By Michelle Mckenna

At the outset of Day 2, the Inspiration Truck raced towards us with ferocious speed, all audience members firmly in the tractor-beams of awe, steered with the precision and grace you’d expect from one of Van Damme’s Volvos. (Watch this if you haven’t seen it).

This continued happily for some time, after which the truck was tragically hijacked by a learner driver who spent the rest of the day flicking the lights onto bright, over-correcting and switching them off completely and then switching on the windscreen wipers before ploughing through a herd of dozing cattle, before finding the brights again. Sorry audience, I just referred to you as livestock.

But that said, those bright moments were again pretty darn dazzling, and I am proud to present a few more accolades under the broad category of My-Opinion-Only-and-What Do-I-Know-Anyway.

I’ll kick off with the prize for BEST ORIGINAL SCORE for an AV presentation, which goes to opening speaker, DJ Stout. This may seem like an obvious award, until I point out that DJ Stout is a stetson-wearing Texan, who is as much like a DJ as Margaret Thatcher. What he is like, however, is a graphic designer and art director at Pentagram (the world’s biggest stand-alone design consultancy) who seems to have lugged a piano across the Atlantic for the occasion.

From said piano came some of the most poignant, soul-stirring piano music I have ever heard (and that’s saying a lot because usually I find piano music-bowel stirring only), played by a mysterious long-haired fella called Graham Reynolds.

This soundtrack, (created at times by pulling at the keys from the INSIDE of the open piano and at others by drumming hoofbeats on the piano’s exterior), formed the aural backdrop for the haunting imagery of 350 000 acres of prime Texas ranchland ablaze in the wake of the devastating Rockhouse Fire of 2011.

I forget the actual relevance of this but it was a spectacularly mesmerising intro, and when my brain switched on again, DJ Stout was introducing the audience to the very offbeat phenomenon of the Cowboy Poet, which bears a little google-lookey-into-ing, off you go.

Of course he had some pretty cool work to show as well, but his main point, which became a common thread for the day was: be from somewhere, (him: Texas, obviously) and make your work like you’re proud to be from that somewhere.

Picking up that theme, (and along with it, the drumsticks idly lying on the stage for the lunchtime performers) was the winner of the IMPROMPTU DRUM SESSION AWARD: Michel Rojkind. This cool Mexican Architect gave an interesting talk about overcoming (brilliantly) the challenges of building amazing things in a country where, from one election to the next, presidents seem to abandon the previous guy-in-charge’s sanctioned projects, causing architects and everyone in general, much pain and anguish. Rojkind’s technique for finishing pyramidal-proportion projects before the next presidential election-rejection? “You have to be creative enough to deliver on time.” Which for me is a refreshing spin on the usual “there wasn’t time to be creative” technique in much more common general usage.

Rojkind is incidentally also the recipient of my INTERESTING BEARD OF THE DAY AWARD. Find some of his quirkily interesting work at But sadly, you’ll find no beard there. The Hashim AmIa style creation sports two silver-grey stripes down either side (all natural, I believe) – and a varietal perhaps grown only for the occasion.

The OPEN-MOUTH-EXCHANGE-FOOT Award goes to David Higgs, chef at the Saxon Hotel’s Five Hundred restaurant, for using the word ‘cowboy’ to describe bad chefs who take shortcuts. And who then, (after catching DJ Stouts’s raised eyebrow) good-naturedly tried to back out of it, in much the same way as you might back away from a bully into the crossed arms of his much-bigger brother. But despite his amusing blunder and slight Tourettes tendency (his co-speaker, chef Margot Janse, seemed to be keeping tally in a virtual swearing jar), his shared talk eloquently conveyed the message that staying true to your passion with dogged determination can ultimately overcome any lack of education, formal training or financial obstacle.

The ‘FROM-YOUR-PICTURE-AND-QUOTE-I-THOUGHT-YOU-MIGHT-BE-A-WANKER-BUT-ACTUALLY-YOU’RE-A-REALLY-AMICABLE-DEMIGOD’ Award, ah yes. This goes to Brazilian-born Marcello Serpa, partner and creative director of AlmapBBDO, whose work is of the type that every self-respecting ad person knows and wishes they had made. Like all things Havaianas, the VW ‘double checked’ TV ad, and one of my faves, the VW Spacefox “Whatever you can imagine, fits” dog-fish TV ad. Serpa had an awful many worthwhile things to say, but I’ll highlight just one very pertinent piece of advice for South African Design-Problem-Solvers, who are often faced with the challenge of communicating to a very broad and often uneducated and unsophisticated audience.

  1. Be simple. BUT, (and here’s the thing)
  2. Be unpredictable.

Or, put another way: Be obvious. But be obvious for the first time. Fancy that.


• Clive Wilkinson (LA  architect and strategist), for his “Barbarian Group” workspace design amongst others. See the video here.

• Zanele Muholi (South African photographer), for her passion in championing anti-violence, respect and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual individuals.

Then, the TRUCK-DRIVING-WITH-THE-LIGHTS-OFF-AWARD must be shared between:

Athi-Patra Ruga and Nandipha Mntambo – to be fair, maybe this type of performance and conceptual art is just not my thing and I’m too simple-minded to get all of that higher-purpose meaning. But I think I’m okay with please not seeing that again.

And for the closing speaker: Lauren Beukes. Although I highly respect the lady’s literary genius, and found her talk very slick, polished and deliberately unconventional, I couldn’t help feeling the joy sucked out of the day by her violence of potential talk.

Excellent. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this award bestowing business is exhausting and I need some intensive zedding to prep for that one last glorious dash into the floodlit brilliance that is Design Indaba Day 3.


Whew. The 1st day of Design Indaba always leaves you feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck. It’s the Dazzling 18-Wheeler Inspiration Truck mind, the kind that leaves you a little dazed with thoughts like “OMG, what have I done with my life?” Alternating with “OMG, how can I do that, any of that, with my life?”

So let me get into a little of what the that of the day was.

Opening speaker of the Design Indaba in Cape Town was, quite fittingly, Ogilvy & Mather South Africa’s Chief Creative Officer, Chris Gotz.


It’s always a pleasure listening to Chris, who today described with his easy wit how he had had his Grade 2 dream of becoming a cowboy “brutally scooped out to make space for the 9 x table”. But although I’ve no doubt Chris would’ve made a fabulous cowboy, it’s probably best that that horse galloped off into the sunset, because he’s become, as host Michael Beirut quite rightly put it, the ‘winningest’ ECD in the country, and to illustrate this fact, his talk featured some of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa’s most iconic work for VW (“Street Quest” and “Goodbye Citi”) and Carling Black Label (Be the Coach).

On the topic of winning.

I’d like to give a few awards.

MY WTF AWARD goes to one of the ‘Pecha Kucha’ students/graduates: a batch of supremely talented but in this particular instance, fairly cooked, young creative minds from across the world, talking about their various works of young genius. Agatha Haines led the audience through a theoretical but alarmingly graphic representation of what it might look like if we modified babies to become an ultra efficient future work-force. If we cut off a toe, for instance, that would encourage a hookworm infestation which produces some chemicals that could help the asthma-sufferer baby and keep them at work in future (I think – I was too horrified to listen properly).

BALLS-OF-STEEL AWARD goes to Dave Hakkens, who developed the idea for the “Phone Blok”, a phone with replaceable components to mix and match to suit your needs, instead of tossing it out onto the global e-Waste pile when it becomes outdated. This guy crowd-sourced support for the idea using Thunder Clap, gaining 900 000 supporters and capturing Motorola’s attention, who are eager to produce it. Motorola is owned by Google, and they offered him a job. To which he flicked the bird. Truth.

THE STANDING OVATION AWARD goes to Thomas Heatherwick, who revealed that, since his last visit to Design Indaba nine years ago, he’s been working on a breathtaking plan to transform the old Cape Town Grain Silos into the first Museum of African Contemporary Art. Truly freaking spectacular. They’re still crowd-sourcing funds for this project but boy, when this comes to pass, Cape Town-Design-Capital-of-the-World, you will see how your design gods smile upon you.

A toss up for PERSONAL FAVE SPEAKER OF THE DAY AWARD is between Heatherwick and Jake Barton, a media and interaction designer. It’s hard to explain what this guy does without launching into an essay, but basically he organizes people’s digital interaction with information with such incredible thought and sensitivity it could bring you to tears. Especially in the case of his design for the work-in-progress 911 Memorial and Museum. Check out some of his work:


“Get your nose out of your phone”, to Chris Gotz. And Ije Nwokorie, Brand Guru who has actually designed a cute little gadget to make two phones hug together and block the signal so you can look your friend in the eye while you chat and actually taste the chicken salad you’re lunching on instead of Instagramming it.

“Ignore the brief. As long as you’re doing what should be done”. Awarded to Thomas Heatherwick and his 1000 moving part London Olympic Flame extravaganza (on a no-moving-parts brief), and… Chris Gotz.

“Stop talking about what will work and what won’t and how you should make it, when you eventually make it. Just bloody make it. Make a prototype. Get your Client (and yourself) excited about it.” (Paraphrased) from Jake Barton.


Awards appropriately um, awarded. Let me go get some shut-eye so I can stare down the Day Two Inspiration Truck with more wide-eyed wonder and live to preach the creative gospel again after.

About Michelle McKenna
Senior Copywriter & Art Director at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg

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Join us on Friday, 28 February for How to Friday’s with Marshall Manson. Marshall is Managing Director of EAME Social@Ogilvy and he will be sharing key insights about social media and emerging trends.Marshall has more than 15 years’ experience in building effective and award-winning digital and social campaigns. Previously, Marshall worked at Edelman where he was Managing Director of Digital for EMEA.During his time at Edelman, Manson created and executed successful digital and social media marketing strategies for global consumer brands including, Diageo’s Johnnie Walker. He has also developed and implemented online reputation management strategies for a wide range of corporate clients, such as HP and AstraZeneca and helped clients manage complex issues and crises breaking in social media.
This is a session you do not want to miss out on. We look forward to seeing you there!

Don’t miss this one - RSVP by Thursday 27 February – 12:00.

Time: 11 A.M – 12 P.M
Venue: 143B – Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg

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In the latest KFC ad we follow the journey of a young girl who is taken from the comfort of her home roots in South Africa across the world to Bangkok with her mother. In order for her to get accustomed to her new surroundings she seeks familiarity in the one thing she knows… KFC.

Take a look at KFC’s ‘Tastes Like Home’ TVC below:

Client: KFC (YUM! International)
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg
Executive Creative Director: Mariana O’Kelly
Creative Director: Mike Martin (Creative Partner)
Head of Strategy for KFC: Gabi Kuhn-Bernstein
Art Director: Thule Ngcese
Copywriter/Design: Jordan Tryon
Agency Producer: Debbie Dannheisser
Account Management: Lynette Ngwata, Tracey Edwards (Managing Partner)
Director: Kim Geldenhuys
Production Company: Egg Films
Post-Production Company: Upstairs Post, Black Ginger
Sound Design: Sterling Sound

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300 students participated in the filming of KFC’s “Tastes Like Home” commercial in Bangkok. An extraordinary achievement by the team involved.
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The 2014 juries have been confirmed for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which will kick off from 15 June to 21 June, and the representation from the South African industry is overwhelming.

We’re excited that Mariana O’Kelly has been selected to sit among some of the world’s most prestigious advertising names as a judge for this years Cannes Lions.

Over the last 18 years, Mariana has worked on some of South Africa’s most prestigious brands. She has been recognized at Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Clio’s, Eagles and Loeries.

Well done Mariana, we’re exceptionally proud of you!



An astonishing 79% of the top 50 free iOS and android apps are harmful to your devices. That’s just one scary mobile fact about downloads. With #MWC2014 commencing this coming Monday we’re hoping that key-learnings and insights will be shared. Topics of discussion include industry perspective, challenging the state of play in mobile, social impact of mobile and more.  Take a look at the infographic below for some key-insights into malware and general mobile application use such like that of the illusive “Snapchat”.

We’re looking for a character design for a squirrel that represents someone’s stress and anxiety. If you think you’ve got the kind of skills we need, then draw up the little guy and send him through by 9:00 on Tuesday 18 February. Please include your name and contact details.
If we pick your squirrel, your work will very soon be the star of a new TV ad we’re working on AND you’ll get paid. Pretty good gig, huh?
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Here’s a bit more on what we’re looking for – now get drawing!
He looks panicked and worried.

Perhaps he has Coke bottle thick glasses that magnify his eyes like crazy?
Maybe he is wearing clothes?
He has a mangey looking squirrel tail that he sometimes gnaws when he is stressed.
He might have sweat patches under his arms from all that worrying.
Does he have funny teeth?
Does he bite his funny squirrel nails?
Does he have bad posture?
He is not just realistic looking. He is not cute.
He is slightly dark. He is quirky. He needs to appeal to adults.
He needs to look unexpected and freaked out.

If we had to give you a visual reference, it would be something akin to the Rango characters.
Good luck!

Ricki is one of the most talented guys on our campus. He’s great at social media and all things music but he has another love a part from his really cool girlfriend… Stefanus takes some time to get to know Ricki and the love he has for his cats.

I am Ricki, a 27 year old human that lives on earth. I would probably die if there were no music before there were no oxygen.

I love cat’s a little more, maybe a little more than a little more, than I like humans. They are probably the greatest companions on Earth. They know when you need love, they know when you’re annoyed, and you will definitely know when they’re pissed off. I just find them to be amazing creatures, mostly because they can sleep so much.
I have two families of cats. One being my cats, Nike and Ross. I have a tattoo of Ross in a suit on my arm to show my love and appreciation for them. My second cat family is that of my girlfriend’s cats. They are Bali and Samurai. Bali a tabby cat who is like a small furry human. He understand what I say, I understand what he meows and we get on like a house on fire. Samurai is the grumpiest ginger you’ve ever met. His eye brows seldom move out of their straight line formation, he isn’t too fond of being touched. But we know he likes it and he will give in at times.
You don’t need to be a cat person to own a cat, you just need to be a person. You will learn to love a cat, always.
After Ricki shed some light on his undying love for his furry friends, Stefanus took it a step further and illustrated this great relationship.
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If you’re curious about Stefanus’ illustrations and what part they play with us then have a look at our previous post here.