by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki)’s stand-out commercial comedy always raises chuckles, and the brand’s new TV campaign — from McCann Johannesburg and director Bevan Cullinan of Hammerhead TV — is alive with the laughs. The hashtag for the new ads is #travelhaters, but these are haters that will put a smile on your face. comes to market with another advertising campaign you’re just gonna love. Why? Because it is funny, and we all know that does commercial comedy in a very special way. The low-cost airline has created and carefully crafted a serious travel brand by being distinctively funny.

The concept is simple: we all hate those bores who drone on and on about their fantastic holidays, but who wants to be a hater? makes holiday travel affordable, so you don’t have to be a #travelhater.

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The scenarios are everyday events — an office celebration, two couples having dinner, and two guys in a canteen.

In the office scene, a group of coworkers are gathered to welcome their workmate back from holiday. There is a cake, with the words, “Welcome back Derrick”, and a table laden with party decorations. Everyone listens while Derrick holds forth: “Until you’ve stood on the top of table mountain and just taken in the amazing view…”

Unfortunately, this doesn’t go down well with everyone. The woman seated in front of the cake rolls her eyes and starts to carve it. She removes a big wedge from the middle of the writing, and joins the “D” of Derrick’s name to the “ick”, to reveal what she thinks of him. There is an awkward pause, and everyone wanders off back to their desks.

You may recognise some of the actors, such as Brendan Jack from Footskating 101, rapper/actor Kope Makgae, and Garth Breytenbach. The director is also a known face, although associated with another brand — Bevan Cullinan, also known as Gary the Tooth Fairy.

The production company behind the ad is Hammerhead TV, a “collective of comedy performers, writers, directors and producers who also work in advertising / film, TV and advertising production,” according to TV producer Jack, who also informs us that there are several more in the series to be released.

The response from many people has been great. On the YouTube page, there are several comments like this one, by Ilovetheculture:

“Wow. I usually just skip the ads and move on but I just had to find this again. Hahahaha hilarious.”

When you can get people to not only watch, but seek out your ‘skippable’ ad, you know you’re doing something right. On Twitter, there has been similar response, with people retweeting links to the ads:

Getting back to the ads: the next features two couples having a meal together. One of them starts prattling on about their amazing weekend on the beach and travelling through the winelands. “We must have tasted like every single wine,” he says, and his wife repeats, “Every single wine.” At that moment, the ‘friend’ who has been opening a bottle of champagne, manages to ‘accidentally’ shoot him in the neck with a champagne cork. “Vintage,” the friend tries to explain as an apology, but the cork in his neck has effectively shut him up (for a while).

The text on the screen is the same for all the ads: “Don’t be a #Travelhater.” This is followed by the payoff, in text and voice-over: “Book affordable holidays, flights, hotels and car rentals.”

The next ad is set in a canteen, where one young man is recounting to his workmate about his holiday at the Vic Falls. He shows him the beautiful, carved giraffe that he bought. “All the memories live in here. I don’t even need any pictures,” he says, offering it to the other man to hold. While the younger man’s back is turned, he quickly (and with considerable effort) snaps the giraffe’s neck. “Eish! Ai man… sensitive!” he says, as he hands it back.

The ads manage to nail that staple of South African humour, which I call cringe/awkward. Think Suzelle DIY, or (going back a few years) Corné and Twakkie of The Most Amazing Show. has always been a brand that uses humour to differentiate itself, from the air-stewards’ humorous announcements to its inflight magazine and more. Often cheeky but never boring, laughter has been a key brand differentiator for the budget airline. It has also made the brand memorable and loved. The new campaigns will only deepen brand loyalty with epic ads that folks on the interwebs are loving.


Agency: McCann Johannesburg
Chief creative officer: Mick Blore
Creative directors: Theo Egbers, John Withers, Eric Wittstock, Bruce Murphy
Copywriters: Theo Egbers, Eric Wittstock
Art directors: John Withers, Bruce Murphy
Strategists: Dallas Glover; Georgina Smither
Account directors: Jonathan Stonier, Simeen Whisgary
Agency producer: Vernadi Simpson
Production co: Hammerhead TV
Producer: Brendan Jack
Director: Bevan Cullinan
DoPs:David Pienaar, Michael Smith
Art department: Bathoni Robinson and Denel Honeyball
Gaffer: Alfred Manzini
Key grip: Leonard Tsandeni
Location sound: Gaelan Timm
Makeup: Jules Ruby
Post production: Orchestra Blue Post Production
Editors: Kayleigh Kinnear, Graham Smith
Online: Geppetto’s Workshop
Grade: Nic Apostoli
Final mix: Sean Williams, Sterling Sound



Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at

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