Louise Marsland’s (@Louise_Marsland) pick of new product, packaging and design launches.

International design success for Porky Hefer; artful potato chips from McCain; Jacobs coffee pops into odd spaces to brighten your day; and Edcon begins rolling out its online shopping sites.

Designer success

SouthernGuild_Porky Hefer_Audrey Esca

South African designers achieved success at their inaugural showing at the famous Design Miami/Basel Design Fair in Basel, Switzerland, recently. A popular item was Porky Hefer’s hanging leather ‘nest’ named Audrey Esca, which sold for $17 000 to a Formula 1 racing driver.

The Southern Guild gallery, which cultivates the careers of emerging contemporary designers,  showcased works by Brett Morris, Dokter& Misses, Gregor Jenkin, John Vogel, Bronze Age and Andile Dylavne, amongst others, at the annual fair.

“We are thrilled with the response we received this week to the pieces we exhibited from 16 of our leading designers at Miami/Basel, arguably the most important design fair in the world – our mission is to educate a global market on the truly unique South African design vision and voice. We are extremely grateful to the DTI for making this possible,” commented Trevyn McGowan, Southern Guild founder and director.

An international roster of nearly 50 historic and contemporary galleries from 13 countries participated.

Truly beautiful stuff! And as my 18-month-old says, “Want, want, want!”

Potato art


You say potato… and I say sculpture?!

To promote the launch of its “healthier” frozen oven chips option, McCain’s and agency King James commissioned a professional sculptor to carve sculptures in potatoes, creating potato art featuring toned looking men and women for Planet Fitness gyms across Joburg.

McCain original Oven Chips’ boasts the tagline “only 3% fat for a healthier you” across all campaign messaging and activations to encourage the more health-conscious consumer to incorporate chips into their meal plans as well.

“Food art has become a growing trend and we decided to tap into this art form in order to illustrate the goodness of potatoes and promote the 3% fat campaign message. Research shows that taste is the most important factor South Africans take into consideration when buying food, but increasingly we are seeing that consumers want options that allow them to follow a healthier route. The campaign stresses that with McCain Oven Chips they can incorporate chips into their meal plans without the guilt and highlight that potatoes can offer great health benefits too,” said Greg Foster, marketing manager of McCain Foods South Africa.

Pop-up coffee

Jacobs Connect 1

Jacobs coffee is bringing coffee to the downtrodden office worker with their snazzy Jacobs Connect Café Mobile Vans in Joburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

You’ll be ambling along to work, dragging your feet past grey office buildings, when suddenly! There it is! A gleaming green van, the aroma of coffee filtering through the morning smog to immediately brighten your day!

The fully kitted out vans, complete with fake grass and garden furniture, are self-contained sampling units.

The activation partners were Stretch Marketing and MD Mike Silver says the top line strategy was around creating “moments of connectedness” with consumers and to allow people to escape their offices or from the burden of grocery shopping, for a moment, to connect with others around a cup of coffee.

Jacobs senior brand manager Taki Tsanwani explains: “The Jacobs Connect Café concept is so simple – what more do you need than the taste and aroma of Jacobs coffee and a place to enjoy it?”

Yep, it’s as simple as that. And you never know where they will pop-up next (cue exciting movie music!).

Edcon squares up for ecommerce

RedSquare website

Fontera Digital Works, appointed as an ecommerce provider to Edcon, has just launched the first website for Edcon for the Red Square brand.

To date, Fontera has built over 50 international ecommerce sites, such as Harvey Nichols, Matthew Williamson, Myla and Smythson. It is headquartered in Cape Town, with offices in Atlanta and London.

Fontera CEO, Simon Leps, believes the company’s international experience and success in the area of ecommerce integration and development, positions Fontera as the salient provider in being able to offer world class, cost effective and scalable digital solutions to retail brands looking to embrace ecommerce in South Africa.

Fontera is the first African partner of the Magento platform – the eBay-owned and largest ecommerce software platform in the world currently.

The Red Square site is built on Magento and retails the in store products online, with Thank U card account holders also able to receive points when shopping online. The focus of the Red Square development was to deliver an upmarket and uncomplicated online shopping experience, as well as to include “on trend” smart capabilities, such as the ‘free  samples’ functionality whereby customers get to select three free samples from the catalogue and add them to their order.

“Our unique proposition lies in the fact that we offer fully integrated, strategic and bespoke solutions to help businesses achieve their operational goals – we don’t use a template solution – and our international experience, retail marketing team and expert user experience group allow us to assist, design and deliver a seamless move from traditional retail to full ecommerce capability,” explains Leps.

Edcon ecommerce executive, David Gibbons, said Fontera’sMagento expertise was key to building a foundation for Edcon’s ecommerce platform for Red Square and for their future ecommerce sites.

Louise MarslandShelf Life by Louise Marsland is a weekly column on MarkLives. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland or email her at louise.marsland at

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Louise Marsland has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 18 years of her 25 year media career as a former Editor of magazines AdVantageMarketing Mix and Progressive Retailing; as well as websites and FMCGFilesShe currently edits the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper; and is the co-founder and Publishing Editor of SA’s newly launched industry trendwatching portal, TREND. at, in partnership with

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