Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new — product, packaging, design, insight, food, décor and more!

  • Ginkgo’s Beautiful News reaches 500m
  • Bringing Showmax alive
  • Marlboro Originals’ latest MAL Art Series t-shirts

Inspiring South Africa

Content marketing platform, Beautiful News, has achieved its target of sharing 365 uplifting short films in one year about the positive South African experience, reaching more than 500m consumers across all platforms.

Created by Ginkgo Agency, and made possible by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Beautiful News is a dedicated to unearthing inspiring, uplifting and authentic South African stories. From its launch on 1 November 2016, it set out to share one short film every day, telling a positive South African story. Today it delivers on that promise with 365 stories that celebrate the SA spirit.

Statistics supplied by BMI indicate that Beautiful News achieved total international reach of over 500m and a market research survey, conducted by Publicis Machine on behalf of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, showed 70% of the sample audience felt hopeful about the future of the country after viewing Beautiful News, compared to just 47% pre-exposure.

Says Adrian Steirn, founder of Ginkgo Agency and Beautiful News, “It has resonated beyond South Africa by reaching over 67 countries. Content was shared with local and international passengers through distribution partnerships with Airport TV, Mango Airlines, African People Mover, and the V&A Waterfront. By delivering daily authentic and meaningful content that is beautifully crafted, we have cut through in an always-on environment and engaged a growing and loyal audience.”

Selvin Govender, marketing director at Mercedes-Benz South Africa, adds “Partnering with Beautiful News allows MBSA to continue its legacy of supporting South Africa at its best and has afforded us an opportunity to meaningfully engage with our audience beyond the buying cycle.”

Beautiful News will continue to deliver on its promise of releasing one short film at 4.14pm every day.


For the love of stories

With internet TV service, Showmax, as a client, it was important that The Star Film Company’s Jonathan Parkinson created a commercial that felt as cinematic as the thousands of shows available on the channel. The result? A heart-warming new ad about a grandfather trying to connect with his granddaughter.

Written by Showmax’s creative team, “Love of Stories” reveals Ernest Ndlovu as a lonely but resilient 75-year-old grandfather and Unathi March as his easily distracted five-year-old granddaughter, who together keep the balance between realism and emotion alive.

Says Phi director Parkinson, “I always enjoy working on stories that are real and authentic, so I was really drawn to this script. Everyone on the Showmax team was willing to explore, and they appreciated the strong push towards the emotional, rather than the practical, going for ‘feel’ rather than overloading with too much information.”

According to Nicola van Ast, head of acquisition for Showmax, a strongly emotional ad was chosen because SVOD is jargon and internet TV can be scary: “We needed to bring our brand into people’s homes and hearts. Then, just maybe then, they’ll be open to being educated on how to use our product.”



Profit with purpose

Men’s clothing brand, Marlboro Originals, has announced the launch of a limited edition Make a Living, Make a Life (MAL) Art Series collection at its store at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

The launch encourages South Africans to “wear it forward” as proceeds from sales of this quirky new designer range of T-shirts go towards building libraries in township schools.

Mike Schalit, founder of MAL, says this is the first of many collaborations between MAL — the not-for-profit arm of creative agency Net#work BBDO — and South African brands looking to give back to communities: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. It’s time South Africans explored more sustainable ways forward, where the ‘haves’ are able to put something back into society but, hey, have some fun — be mal — do it with gees and style.”

The range includes eight Marlboro Originals t-shirt designs, produced in grey and white. Everything is locally sourced and produced.


Cheryl HunterShelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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