by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) Digital agency Hoorah’s strategy for embedding itself in the market has three core aspects: data, creativity and an atypical attitude to risk. Shaune Jordaan, cofounder and CEO of this recent arrival, believes these will add up to help brands dive deeper into the digital realm — and grow there.

The industry heavyweight, a former cofounder of Synergize, was looking to do something different after leaving his post as MD of Saatchi & Saatchi Pro in London. Attracted by what he saw as huge potential in the combination of data and creativity, and keen to do something entrepreneurial, Jordaan decided to return to South Africa and open a startup in the Mother City. “I felt that digital was moving fast, and that data had the power to transform things,” he says. “And by having creativity at the heart of that, campaigns would be hugely effective.”

A sense of surprise

The specifics of the agency and its approach gradually crystallised, and the name Hoorah emerged to represent a sense of surprise, with the eyes in the logo suggestive of a person looking through data and discovering treasure, Jordaan explains. Forging an executive quartet with long-time acquaintance Jay Thompson, who is co-founder and CSO; Tasmin Kingma, who is head of media; and Neil Pursey, who is head of inbound and the co-founder of digital marketing training company, Webgrowth Academy — soon to be Hoorah Education — the agency was established and its doors officially opened in May this year.

The agency has been in a strong pitching phase since, celebrating early successes with WWF SA, for whom it has launched an online apparel store with a focus on sustainability, as well as Rawson Properties and Flight Centre Business Travel. The WWF work led to Hoorah’s just-announced acquisition of Durban-based design and development agency, Tenzing, which it teamed up with for the project. This is expected to boost Hoorah’s e-commerce capabilities.

In June, The Odd Number acquired a minority equity stake in Hoorah, adding the Nedbank digital account, which will be a collaborative effort, to the agency’s list. The two will be partnering on TTL campaigns.

Further partnerships

Going forward, Jordaan anticipates further partnerships — both with other agencies and brands: “We’re positioning ourselves as an independent digital consultancy business. We can go in and help internal teams to grow their digital stack, or whatever their mandate is.” Hoorah would be operating on a hybrid model of supporting these internal teams or wholly serving a brand’s digital needs, depending on what was required, he says.

The revenue model Hoorah has selected is performance-based and fairly high risk. He says that contracts are negotiated with each client or partner, and could include, for example, an agency fee plus a percentage from sales or leads, or a scaled percentage of media spend based on KPI. “Everything we do, we tie to the performance of the brand, so if the brand does well, we do well,” he says. “A lot of people are petrified by that but we love it, because it makes us feel entrepreneurial and it makes us live up to our purpose of helping businesses grow.”

Jordaan emphasises that creativity today doesn’t have to carry a high price-tag, thanks to advances in technology. “My thinking with Hoorah is that we flip [the traditional agency model] upside down,” he says. “Our creative work is not expensive; we can use the latest technology we have in our hands to produce a lot, and tailor it on the basis of what data is telling us.”

“Data means people”

Hoorah uses opt-in, first-party data from clients to create personalised brand engagement — something Jordaan believes is key to effective marketing and advertising. “Data means people,” he says. “Data is people. Brands sit on tons of data, yet spam us because of poor execution — I want to try change that. We’re saying let’s look at data first, let’s understand what opportunities exist for this brand, let’s then create our visual expression of what we feel would work as a campaign, and drive it through media.”

While Hoorah tries to keep the creative aspect affordable, this doesn’t mean quality is compromised. What using available resources does mean, he says, is that it’s possible to focus on having a strong media budget and altering content on the basis of consumer behaviour to drive the outcomes required: “What we want to try and do is make sure our ads are unobtrusive, served to the right person at the right time, and that the person actually wants to hear from that brand.”

This is the agency’s understanding of people-based marketing, and a stark contrast to the unsolicited text messages and emails all too many consumers receive and ignore. “From the brand side, it means less media wastage and more uptake,” he adds.

Education essential

Jordaan is positive about the future of Hoorah but says that education will be essential to the agency’s success. “The challenge is to get brands to understand that they can’t do everything,” he says. “And that we’re coming in not to diminish but to bolster and build internal digital teams, to slowly embed ourselves into businesses as consultants.”

Hoorah’s initial focus will be consolidating its presence in the South African market before moving north into Nigeria, Kenya and the UK, where the agency intends to work with partners on the ground. As yet, details have not been released.

Hoorah logo

  • Office locations: Cape Town, Joburg, Durban
  • Revenue band: R20-R30m
  • Staff count: 16
  • Key clients: Rawson Properties, WWF SA, Nedbank, Flight Centre Business Travel
  • Services: CRM, data, digital, media buying, media planning, programmatic


Carey FinnCarey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to, her new column “#AgencyFocus” is an ongoing weekly series updating the market on agency performance, including business performance, innovation, initiatives, the work, awards and people.

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