Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s weekly pick of recent product, packaging and design launches:

  • New views for several agencies and media
  • Scottish Leader whisky refreshes
  • Coke gets social, and
  • Black River amps Vuzu

Making an entrance

There have been moving vans outside a few agencies and media recently as they seek out new spaces. Joe Public, John Brown, Quirk and Retroviral have all nailed it with their airy new designer HQs.

Camping out…

John Brown office 1John Brown office 2
We love the new creative space of John Brown SA in Cape Town, designed by Inhouse Brand Architects, with the premise that ‘creative spaces inspire creative work’. The office opens into a shared ‘play’ space that includes an open-plan kitchen with a breakaway dining table and bar-style seating.

Directly opposite the kitchen and communal meeting table is a series of three pods featuring high-backed booth seating in the signature teal. Their ‘campsite’, meanwhile, is kitted out with faux grass, picnic-like seating, timber plant boxes and canary-yellow tree trunks. Brightly hued lounge seating, a cartoon-covered ‘bed’ and birdcage light fixtures add visual fodder. My favourite part is the private space designed to look like an intricate woven weaver bird’s nest, complete with little blue birdies peeping in. SO. WANT!

Joe Public United…

Joe Public office 1Joe Public office 2joe public
Joe Public relocated to its own three-story offices in Bryanston, Johannesburg. The building, a collaboration between Joe Public, Architects Boogertman & Partners and Interior Designers I4C (Interiors for Change), has been specifically created to be a collective space where all of Joe Public’s specialist businesses can meet and inspire each other.“Our view is that great creativity comes from great inspiration. Creative people love beautiful spaces and we truly believe your work space needs to be both highly functional and highly inspirational if you want to deliver great work for your clients,” says Gareth Leck, CEO, Joe Public.

Included in the new building are the following collaborative and specialist disciplines: Joe Public (above-the-line agency), Ignite Joe Public (below-the-line agency), Shift Joe Public (brand communications agency), Engage Joe Public (public relations agency), Connect Joe Public (digital agency) and Think Joe Public (strategic media planning and buying unit). Together they form Joe Public United.

Greening their space…

Retroviral officesretroviral
Retroviral’s new office building is the first small commercially viable building in South Africa to achieve a Six Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). To achieve this all materials used in construction had to be procured from within a 400km radius, in order to reduce the carbon footprint.Trend Group, led by Mohamed Okasha, points out that the company ensured that all wall finishes and floor finishes had a green rating, and were as eco-friendly as possible. Megan Bürge of Paper Space Design, who created the interior décor, sourced furniture and feature lighting from local manufacturers and suppliers which invest in sustainable design.

There are many other innovations, such as air-conditioning which moves air around the building to heat or cool it according to the seasons; light shelves which reflect light into the building when the sun is high reducing the need for electric light; it’s close to public transport; providing showers and storage for cyclists; harvesting rainwater; using photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for the building…

As Retroviral founder, Mike Sharman, explains: “All of the remarkable content we create online, is inspired by the remarkable space we inhabit offline. Light, colour, and multiple glass surfaces for lumo-marker-brainstorms are critical components for us to convert strategy into tactics. This new space inspires us, provides clients with goosies in areas such as our ‘bioscope’, and amplifies our passion for creating tomorrow what didn’t exist today.”


Quirk office 1Quirk office 2quirk 3quirk 4Quirk moved into its new offices in Salt River, immediately raising rental prices, my sources tell me. Its cool new space is also home to the Red & Yellow School of Magic and Logic. Space is the watchword here and I’ve seen staff using skateboards to shoot from one end of the open plan floor to another. Uber-cool.

Scottish Leader soars

Scottish Leader Signature 750mlScottish Leader whisky has revitalised the brand with a new look, an enhanced recipe and the introduction of an additional, premium Signature blend.

After 12 months of global consumer research, the newly positioned Scottish Leader Original has been reformulated with improved body and balance. The blend of top malt and grain whiskies is the recipe by Burn Stewart master distiller, Ian MacMillan, and now has a warm, honey sweet, smoky taste. It has also been repackaged to signify the change.

SA marketing manager, Taygan Govinden describes the fresh look as “modern, tall and proud”. “The bottle now has clean-edged glass chamfers skilfully designed to show-case the rich gold colours of the whisky. The Scottish Leader ethos is expressed in the new soaring eagle brand icon, an inherently Scottish symbol, which conveys success, vision and power.”

The brand is sold in more than 60 countries.

Be happy

CokeCoke has relaunched its Share a Coke campaign by introducing more popular phrases and memes on their cans to heat up summer among fans.

It’s ‘cray-cray’, but the brand is asking ‘whaddup’ with your ‘BFF’s’ and your ‘cuzzies’… Coca-Cola has also increased the amount of names on the personalised 330ml cans and 500ml bottles.

“Social networking is a huge part of the teen scene. Messaging and sharing content with one another makes up a significant part of almost every teens waking day,” says Sharon Keith, marketing director at Coca-Cola Southern Africa.

“Coca-Cola is also part of their lives and by giving them the tools to create these special messages using our packaging, we hope that we can help bring smiles and happiness to the faces of many people over the festive season”

The brand wants you to say what’s on your mind with an inanimate object, hoping to tap into the social networking scene by allowing people to put names and words together with their cans to make phrases.

‘Amazeballs’, indeed.

New channel amps it

Vuzu Amp logoThe new local entertainment channel Vuzu Amp which launched recently on DStv was branded by creative agency Blackriver FC. The agency assisted in the development of the new channel’s brand positioning, creative strategy, logo, pay-off line, brand identity, on-air indents and advertising campaign.

Vuzu Amp is a youth-oriented digital satellite television channel produced by M-Net for pay television platform, DStv, and Black River FC’s assignment was to communicate the promise of an “amplified experience” built on the success of the existing Vuzu channel. Working closely with Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net’s Director for Local General Entertainment Channels in South Africa, and his marketing team, the agency created all the advertising and marketing assets.

The first point of departure was the creation of the sleek monochromatic Vuzu Amp logo. The logo shows a close relationship to the Vuzu logo, but the forward-moving lines and shadows are a reflection of the channel’s content.

The logo features on all creative executions, including nine animated indents which were created in collaboration with visual effects companies, Flic and Wicked Pixels.

Black River also conceptualised the Vuzu Amp promo ad, ‘The Adventures of Captain Makhamisa and the VA Starship’, which was directed by Jono Hall and Louise Minnaar of Darling films.


Shelf Life is a weekly column by Louise Marsland. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland Louise Marslandor email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 20 years as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She also edited the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper. She is currently the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa; a regular industry columnist and speaker; a consultant on content strategy; and contributing editor to Fast Company South Africa magazine, which has just launched in South Africa.

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