by MarkLives (@marklives) Today we feature insight into the brief, creative idea and production challenges of the “Business Day Takeover” campaign for The Glenlivet South Africa from ad agency Publicis Machine in collaboration with media agency PHD and digital agency Hellocomputer.

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Client: The Glenlivet South Africa
Ad agency: Publicis Machine with PHD & Hellocomputer
Title: Business Day Takeover

THE Business Day, 13 May 2019Information supplied by Publicis Machine.


For over a year, Publicis Machine has been working with The Glenlivet to entrench its brand positioning as THE definitive single malt whisky. In 2019, The Glenlivet tasked the ad agency, along with media agency PHD and digital agency Hellocomputer, with entrenching this positioning in the minds of the brand’s primary target audience, the country’s business elite.

Creative summary

The Glenlivet Business Day Takeover banner ad 300X600
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THE Glenlivet is THE definitive single malt scotch whisky, with credentials that include being THE first licensed distillery in Scotland, THE creator of the term “Single Malt”, and THE first brand to put this term on its label. It’s also THE first and only single malt that inspired a whole region, today called Speyside,  which produces the world’s favourite style of single-malt whisky.

The brand’s THE campaign was launched in South Africa in 2018, with the aim of positioning the brand as THE definitive single malt whisky. Although the campaign comprises a full 360 communications programme, it has enjoyed huge success through partnerships and associations with a select group of premium brands and high society events, such as THE Glenlivet JazzTown at THE Sun Met and THE Vodacom Durban July.

When faced with the challenge of entrenching the brand’s positioning in the minds of the country’s business elite, Business Day was the natural choice, given that it is THE definitive business read, THE leader in its field, THE first choice for business leaders around the country.

Given the calibre of previous partnerships, however, the team was not content to simply take out a full-page congratulatory advertisement. PHD pitched the idea of a front-page takeover but one that was simultaneously subtle enough to not dilute Business Day’s editorial integrity, yet strong enough to land THE Glenlivet’s message.

The result is a takeover that effectively changes the paper’s iconic masthead for the day, from Business Day to THE Business Day — something that has never been done before in the title’s history. It’s a powerful statement of how brands working in partnership with media owners can create breakthrough campaigns that make a massive impact.


Teams from each agency were tasked with co-creating a campaign around the brand takeover, with the objective of optimising the takeover with crafted content across the newspaper’s print, digital and social media platforms, as well as those belonging to THE Glenlivet brand, leading up to and on the day of the front page takeover today, Monday, 13 May 2019.

A finely engineered pre-takeover campaign was rolled out on THE Glenlivet’s digital and social media platforms leading up to 13 May by the Hellocomputer team. This was supported by posts on Business Day’s own social media platforms. Also part of the mix was a sponsored article that went live on on 26 April, designed to offer valuable insight into whisky as an investment.

“We decided to maximise all of our communication channels to reach the widest possible audience, with the intent of creating a real buzz around the first-in-history takeover,’’ says John Beale, Pernod Ricard South Africa head of communications.

The front page takeover itself has been brought to life by Publicis Machine. Today, on 13 May, Business Day has become THE Business Day. The takeover comprises the masthead and the masthead earspace, with a DPSthat explains the why behind THE Glenlivet takeover — to recognise the newspaper as THE definitive business newspaper. An insightful interview with THE Glenlivet brand ambassador completes the print campaign elements.

Last, but certainly not least, has been the personal touch: “One of the most-enjoyable elements for me was a personalised product drop, of The Glenlivet 15 Year old with a copy of THE Business Day, to top business leaders in Johannesburg and Cape Town,’’ says Marco Vandeput, The Glenlivet brand ambassador, who hand-delivered these himself.


Print is an unusual choice for brands in these times but the reality is that Business Day remains the preferred medium of The Glenlivet’s target audience when it comes to business news. The challenge lay in finding a way to cut through the clutter, especially within the traditional constraints of the print medium, and especially within the confines of a serious read such as Business Day.

The result is a first for both THE Glenlivet and THE Business Day.

Cheers to that! Or, as they say in Scotland, Sláinte!


From origination to execution, the Business Day Takeover campaign has been a collaborative project between The Glenlivet SA’s core agencies: Publicis Machine, PHD and Hellocomputer.

While PHD originated the idea of the takeover and has managed the rollout across the Business Day platforms, Publicis Machine developed the concept and has created content across all platforms. The team at Hellocomputer conceptualised and has managed the brand’s social media campaign, while Publicis Machine’s PR team — Moon Walk — managed the editorial elements of the campaign and the personalised hand-delivery to leading business icons.

“It was amazing to see how each team’s passion and individual expertise led to creative solutions that dovetailed beautifully across all communication platforms to create an integrated symphony of content that really hit the message home,’’ says Keval Ramraj, The Glenlivet brand manager.


Pre-takeover campaign: 15 April 2019–12 May 2019
Campaign period: 13 May 2019
Post-takeover campaign: 14 May 2019–31 May 2019



THE Glenlivet

Brand manager, The Glenlivet: Keval Ramraj
Head of communications for Pernod Ricard South Africa: John Beale
Brand ambassador, The Glenlivet: Marco Vandeput

Ad agency

Publicis Machine

Chief creative officer: Gareth McPherson
Creative director: PJ Eales
Copywriter: Sam Newdigate
Designer: Marisa Steyn
Account manager: Busi Moyi
Group account director: Kate Jackson

Moon Walk (Publicis Machine PR Team)
Senior account manager: Rebecca Atherstone
PR Account Executive: Chanelle MacAllister

Media agency


Managing partner: Ilan Lazarus
Strategic lead: Charl Redelinghuys
Digital strategist: Inge Hansen

Digital agency


Account manager: Francois Pretorius
Senior key account manager: Alexandra Forrester



MarkLives logo#Campaigns is the new weekly MarkLives column featuring insight into the brief, creative idea, production challenges and results of South African communication campaigns, both ongoing and recent. Have a campaign worthy of being featured in #Campaigns? Submit a short motivation to 2mark and we may well be in touch. Please include links to campaign material, when it ran/is running and why you believe it should be featured.

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