have come to terms with the fact that they are brand content providers. We take the essence of a brand and we tell its story through a narrative that manifests across different platforms.

The shift in the new world we operate in is that we now need to also focus on the one-to-one dimension of that narrative. In a way, the content sits in the cloud and we now need to build the apps that individuals download that allow consumers to experience that branded content in a way most meaningful to them.

There are 4 key implications for business

1. The one-on-one philosophy

The “one-on-one” philosophy will become pervasive throughout the organisation. The former Marketing Director of SAB, Peter McLoughklin, once asked delegates at a Marketing Sales and Distribution Conference which of them were in marketing. All the marketing delegates raised their hands in solidarity. He then pointed out to all the other delegates and said that if all of them were in fact also in marketing, in his view, everyone had a role to play in building brands, be it in distribution or sales.

The same can be said for one-on-one, the entire value chain of business will contribute to building relationships with individual consumers and the entire organisation will be impacted by what comes from that relationship.

2. Emergence of new careers

A science is being built out of foraging through vast amounts of data and turning that into useful predictive consumer insights. The Data Scientist is the new, advanced geek, who combines analytics with investigative zeal. This has resulted in a new breed of tech-savvy, socially plugged in hackers who determine what data to track, how to find meaning in it and the best way to use it.

The Network Manager works closely with the Data Scientist. This is someone who curates and facilitates the consumer network of a business, observing, learning and influencing conversation and building long-term relationships.

These roles become even more critical in a world where building dialogue with consumers is a critical success factor.

3. Campaigns stop being one hit wonders

Most campaigns peak consumers’ interest in a brand only for it to wane once the campaign is done. Data changes that. Campaigns will be interventions in the building of ongoing consumer relationships. They will not only be used to pique (and peak!)  interest, but to drive data too. The days of running an incredible campaign with no useful data at the end of the rainbow are gone.

Here is the really crazy thought: It’s only a matter of time before the reach of your campaign through mass media is less than that of your one-on-one channels. As a case in point, one million unique users registered and participated in the latest Carling Black Label Be the Coach campaign. That’s half the number of its core user base.

This changes the nature of classical marketing interventions. Data makes real the virtuous cycle of consumer communications and this will change the way marketing teams and communications agencies configure themselves to deliver their services.

4. Data makes marketing Return-on-Investment trackable

Want to know the good news? Data demystifies marketing ROI. The real-time nature of the new data streams means that the impact of any marketing investment becomes instantly available for measurement and refinement.

And what about Radio?

Radio is already extending its reach into online, experiential and social media. However, it too will not escape the need to fulfill the one-on-one expectation.

Listeners have become subscribers. Some channels around the world are already delivering customised radio stations.  I’m a fan of that allows you to select your own stream of music based on your own selection of genre or artist.  There are new offerings on the market now like Spotify and iHeartRadio that do the same thing.

But what really blew my mind is Pandora, who hires music geeks to decipher the DNA of a song – its rhythm, pace, style and they use that algorithm to search their database of millions of songs to give you a unique radio station that can be played on any device. Ford is installing Pandora in their vehicles. These services already have more than 10 million subscribers.

There is a commercial model to this – brands are now able to brand their own style of station. What does Coke radio sound like or Miller Genuine Draft Radio?

You can bet your bottom dollar that they will make themselves indispensible to these subscribers by collecting data that allows them to gain deeper actionable insight that in turn allows them to design a better service.

Don’t worry, the DJs won’t be without work, I’m sure for R10 extra you can get a mix from your favourite DJ or whatever banter you like thrown in from your favourite radio host. One thing for sure is that it’s a different model and its coming fast.

That’s our thinking as an agency.  That’s the future we are preparing for. We know that there are more innovations to come that will shift our thinking. We believe that by basing our perspective on how people and the world around them will change, will help us to morph and become a long term, meaningful and value adding partner to brands.

I truly believe that the big don’t always eat the small, but the fast always eat the slow. Our role as business is to adapt for the future and bring our customers along with us.”

copyDespite the name, copywriting has nothing to do with copyrighting. So if you’re looking to defend the patent rights of the big fat corporate juggernaut machine who claims to have invented the sky and the song “Happy Birthday to You”, you’re in the wrong place.

Copy is just a name for the words you read or hear on a commercial. In other words, copywriters control your thoughts. Think of them as the illuminati, but happy-go-lucky illuminati who keep a hip flask of whiskey in their desk drawers and just want to change the world.

All the headlines, the radio and TV scripts, the street pole ads offering 3 pairs of pajama jeans for the price of 2, and even the small terms and conditions that state your body and soul are now exclusive property of the underworld. Copywriters write cheerful stuff like that and come up with ideas for ads all day.

Job responsibilities include:

- Write words that approximately 22 million people could see or hear a week.

- Direct radio recordings.

- Going to shoots and being force-fed so many free toasted sandwiches that your liver starts to resemble foie gras. That’s enough to feed a small country.

- Come up with an ad for an NGO and perhaps raise enough money to really feed a small country.

- Surfing the net for ‘inspiration’.

- Laughing your head off whilst watching defenseless actors on casting tapes for that ad you wrote about adult diapers.

- Travel to exotic location for shoots. Bahamas or Hawaii? You get to write the destination, remember?

Yup, nobody said this job was easy. If that doesn’t sound like too much work, come to the Ogilvy Joburg Open Day on 4 October and check out if it’s something you’re into.

unicoenOver the few weeks you’ll be seeing some posts by a special guest blogger. We’d like to introduce you to That Ad Stag. But who exactly is he? Well, he’s a figure shrouded in mystery, an enigma enveloped in an enigma, wrapped in a riddle and smothered in self-tan. Some call him the Dirk Diggler of the ad world, and others even claim to have met him. There are those who say he has the body of a majestic unicorn and the head of a regular horse. He’s been called loud, proud and well endowed… and he works right here on campus.

Tell us about yourself…

I’m the top strategist in the country, I’m a part-time creative, and I’m your demented uncle with a glass eye who won all those advertising awards back in the 70s. But I’m also just a humble horse with good client relationships, a killer brief, and a crazy dream of flying like Pegasus. But until then, first class will do rather nicely.

What’s your take on advertising? 

You’re kidding, right? I love it! And who wouldn’t? We’re in the business of story telling and escapism (even if it only lasts for 30 seconds at a time). I once got my 3-week vacation to the Seychelles paid for as part of ‘market research’, and then the next month I convinced a client to plant 300 trees as part of an urban beautification initiative. Advertising gets a bad rap sometimes, but really that’s because accountants hate that we have so much fun and get to change the world, when the only thing they get to change is their tie. Once a year. On casual day. But hey, don’t take my word for it. I’m just a horse with a perfectly chiseled physique and a penchant for redheads. Also brunettes and blondes. Check out the Ogilvy Open Day on the 4th and 5th of October and see for yourself what this crazy business is all about.

What department are you in?

All of them.

Do you have any connection to @MnrCD?

Yes. I taught him when he was just a lowly intern. The little tyke had some talent…

You talk a lot about charity and NGO work. What are some of the causes you’re championing?

Add hope, The Topsy AIDS Foundation, and some work on Greenpeace. Also, I’m personally heading up the LOLhorses movement. Why should cats get all the glory, while us horses are forced to nibble the dirty end of the Internet carrot? LOLhorses is coming. Be ready.

If you want to meet That Ad Stag, join us at our Open Day on 4 October. It’s going to be everything he promises advertising is. And more.

diversityDavid Ogilvy once famously said “Diversity turns out to be the mother of invention,” which is why we’re starting to celebrate Heritage Day a little early this year. We’ll have a proper shindig on 27 September with lots of Umqombothi to go around, but for now we’re showing off some of the interesting people we have here on campus.

Kicking us off is Priya Jugwanth, an account director, showing off her traditional garb (second from right below). Be sure to check back again later in the week for more stories:


“I come from a small town in KZN called Dundee, if you’re ever in my hood, call my folks, rumour has it my mum would love to invite you over for dinner. Yes, the stereotype is true, Indian families love to gather around as many people as they can, just to feed them! (watch out for the uncles at the car boot outside any event, there’s always a dop to cure your thirst).

“My favourite Hindu celebration is the magical festival of lights called Diwali, which occurs once a year. We light lamps and fireworks into the night sky as a way of always allowing the positivity of Light and Love into our homes and families. We share boxes of sweet-meats (which aren’t really meat dishes) – but are rather decadent and delectable Indian treats.”

Gabi Kuhn-Bernstein is a masterful strategist, she shared what it was like doing the Horah at her wedding:

“If you are ever invited to a Jewish wedding, you are most likely to get a taste of this, through their festive dancing – or what is more commonly known as a Horah. It’s s a traditional folk dance most often performed to Hebrew songs such as Hava Nagila. All guests of the occasion are encouraged to join in and it is customary to raise the bride and groom on a chair during the dancing.

“To start the dance, everybody forms a circle, holding hands, and steps forward toward the right with the left foot, then follows with the right foot. The left foot is then brought back, followed by the right foot. This is done while holding hands and circling together in a fast and cheerful motion to the right. Large groups allow for the creation of several concentric circles. It’s a way to entertain the newly-wed couple and wish them Mazeltov!  Join in next time you’re invited.”

Account exec, Falala Selela is happily married to a Pedi man, but it’s also the start of her baby name woes! “Upon welcoming me into the family, my in-laws bestowed on me the name ‘Mamphela’ – derived from my mother-in-law’s side and chosen by her elders. Now that’s the name they call me, but as a South Sotho I’m still becoming  accustomed to my new clan name.

“When my first born son arrives he will be named ‘Mphela’ which is also my husband’s name, because  his mother’s name is also ‘Mamphela’ which was given by her in-laws when she got married. Funny thing, my hubby’s younger brother got married a year after us and the wife was also given the name ‘Mamphela’ (from my father in-law’s side) – meaning her first born son will also be named Mphela’!

“So just imagine a Christmas holiday when someone calls ‘Mphela’ or ‘Mamphela’ – we’ll all come running!”

mapOn Friday renowned South African adventurer Riaan Manser departed from Cape Town on an epic journey to Add Hope across South Africa. Over the next two months he’ll be cycling the word “hope” across SA while consuming limited calories – highlighting both the plight of hunger and the positive impact that Add Hope is making to the country’s children.

Manser has battled extreme cold while circumnavigating Iceland and Madagascar in a kayak, and cycled around Africa through conflict zones, alone and unaided. Now he tackles yet another challenge: filling hungry tummies.

“I’m calling on everyone to help me save a few lives by the end of my journey. I will be highlighting the issue of hunger and showing people the impact that Add Hope makes and continues to make to children’s lives,” says Manser.

Through the use of geo-tracking, this never before attempted journey will also be visible and traceable on satellite maps for fans to track. Customers and fans can get involved and help “feed” Manser emergency calories throughout his challenge by tweeting about the journey and using the hash tag #AddHope.

Manser’s bike will have a donation collection vessel fastened to it. People who come into contact with him along his trip will be able to contribute their R2 into the box, thus also increasing his load while he rides.

The adventurer will visit various KFC stores and several other Add Hope partner beneficiaries where he will be served the same meals as the children. “I’m looking forward to meeting the children and visitors and uncovering many of the stories of hope that the children have to tell,” says Manser.

If you want to get involved, click through to the KFC Facebook page or visit the Add Hope website to donate.

akonaOur very lovely Akona Ndugane has been chosen as one of Cosmo‘s Twitter Queens – and with good reason! It’s an initiative they started last year, asking fans to vote for the local women who are topping the Twitter charts across the country.

Tomorrow we’re chatting to this talented Account Exec who’s been part of the team who made the new M-Net brand campaign happen. You’ll know her from numerous posts on Ogilvy Outfitters showcasing her enviable wardrobe.

#AskJogilvy is your chance to ask her anything you like – be it whether Emmanuel Castis is as handsome in real life as on the telly; how she keeps on top of her game in Client Service or how she makes being a suit look so cool. Just don’t ask her whether she’s related to the rugby player, she isn’t.

Tweet your questions to @OgilvyJoburg with #AskJogilvy tomorrow from 11:00 and Akona will share some of her wisdom. Also check out her blog and some more behind the scenes shots from her Cosmo Twitter Queen shoot.

helenHelen MacKenzie is the Communications Manager at the Topsy Foundation. Seeing first-hand the empowering effects of Topsy’s HIV relief services in the impoverished rural communities of South Africa, her passion is to continuously share these stories of success and she’s turned to social media to do just that:

“The quick movement of marketing into the social media space is clear and present. Even for a campaign to be launched exclusively on Facebook isn’t so unusual anymore, but the value of rampant and random ‘like’ accumulation is being questioned. And with good reason! What you really want are people who know your brand and love it for what it really is.

Giving over custody of your brand to social media means giving over control. With Topsy that has been easy – it’s an organisation born out of the community; built for the community. The idea of sharing in the work of helping others, but more importantly sharing in the reward, appealed to all of us from the start.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t fallen into the trap of wanting more fans, followers, likes, shares and comments – but over time we’ve realised that just like we’re helping one person at a time in the real world, getting one person at a time involved online is the best way to do it. Increasingly the campaigns demanding real attention are those that harness genuine customer interest, and that translate into real-life behaviours…and results.

We’re honoured to be part of just such a campaign with the warmly-loved brand The Body Shop. They’re bringing the values that their customers love to life , in a way that makes them a part of what is happening in-store.

The Body Shop asked their fans to nominate a charity they care about to benefit from The Body Shop products and the Topsy Foundation has been nominated in the Defend Human Rights category. If Topsy wins, we’ll receive a 30% share of proceeds of the sale from the brand new Dragon Fruit Lip Butter by The Body Shop – but we need everyone’s help. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to the The Body Shop SA Facebook page.

Step 2: Vote by writing on their wall: “I VOTE Topsy”

Step 3: Purchase the delicious Dragon Fruit Lip Butter which is available in store from today.

We embarked on a new story of joy with Cadbury Dairy Milk for their latest commercial Floating Cows about the new Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly chocolate.

Directed by Michael Middleton of Jump, the commercial captures the lighter side of what happens when you combine SA’s best loved chocolate with a burst of bubbles both inside and out. The commercial takes viewers on a magical journey as we meet the Cadbury Dairy Milk Floating Cows which create the ‘bubbly milk’ that makes Bubbly chocolate so special. The upside-down cows were made possible with the help of teams from Sinister Studio Visual Effects who handled the post & CG and Orchestra Blue Post Production who did the editing.

The floating cows also have a starring role on the website and Facebook page – which promises to be a lot of fun with an Amazebubbles Competition starting this week.

The Team


Creative Director: Bridget Johnson

Art Director: Alexa Craner

Copy Writer: Irene Styger

Business Director: Candice Shortt

Account Director: Cathy Nilsen

Account Manager: Siya Mbalo

TV Producer: Debbie Dannheisser



Creative Director: Dylan Mclean

Front End developer: Willem Labuschagne

Copywriter: Michelle Dos Santos

Art Director: Alex van Rensburg

Technical Production: Richard Knowler

Group Account Director: Nimay Parekh

Account Director: Georgia Matthews

Account Manager: Tash Edmondson

it_all_comes_togetherCastle Lager is the proud sponsor of the Springbok National Rugby Team as well as sponsor of the newly renamed Castle Lager Rugby Championships, not to mention series and all Test series in South Africa and overseas tours by the Springboks.

The incredible trophy that will be presented to the winning team at the end of the tournament was shown off at our offices and a few of the Castle Lager employees and excited Ogilvy staff members were on hand to get their chance to lift the trophy in their own unique way!

“Castle Lager and the Springboks are an integral part of the fabric of South African society,” explained Norman Adami, Chairman and Managing Director of SAB Ltd at the time of the partnership announcement.

“The further coming together of these two brands is very special and the partnership forged will be significant for South African Sport – both now and in the future.”   Seems like everyone wants to be a winner!   From all of us here at Ogilvy Johannesburg, we wish the Springboks the very best of luck in their upcoming game against the Pumas at Newlands! Go Bokke!

We’ve all imagined that we’re the stars of a movie about our lives. It might not have been the most exciting movie, but there’s magic in the everyday things we do. With a good narrator and some dramatic music, everyone’s life becomes movie-magic worthy.Never more so than with the new M-Net brand advert titled, My Life as a Movie.

Starring local heartthrob Emmanuel Castis as the hero of the narrative, the ad uses emotion as the predominant language. “We wanted our viewers to believe that magic happens in their own stories. There are definite parallels between the stories on-screen and our own. Who says that magic only happens in the movies?” says M-Net Head of Marketing and Publicity, Mpeo Makape.

“It’s not every day that a brand points out the dark and unpleasant sides of life. But we had to go down to go up again. Such is life. Nevertheless, we hope the ad leaves people with a sense of hope and optimism, as well as the realisation that magic happens every single day – not just on the screen, but off-screen too,” said Creative Director Mariana O’Kelly.

The Team

Executive Creative Director: Fran Luckin
Creative Director: Mariana O’Kelly
Copywriter: Stephanie van Niekerk
Art Director: Renier Zandberg
Agency Producer: Debbie Dannheiser