04 July 2021

MarkLives – #AdChamps of the Month May 2020

by Kyle de Waal & Morgan Botha. Here’s our latest choice of South African ads that’ve connected and engaged with us during lockdown — Vodacom (Ogilvy Joburg), South African Tourism (MetropolitanRepublic), Spur (99c) and Dunlop (FCB Durban) — plus two honourable mentions, Toyota South Africa (FCB Joburg) and Willowton Group (Ogilvy Durban).



This marvellous ad starts us off on the right note this month— it was put together using the bedrooms, gardens, garages, and bathrooms of creatives, and no one left their house during production.

It starts by showing what looks like a normal day in a South African home (alarms going off and coffee being made) but then we see that the people are working from home, having work meetings via video-conferencing and studying online. But we’ve not just learnt how to work; we’ve learnt how to share our lives with the people we care about while staying apart. Vodacom provides a platform on which we can all connect and this ad shows the many ways we’ve figured out to stay connected, no matter what keeps us apart: have game nights with our friends, video-chat with our grandparents, and sharing photos and videos of it all from the comfort and safety of our homes.

“Our brand is at its best when it helps South Africans tell their own stories,” says Abey Mokgwatsane, Vodacom managing executive: brand & comms. “This is a story of hope and connection and I thank South Africans for inspiring each other…”



Ad agency: Ogilvy Johannesburg
TV producer: Helen D’Hotman
Creative director: Matthew Berge
Copywriter: Clint Bechus
Art director: Anke Grater
Director: Markstry
Production company: The Star Film Co
Executive producers: Adam Thal, Ksenija Strydom-Micic


Freedom Day takes place on 27 April each year, and is usually the day we celebrate the fights won for us so we may all enjoy work, travel, and the unbiased human interactions of friendship and love. This year, however, things have been different and celebrating our freedom has seemed strange while required by law to stay indoors during lockdown

This ad, however, from South African Tourism, in collaboration with The Nelson Mandela Foundation and Videovision Entertainment, reminds us that we’ve sacrificed these freedoms because we understand that, without the people of South Africa, we’ll lose what makes us a truly great country. Being part of the nationwide effort to slow the spread of a life-threatening pandemic to prevent our medical systems being overwhelmed doesn’t include braais, parties and hugs, but it does make us a stronger nation.



Brands: South African Tourism, Nelson Mandela Foundation & Videovision Entertainment
Ad agency: MetropolitanRepublic
Chief creative officer & art director: Paul Warner
Executive creative director & copywriter: Kamo Sesing
Group account director: Terry Unser
Account director: Linda Oompie
TV producer: Aileen Kennaugh
Post-production company: Tessa Ford Post
Editor: Heema Daya
Producer: Tarryn Reddy
Animation: Sphere Animation Studio
Motion graphic designer: Nico Janse van Rensburg
Audio: Earworm
Audio engineer: Rob Mitchley


#AdChamp: Spur — Happy birthday

As two childless millennials, we weren’t much affected by schools closing, other than reading the tales of woe on Facebook. When we saw this promotion, however, we realised that kids are having a hard time, too. No school, no friends, and no family except those in your home. Spur has taken it upon itself to do something that reminds us all of our normal routine: going to Spur for birthdays — the best (or most embarrassing) part, of course, being when all the waiters get together and sing for you.

For these personalised videos to every member of the Spur Kids Clubs, some of the wonderful Spur employees have put on their uniforms to sing happy birthday for every child who’s been missing out on their Spur party due to lockdown (we’re definitely having flashbacks to our own eighth birthday parties). This idea is so incredibly sweet and shows that there’s a genuine love and consideration for the children during this tough time.



Ad agency & production company: 99c
TV producer: Collette Cruywagen
Creative directors: Marius van Rensburg, Dane Alexander
Copywriters: Andre de Wet, Eliot Powell
Art director: Tarryn O’Brien, Amri de Villiers
Executive producer: Melissa Curtis

#AdChamp: Dunlop — Don’t take the road



On a more-sombre yet beautiful note, we have Dunlop with an almost bittersweet reminder that we should be staying away from our favourite places, for now, so we can visit them again. This ad speaks to the aching heart of many South Africans, saying, “We know you miss your friends, we understand you miss your family, and all the hangouts you could be having, but this is bigger than you.”

Since 1888, Dunlop has been telling us all to enjoy the road, to travel and experience but now it’s asking us to stay home, avoid the road, and remember that we hold the power to slow down the infection rate simply by staying indoors. This ad speaks to both consumers and other businesses, and sets an example of a company dedicated to moving people and goods around that still puts the country first.


Willowton Group’s #StayHomeStaySafe

Ogilvy Durban