by MarkLives (@marklives) Avatar Agency Group (formerly Avatar South Africa) has announced that it is opening a new office in Morningside, Durban.

Avatar Durban joins Avatar Johannesburg and Avatar Cape Town, as well as a public relations agency, Avatar PR, and media agency, Avatar Media, as being a member of the group. The new office will assist in managing the group’s Durban clients locally, which include the recently awarded Aromat, Knorox and Chicken Express accounts, and more.

“The move to Ethekwini emagagasini, as Durban is affectionately known, is long overdue. We have been working on several projects in the province for some time and believe there is room in the market for a mass-market-thinking agency like Avatar,” says Zibusiso Mkhwanazi, M&N Brands group CEO.

“Looking for change”

On the timing of the new office, Mkhwanazi notes: “There are many mass-market brands in Durban looking for change, with very limited options available to them. The size of the Durban market is an opportunity for a digitally born, mass-market agency like Avatar. It also exposes our current client base to on-the-ground growth opportunities and presence in the KZN [KwaZulu-Natal] province. Our office network in three cities, including Cape Town, also allows us to have deeper insights and even better creative output in the key cities that drive SA’s economy.”

Asked if Avatar is treating this office as a standalone agency or as another door into the main agency, Mkhwanazi says that it makes sense for the agency, in a mass-market context, to keep core creative and strategy in Joburg. “Our network of offices also work together in the ideation process to test ideas in different parts of the country to contribute to the strategy and big idea. Our Cape Town, and now Durban, team roll[s] out work in the respective offices using our fast-track teams. Being owner-managed means we have very close relationships with our clients nationally, with local account management teams supporting us to ensure our clients get the daily love and care they deserve.”

According to Mkhwanazi, the Durban office is already operational with a small team but managed from Joburg. The group is on the lookout for a general manager for the new office.

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