by Herman Manson (@marklives) We list the creative work you made time to read about here on MarkLives during 2019 for our #BigReads2019 series.


PPS Professional Women by Promise

#1. #Campaigns: Reappropriating words of prejudice, paternalism

Imagine if the words used to devalue women actually reflected their value, potential and power. This campaign aimed to reappropriate phrases of prejudice and paternalism to challenge the stigma surrounding working women and open a dialogue around gender stereotypes.


Brand: PPS
Client: Ayanda Seboni, Dawn Ngwenya, Praneet Chhiba
Ad agency: Promise Brand Specialists


Nedbank Money Secrets

#2. #Campaigns: Uncovering money secrets with Nedbank

The brief was to create a brand engagement piece that would get the nation talking about money. As money experts, Nedbank recognises that, when you want to address social issues or even when you want to improve yourself, the best place to start is by speak honestly about issues at hand.


Brand: Nedbank
Creative agency: Joe Public
PR & communication agency: The Riverbed Agency
Media-buying agency: The Mediashop
Digital media agency: The Odd Number
Digital agency: Digitas Liquorice


Absa rebrand - artboard logo

#3. Behind the Absa brand relaunch

Rebranding one of South Africa’s biggest brands, Absa, as a digitally led bank in a sector undergoing massive change — and launching it into Africa after global partner, Barclays, withdrew — was a momentous undertaking and one of the most talked-about brand relaunches that the continent had seen in recent years. It required a deep dive into strategy and culture.

Published in July 2018, the story made it onto our best-read list for 2019.


#MonatiWaFela by VW, Drive Dry and Nomuzi Mabena screengrab

#4. #VWDriveDry — bold campaign or car crash?

by Mike Sharman The campaign centred on rapper Nomuzi Mabena, known as Moozlie, and her involvement in an apparent car accident while live-streaming on social media. The video of the accident quickly went viral and fans; the general public and the media struggled to ascertain news. Her PR team declined to comment on media queries as to her wellbeing; Cosmo was told, “We are waiting for information. Her phone is off, which is quite concerning.” Other media outlets, including The Juice, were also left hanging for half a day. “Triggered”, “shook”, “extra” and “a lot” were some of the millenialisms being thrown around in an attempt to articulate the audience’s reaction to this unbranded-branded content stunt.


Ackermans I Am Me campaign from 99c #IAmMe

#5. Where is the love this Valentine’s Day?

by Nomfundo Dukada. It was that time of year and brands had been rolling out their picture-perfect Valentine’s Day communication campaigns. But one thing that stood out for me was the heteronormativity of the messaging on some of these campaigns #redflags.


Gillette South Africa: Nozizwe

#6. #Campaigns: Gillette honours #GogoNozizwe & the women like her

This film for Gillette South Africa brought to life Gillette’s global crusade to celebrate “The Best a Man can Be” in a uniquely South African context. Gillette has celebrated the relationship between fathers and sons for years. But, in SA, two out of three children is raised without their father. This film looked at how strong SA women are raising [and always have — ed] the next generation of SA men to be the best they can be.


Brand: Gillette South Africa
Client representatives: Lindile Manzingana, Ezhilarasan Loganathan, Mosala Phillips, Shafiq Saliameen
Agency: Grey Johannesburg
Production company: 7Films


MTN Pizza

#7. #CampaignRadar: MTN goes 420

“We know that some people will love them, and some people will hate them but what people won’t do is ignore them,” said Peter Khoury, TBWA\Hunt Lascaris CCO, at the time. “We are just joining in what is already a huge conversation. Brands are living and creating content around triggers every day that capture and reflect the hot topics being discussed in their communities. This won’t be the last time brands use a similar trigger, while for us this was more about linking up to the urgent need in SA today for access to quality, affordable data services.”


Client: MTN
Agency: TBWA\Hunt Lascaris
Production company: Patriot Films
Post-production house: 2 + 3 Post Production


EDGE Where Beer and Cider Meet TVC screengrab

#8. #Campaigns: When the TV personae of beer & cider meet up

“Our brief to the agency was deceptively simple: we didn’t want to launch yet another alcohol brand; we wanted to create an entirely new category. This ad had to be a compelling and surprising touchpoint that would establish and entrench this category-breaker by intriguing consumers into discovering the unique proposition of EDGE. At the same time, it needed to be simple, engaging and provocative — with an irreverent tonality. However, we’re also deadly serious about EDGE: it’s a category-breaker that delivers the satisfaction of beer AND refreshment of cider!”


Client: Distell
Agency: Net#work BBDO
Production company: they shoot films


Nando's Afro-tising

#9. #Campaigns: More South African flavour with Nando’s

Ponte Tower piled high with garbage. Oiled-up black men running through derelict streets in slow motion. Dancers covered in neon face-paint, or influencers in gritty street fashion staring defiantly at camera, yelling about hashtags or waving colourful smoke bombs.

“It’s an African artistic aesthetic that’s been borrowed, copied and stolen by marketers to try and sell things to young people. Never mind that the aesthetic is borrowed from real African creatives who are building to the culture, but the strategy is so transparent. It’s lazy, cynical and a little insulting to the audience, and it’s made what once was an edgy, interesting aesthetic feel tired and formulaic. There’s so much more to South Africa than this one narrow vignette, and we wanted to remind advertisers of that with characteristic Nando’s fire and humour.”

Published in October 2018, the story made it onto our best-read list for 2019.


MedMed #ForgetStoner

#10. The future of advertising cannabis

by Meaghan Essel. The legalisation of cannabis is starting to snowball, which will bring new clients for those of us in advertising, along with a range of products and services, from CBD oils and hemp bricks to infused beers, and beyond. So, how are we going to sell these?

See also


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

Sign up now for the MarkLives newsletter, including headlines, emailed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!


Published by Herman Manson is edited by Herman Manson. Follow us on Twitter -

Online CPD Courses Psychology Online CPD Courses Marketing analytics software Marketing analytics software for small business Business management software Business accounting software Gearbox repair company Makeup artist