by Herman Manson (@marklives) Brand South Africa has appointed AVATAR to take on its digital advertising account. The challenger agency beat a field of some 80 interested agencies that were shortlisted to a count of 24. AVATAR became Brand SA’s digital agency as of 1 September 2014.

AVATAR was launched by Zibusiso Mkhwanazi and Veli Ngubane in 2012. Its clients includes Business Connexion, South African Airways, FOX Africa Channels, National Geographic, Ubank and Sanofi.

Brand South Africa: Inspiring new waysOfficial marketing agency

Brand SA is the official marketing agency of South Africa. It is tasked with implementing proactive and co-ordinated marketing, communications and reputation management strategies for the country.

Its stated mission is to “build and manage South Africa’s nation brand reputation in order to strengthen the country’s global competitiveness.” In its 2012/2013 annual report Brand SA states that its vision is for SA to be acknowledged as a Top 20 Nation Brand and a Top 30 Competitive Nation by 2020.

Its international mandate is to build SA’s nation brand reputation “in order to improve SA’s global competitiveness” and its domestic mandate aims to “build pride and patriotism among South Africans and contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship”.


Brand SA is supported by the Office of the Presidency, the SA Government, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and South African Tourism.

Financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2013 show that Brand SA spent R111 677 617 on marketing in that financial year, slightly down from R 125 385 401 in 2012.

In 2012, Brand SA switched its marketing slogan from “Alive with Possibility” to “South Africa: Inspiring new ways.” It appointed McCann Worldgroup as its through-the-line advertising agency in August 2013.

“The perfect fit”

“AVATAR’s diversity as an agency and founding principles make us the perfect fit for Brand SA,” says AVATAR chief creative officer, Veli Ngubane, adding: “Our people hail from Manguzi to Sandton, and everywhere in between.”

Ngubane says content marketing will play an important role in Brand SA’s digital efforts and AVATAR will also manage its social-media presence. The agency expects to grow its staff component by 15 people — taking it from 30 to around 45.

The agency is excited to work on brands that touches the lives and economic well being of South Africans, says Ngubane. Apart from Brand SA, AVATAR won the integrated account for national airline South African Airlines (SAA) earlier this year.

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