CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: WHAT’S HOT IN SOUTH AFRICA

Choosing the best work in advertising is about as risky as being asked to select the prettiest baby at a charity function. The parents never forgive you, and the child grows up psychologically damaged and bearing a grudge.

Choosing the best work in advertising is about as risky as being

asked to select the prettiest baby at a charity function. The parents

never forgive you, and the child grows up psychologically damaged and

bearing a grudge.



Real ideas are becoming the exclusive province of the smaller

marginalised bits of business. It’s getting harder to find a known brand

name among any of them.



But there are exceptions, of course.



Coming as absolutely no surprise to anyone here is the TV campaign for

the investment bank, Investec, by Network. It could be that it appeals

to my love of Ealing comedies with Alistair Simm, or perhaps that

vicarious sport of people watching. Shot by Keith Rose out of the

production company, Velocity Africa, it is in the style of a classic

film genre and delivers against a simple human truth for Investec.



The ad points out that you can take the traditional high-risk route and

gamble for big stakes, or take Investec’s route of putting experience

and knowledge before risk. The use of a soft Irish brogue for the

voiceover and the sparse copy is inspired.



I know of at least six of South Africa’s top directors who have worked

on great scripts from Europe’s top agencies within the last year. While

there might be some economic advantage to employing them abroad, the

reality is that they are bringing a fresh eye and spirited attitude to

their work.



A good example of this is the Nashua Printers ad, ’Tweetie’, by TBWA

Hunt Lascaris. The ad represents every parent’s worst nightmare - losing

the family pet, which in this case is a canary called Tweetie. The

instant replacement, courtesy of Nashua Copiers, is rammed in the cage

three minutes before the child returns home. Unfortunately, the family

cat, who isn’t in on the scam, scoffs the paper canary. The main brain

behind the camera belongs to Ricardo de Carvalho.



O&M Rightford has produced a campaign for Select Stores which is part of

Shell South Africa. This campaign is bursting with great little cameos

and good production values. My personal favourite is the rave-pumping

snail. He reminds me of a couple of party animals we employed. If the

agency team keep up this standard they’ll be sunning themselves on the

Croisette at Cannes next year.



I don’t think that anyone would consider this a vintage year by South

African standards, with the exception of these ads and a few others. If

I am being self-critical, the ads I have chosen do not reflect South

African society in general. Good as they are, they could appear almost

anywhere in the world.



Steve Richards is creative director of Gitam SA (part of BBDO

Worldwide).