by Herman Manson (@marklives) We list the creative work you made time to read about here on MarkLives during 2018.

Absa rebrand - artboard logo1. The new Absa logo

See: Social media reacts to Absa’s new logo

Absa launched its new corporate identity, following its divorce from Barclays Africa Group. It officially rebranded and started trading under its new name, Absa Group, and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, on Wednesday, 11 July 2018. OgilvyRED (New York), Grid Worldwide and Yellowwood consulted on the brand change. Tweeps weren’t impressed. We still asked one of the agencies behind the rebrand to explain their thinking.

See also: Behind the Absa brand relaunch

“The challenge was to take a leading brand such as Absa, that has gone through more than one rebrand iteration, and revitalise the brand identity to make it digitally led and approachable — to appeal not only to the market and consumers but to existing and the new staff, the Barclays employees — to create something new and fresh for the African market.”


2017 MarkLives Ad of the Year 2017 part 22017 MarkLives Ad of the Year 2017 part 12. #AdoftheYear2017

Our top three ads for 2017 were produced by the talented teams at The Odd Number, Joe Public and King James.

#AdoftheYear2017: South Africa’s best ads [ads 10-4]
#AdoftheYear2017: South Africa’s best ads [ads 3-1]


Nandos Afrofuturism afrotising3. #CampaignRadar: Nando’s hilarious Afrofuturism dig

Nando’s dropped an ad questioning “the surplus of ‘Afrofuturism’ on our screens at the moment” — who didn’t notice the dig at the new Absa logo?


King James the Second for Allan Gray screengrab4. Allan Gray launches heartwarming campaign

Allan Gray and King James the Second launched a heartwarming new campaign which the agency pitched as a “gently humorous, yet heart-warming fable of a relationship between parents and their children — one that many South Africans will identify with.”


Chicken Licken goes Wild West5. Yoh, Chicken Licken on land, settlers & a side of amapantsula

Can South Africans rediscover their inner peace? In developing this ad campaign, Chicken Licken and agency Joe Public United asked where would it be nearly impossible to find inner peace and what would it look like if this place were, in fact, found?


Castle Lite apology6. #HoldMyBeer pushes Castle Lite to do better

A social media post by radio and TV personality, Dineo Ranaka, led at least one beer brand to rethink its misogynist advertising practices on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018. Using the hashtag “#HoldMyBeer“, social media users discussed the misrepresentation of women in beer commercials.


Apartheid Museum, TBWA and Loeries ad controversy slider7. Loeries. Scandal. Repeat?

Controversy erupted over the authenticity of quotes attributed to apartheid prime minister, Dr HF Verwoerd, and current US president, Donald J Trump, in a Gold Loeries award-winning radio ad produced for the Apartheid Museum by TBWA\Hunt Lascaris. In the ad, “Past and Present”, purported statements by Verwoerd and Trump were placed in such a way as to show similar attitudes by the men.

Eventually, the agency announced that the campaign had been pulled and that it would be handing back the awards it had won. The Loeries ultimately decided that all work entered by TBWA\Hunt Lascaris for the Apartheid Museum in 2018’s awards be disqualified, including the full “Past and Present” campaign, as well as a separate campaign titled, “The Old South Africa Flag.”

See: #Loeries2018 controversy over TBWA’s Apartheid Museum ad
See: TBWA pulls Trump/Verwoerd campaign, hands back Loerie


Nando's Bill of Rights #rightmyname9. #Campaigns: How Nando’s fixed 70k names for spellcheck

Nando’s, together with its advertising agency M&C Saatchi Abel, launched the #rightmyname campaign in its quest to continuing contributing to the broader dialogue of South Africa through highlighting typically South African challenges — such as SA names still being spellchecked as errors.


Nando's #YouPeople10. Nando’s tackles #YouPeople (because we’re all the same)

Nando’s took aim at #YouPeople and, as usual, South Africans got a closeup of themselves in the brand’s trademark humorous fashion. As the brand pointed out, “You people” is a phrase often used by South Africans when describing people different to them. So, in the ad from M&C Saatchi Abel, Nando’s highlighted the ways in which South Africans typically stereotype one another and the hypocrisies that go with that.


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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