by Kyle de Waal & Morgan Botha. Here’s our latest choice of South African ads that connect and engage: Chicken Licken’s Everyone’s Talking About It, Absa’s Baking Delights, Gumtree’s #TheLife ‘Kim & Kanye’, Property24’s #ThisisHome, and the latest MTN #DEFBARS.

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Talking through the TV

#AdChamp: Chicken Licken — Everyone’s Talking About It

What do all the channels shown in this ad have in common? They all know what’s hot at Chicken Licken.

Joe Public United has come up with a unique concept for Chicken Licken’s #EasyBucks meals campaign: When every show on TV is talking about delicious deals, it’s time to give in and order up. The best part of this ad — aside from the price — is how the dialogue spans 14 different shows and genres, without skipping a beat. We’re talking reality TV, an infomercial, a war film, and even the classic SABC1 drama that all South Africans have watched at least once. The range of this ad is head-spinning.

We can’t get over how well this campaign has been crafted and it also flows to social media, where fans may watch and interact with the films. Despite the huge diversity of options and interaction, the dialogue remains seamless — an impressive feat of seamlessness.

Chicken Licken and Joe Public United get a huge round of applause from us for this entire campaign and we’re definitely getting a Soulicious something for dinner pronto.


Thumbs up!  Thumbs up!


Brand: Chicken Licken
Client: Chantal Sombonos van Tonder
Creative agency: Joe Public United (ATL & digital)
Group chief creative officer: Pepe Marais
Chief creative officer: Xolisa Dyeshana
Creative director: Assaf Levy
Art director: Zamani Ngubane
Copywriter: Caroline Bergh, Tshepo Tumahole
Strategy: Leigh Tayler
Account management: Amber Mackeurtan, Asbo Ofori-Amanfo
Agency TV producer: Wendy Botha
Production company: Giant Films
Director: Karien Cherry
DOP: Adam Bentel
Executive producer: Emma Lundy
Production house producer: Ashley Kadish
Stylist: Keenan McAdam
Post-production: Strangelove
Editor: Kobus Loots
Colourist: Nic Apostoli
Online operator: Charmaine Greyling
Music: Adam Howard
Audio: Lorens Persson
SFX: Lorens Persson


Here come the tears

#AdChamp: Absa — Baking Delights

When an ad makes your eyes well up with tears, you know it’s a winner.

Life insurance isn’t something we enjoy talking about; it reminds us that life is finite, that one day we will leave loved ones behind [especially now, during the novel coronavirus pandemic — ed-at-large]. Isn’t it brilliant, however, when an ad can talk about life insurance without once mentioning death? It shows that it doesn’t have to be scary, that insurance is important so that the people we love will be taken care of after we leave.

In this touching ad, Absa manages to take a subject that we usually mark as spam and turn it into a heart-warming story about a dad who just wants to do right by his daughter. It shows him teaching his daughter to bake and, as the tale unfolds quickly, she grows up to become a professional baker. As she ages, we see her father ageing, too.

We won’t ruin the ending for you, but it got actual goosebumps from both of us. A 45s-long ad — not even a full minute — and we were fully invested in the relationship between this duo.

This ad also excels when it comes to craft. No words are spoken at all. Yet everything — from the storied baking scenes, to the ageing of the actors and narrative transformation — is brilliant. Avoid the ‘skip ads’ button for this one!


Thumbs up!  Thumbs up!


Ad agency: FCB Joburg
Brand: Absa Bank
Client: Vongani Mageza, head of strategic marketing, retail & business bank
Client: Betty Dube, head, insurance cluster, strategic marketing
Executive creative director: Loyiso Twala
Creative directors: Bonolo Modise
Art director: Gwen Maluleke, Yaseen Mahomed
Copywriters: Bonolo Modise, Brandon de Souza
Agency producer: Mun Ying de Lacy
Key account managers: Alan Schreiber, Lindiwe Ncube, Maureen Bam
Production company: Seriti
Director: Paul Ramaemma
Production house producer: Sue Mills|Jhadi Quinn
DOP: Alard de Smit
Social media live date: 28 January 2020
Post-production facility: Post Modern, Fuel Content (QTV)
Editor: Jade de Jager
Sound engineer: Sean Jefferies
Music producer/composer: Garth Barnes, Tiger Fight
Audio facility: Audiophile
Broadcast stations: Online & social media platforms, in-branch QTV & collateral


Live life, Kimye-style

#AdChamp: Gumtree — #TheLife ‘Kim & Kanye’

We’re not the biggest fans of those celebrity moneyspinners, Kim and Kanye, but even we admit that the use of celebrity in this ad is absolutely hilarious. Why? Because Gumtree never takes itself too seriously and we think that’s one reason, coupled with an engaging concept, that it’s so successful.

It seems as if Gumtree has taken a page out of the Nando’s playbook by highlighting real-world, culturally relevant topics and celebrities — but in a fun, inclusive way that has a smart twist and makes the customer the star of the ad. This focus on making customers happy is something we truly admire about Gumtree.

Short, sweet, to the point and funny, this ad ticks all the right boxes for people who increasingly feel the need to skip past ads. When a video captures our attention enough to make us pause and watch the whole thing again, it’s definitely doing something right. We tip our hats to the online classifieds for this campaign and for pointing out that we, too, may shop like celebs at the click of a button.


Thumbs up!  Thumbs up!


Brand: Gumtree South Africa
Creative agency: Ogilvy Cape Town
Agency producer: Sindy Ngceba
Digital creative director: Melissa Attree
Creative director: Taryn Scher
Copywriters: Daniel Fisher, Paul Fulton
Art director: Robyn Phillips
Group account director: Brad Seaton-Smith
Account manager: Nicholas Dilley
Production house: Egg Films
Director: Robin Adams
Director of photography: Tom Revington
Production co-art director: Wikkus Muller
Production co-producer: Kerry Hosford
Executive producer: Colin Howard
Editing company: 2 + 3 Post Productions
Editor: Willie Saayman
Post-production company: Comfort & Fame
Grade: Nic Apostoli
Online: Blake Prinsloo, Static Black:
Sound design & final mix: Rob Brinkworth , Resonate Audio
Music & music publisher: Tapiwa Musvosvi, Original Composition


Mzansi home truths

# AdChamp: Property24 — This is Home

South Africa is incredibly vibrant and diverse, and Property24 offers up little slices of stories with this nostalgia-inducing campaign that’s all about the memories we make as South Africans.

By showcasing many different tales of the people who happily live in SA, we see that there’re many different definitions of home, yet they’re all something we can relate. It also cleverly shows how important community is in making a house feel like a home.

This is why we’re left with the warm and fuzzies — whether it’s having a sip of ice tea on the stoep with the family or a braai with buddies, this particular ad highlights what helps makes SA so beautiful.


Thumbs up!  Thumbs up!


Director: Jasyn Howes
Producer: Debi Shabason
Production manager: Tassyn Munro
Agency producer: Ali Coetzee
Creative director: Michel Brink
DOP: Felix Seuffert
Focus puller: Alex Ford-Robertson
Gaffer: Warrick le Sueur
1st AD: Bantuza Mchunu
Sound recordist: Sarah Faye de Muynk
Art director: Jako van Heerden
Hair & makeup: Angela Perreira
DIT: Ruan Swart
Editor: Paul Speirs
Online: New Creation Collective
Colourist: Nic Apostoli
Music score: Simon Malherbe
Final mix: Pressure Cooker Studios


It’s OK if you don’t get it

#AdChamp: MTN — #DEFBARS featuring Glen the Rapper

This winning ad is a combination of a brilliant concept and masterful execution that drives home an important message. If you struggle to understand what’s being said in this ad, then you’ve now had a small taste of what the deaf community deals with every day.

This campaign, which launched last year, takes only a couple of minutes of your day to show you the beauty that exists in the world when you don’t have your sense of hearing. There are very few ads that cater to the hearing impaired and this is one of the best ones yet, not excluding but educating those who don’t know what it would be like.

This campaign has genuinely impressed us with its innovative use of heavy bass and sign language. We feel that all ad agencies and companies could do with more inclusion of communities often completely left out of the narrative; this ad shows that it’s not that difficult. Inclusivity and diversity make life better for everyone.


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Brand: MTN
Ad agency: TBWA\Hunt Lascaris
Chief creative officer: Peter Khoury
Executive creative director: Kabelo Moshapalo
Creative director: Johann Schwella
Art director: Neels Malan
Copywriters: Neo Makongoza, The Lazarusman (artist)
Agency producer: Stacey Moloi
Key account managers: Natalie Boyce
Production company: Fort
Director: Amr Singh
Production house producer: Craig February
Social media live date: 28 January 2020
Post-production facility: Fort
Editor: Clayton Rolfe
VFX: Frank Liebenberg
Sound engineer: Sean Jefferies
Music producer/composer: Myles McDonald
Audio facility: Hey Papa Legend

Note: This column was written before the coronavirus pandemic reached South Africa.

Absa credits updated at 5.24pm on 23 March 2020.
MTN credits updated at 10am on 24 March and 3.37pm on 23 March 2020.


MarkLives logoWho are Kyle de Waal and Morgan Botha? We are two young-at-heart millennials trying with all our might to break the mould of the stereotypical ‘all millennials are the same…’ because — after all — we’re all just people. Together with the editors of, we enjoy finding ads worth watching and talking about, and then showcasing them here in our new monthly MarkLives column, #AdChamps.

If you’re involved in making South African or African advertising that’s smart, funny and/or engaging, please let us know at

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