MTN: Smugly shirking service

Day12You’ve heard this story before… because this is the world we live in.

Monopolised. By mongrels.

However – and the irony is – that which sustains this system is us. The money earners, money spenders, account payers… Sadly though, when that which we are paying for is derailed, our querying and solution-seeking reveals the starkly substandard, defective and senseless approach that brand custodians employ in order not to do their jobs. On a good day and with sense of humour in tact (now absent altogether), I view my musings with MTN like a badly-produced soap opera – albeit far more painful and without the excessive sex. On a bad day, seeking resolution from MTN feels like it would if you were drowning… and someone handed you a baby.

MTN Drowning

Just like any good soap opera, this crisis has more than one storyline running concurrently: Incompetence renders new iPad inept and The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance.

The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance

Monday, 6 October

My iPhone 5S was damaged in an unfortunate car-swapping driveway accident that left it looking like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.10.09 PM

I went to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside, Johannesburg to proceed with the claim, where I was advised that it would be better to call 083 123 6084. That they would come and collect the phone from me in order to process the claim and issue me with a loan-phone in the meantime. Sounds great, right?

Try calling that number. The waiting time is longer than Katherine Kelly Lang has been Brooke on The Bold and the Beautiful. Hint: it’s a really long time. She still holds the role she first kicked-off in 1987.


Without a cellphone, I decided it would be a good time to get a new iPad on a 3G contract – so as to stay in contact that way and then have that too once my phone was up and running. Now pay attention, because here’s where the Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline kicks off – and the two run concurrently.

Sunday, 12 October

Upon completing and submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the application1 – and successful vetting of my details – I was handed a new iPad with a credit card-sized SIM holder and shuffled on my way (it was the weekend and the store was closing). At home, I realised I had been issued the incorrect sized SIM for the iPad… so I would have to go back and get that sorted…

MTN April 13

I work. So doing that is not as easy as it sounds. It comes down to trying during lunch which, coincidentally, is when everybody else is at the Service Centre too.

Monday, 20 October

I went back to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside to attempt strike 2 at the insurance claim and to table their simple-minded-SIM-issue, with the hopes of getting the correct sized SIM for the iPad applied for and issued. There, I also raised the issue of not being able to get through on083 123 6084 for my insurance claim…  The consultant called into the helpdesk from her MTN-issued phone. We spoke to Patrick Mfelang ( who assured me he would email the insurance claim form to me and we could try that route.

After (re)submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the (re)application2 for the correct SIM (but without any apology for the inconvenience of the incorrect SIM issue, nor the time or petrol used to make them aware of their error), I was issued with the correct-sized SIM card for the iPad issued.

Back at the office, I had in fact received Patrick’s email; completed, submitted and received a response apologising for the potential delay, and that I would be contacted within 5 days.

5 days

Monday, 27 October

In the coming days, it was clear that no data was available (on the iPad), even with the second SIM issued. The MTN-SA icon appears in the top left corner, but without a signal and no internet connection available. Based on an application process that was “approved” on Sunday, 12 October – but one that had resulted in a 0% success rate and therefore no usage of said device – it was brutally clear that the employees appointed by MTN who work at the MTN Service Centre in Morningside are uninterested in / incapable of performing their roles.

So I tried the Social Media route:

SM post 1

And… with no Yello from the insurance department, I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

27 Insurance Qry

Responses: 0 

MTN April 14

Tuesday, 28 October

With still not a Yello from the insurance department… I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

28th Follow-up
Responses: 0 

Wednesday, 29 October 

I try social media once again, regarding my handset insurance claim: SM post 2 - 29 Oct

I also reply directly via my inbox message, hoping to have some luck that way: 29th Follow-up Both

After much, painful answer-seeking, I was told that my contract was on hold for a RICA issue: they needed a copy of my ID to effect the final approval… My ID (yes, still the same one) that they had taken, copied and submitted twice so far.

Further to furnishing the required details for the iPad SIM activation, and only to compound the issues at hand because I am obviously a) nuts, and b) a complete sucker for punishment, I further requested that my iPad contract be credited for the pro-rata charges from Sunday 12 October to when it would come online – for obvious reasons.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.33.32 PM
Responses regarding that query? Take a wild guess.

Thursday, 30 October 

Hallelujah Houston! We have a Yello! The iPad situation was resolved – a mere 19 days after the application process began – and thus concludes our Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline.

30th iPad SIM resolution

Traction seemed infectious. On that same day, I received this (well written) communication from the insurance department:

30th email from insurance about call
I replied, just to confirm (further to a note on the actual claim form and through correspondence on Facebook) where they should reach me:
30th reply with landline number

Sadly… that traction was short-lived.

No response regarding the credit note, and no call regarding my insurance claim have yet been received.

But… then this………


Saturday, 1 November

I received this message (via Facebook) from Devan regarding my insurance claim:

Phone off

I’m not quite sure what else to say or do at this point. I’ve provided my work number to them three times, knowing full well that they wouldn’t be able to reach me on my cellphone…

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.14.40 AM

Thanks to the inefficiency of people who don’t (have to) think further than what they’ll do with their hair on the weekend or how what they do in a role that pays them a salary, affects the men and women whose custom keeps them there, I am now literally at the end of my rapidly frayed rope.


Ergo, I am smart. I am a writer. And creating work that builds brands is my playground.

So here we go… Today, this blog goes out and its link gets sent to one Paul Norman (to name but a few), Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN.

Let’s see, shall we?

MTN Speechless

Stay tuned for more from this beguiling albeit completely pointless soap opera. Pointless because if consultant #1 had done what they were supposed to do… we would not be here.

1 First time ID was successfully received by MTN
2 Second time ID was successfully received by MTN

© Dylan Balkind

Homo’s, Abortions & the Digital Disdain

A little while ago on twitter, some men were waxing on about women and whether they should or shouldn’t have the right to choose abortion. My opinion on this is to keep whatever it is to myself, albeit if just to say to the blokes: Unless you’re the father of the unborn foetus – you have no place passing your pointlessness to that ‘debate’ at all.

It’s not your womb. It’s not your body. It’s none of your business.

This weekend, Gay Pride festivals happened around the States and most of Europe1. Apple’s CEO took part in San Francisco, the Boy Scouts of America became first-time marchers in NYC, 26 000-strong celebrated in Singapore, and Celebrity Grand Marshal George Takei paved the parade’s path through the streets of Seattle. The occasion for people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way. Fundamentally, it is one day in the year that each and every LGBT individual has the choice, the forum and the right to be just who they truly feel to be – and do it just how they feel to do it.

All is fair in love and war

Yes, these events will draw commentary from both the pertinent and the peanut gallery, and Social Media gives everyone the platform to air theirs. Most of the time, it sounds something like oh my God they should just get over it and carry on with life. Carry on with whose life? With whose understanding of how life should be? Whichever way the challenging goes, it should be brave enough to engage in dialogue – not simply sprout monologue. 


When it comes to (previously) persecuted ‘minorities’2 – the right to be heard must sit with them, first. This was Black people in an apartheid-era South Africa (and worldwide, still); Homosexuals throughout the ages (worldwide – and still); Jewish nationalities long before and since the Hitler era… and… sadly, too many other horrifying examples to mention here.

Enter objectioning about the need for Pride in contemporary society – by Straight people. This will send some frantic and fiery opinions into deliberation, just as it would were a White person to mouth-off about a Black-perspective on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of Apartheid.

Everyday enmity is a seriously lazy habit.

So on behalf of me and my jazz-hands horde, let me have a shot at why we still need Gay Pride:

With regards to what follows: I have redacted the name of the digital agency concerned – not because I think that they deserve to be sheltered from the naming-and-shaming (because they shouldn’t be), but because there are individuals that have worked /are working there that do not subscribe to the same views. These people should not– and do not deserve to be lumped in with the accepted behaviours of the body.

On my last day of working there – as had become custom – I sent the following farewell email:


** Responses: None.

Earlier that week, I’d written a shorter ‘farewell’ message on a window (where people regularly wrote with dry-wipe markers, erased and replaced as/when/where necessary).

** Responses: One.

photo (3)

Is this how an evolved sanity signs off?

Nah, usually not… But still, as a spectator, you cringe before leaning-in closer to see what happens next, right?

Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.

As I left the building with shames, shade, shame-ons and sads, I sent that pic to the company with the subject “PS” – and the body text: “Thanks for the memories.”

** Responses: One.

Email 1

Now… wait— is this a sanity-evolved? Hard to say. And given my own manner for quick-mouthing, I couldn’t suggest this guy hold his thoughts until he’d collected some more. Still, I had hoped for more from someone I’d gotten to know a bit about (who had his own history of hurting as far as human relations go), and that maybe he might have held back a little longer than 24-minutes before so bravely hitting ‘reply-all’ — on a digital platform, at the country’s top digital agency — with such confident closure.

** Responses: One.
Mine – privately to him (yes, I get the irony in that none of this is private anymore).

Email 2

No longer private indeed – and fittingly so. You see, bullies are only brave in a bunch. It was tacitly-thick there and bred like a bonfire. But when expressive about my upset, my deserting doubter said:

“There’s more to life than worrying about them,
and worrying about that shit!”

He wasn’t wrong. But I often wonder if he ever told any of them that, too?


  • Responses / acknowledgments (to date of publishing this post) from any of the head honchos? Nada
  • Rash responses: One (above)
  • Outpouring of disgust and dissatisfaction at such distaste from those consulted? Overwhelming:
    • a Partner at Fasken Martineau
    • Seniors at Habari Media
    • a Business Division Consultant/Head at Absa
    • my friends and family – and their friends and family

It’s seriously sad. Especially when I think that I wrote the new mission statement for this agency and how now, it’s safe to say that I went from: This is hot — to — uh… I kinda like it — to — Hold up! I’m a little confused here… — to — None of this adds up?!? — to — What a load of bullshit. 

They’re about to announce their merger with one of the world’s most progressive agencies, and I have to wonder how the small minds will fare among the bigger ones when they Ogle all the different characters they will have to cohabit with… Fact is: the ratios are going to be reversed.

All the best.

And c‘est la vie.


Because you simply can’t win them all. On a random Monday, you may be forced to realise that the wave of the witless is wide when a complete stranger – so radically outside of my every-gay life – be so upfront in suggesting Pride be unnecessary because Gay people should ‘blend in’ rather than celebrate their liberties:

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.02.52 PM

…well, no.

That would be a seriously lazy habit.

So thanks Laetitia, but no.

I am Gay.

I am 36.

And I have never participated in a Pride parade or any of the after parties.

But I could do if or when I choose to – and that’s what’s pertinent and poignantly important to me.

Because I am Gay.

It is not all that I am…

…but it is all that I am.

And there are lots of us.

Our differences don’t make us disgusting or deserving of defamatory vitriol or aggressive graffiti.

But it happens. Just like when gullible guys genuinely believe that their opinion on abortion is ace.

It happens.


…with several deep breaths, I can say for sure that I know this: one man’s torment is another man’s tea break, and what’s sore to me may just be satire to you.

So the only merit I see in outsiders’ questions around Pride’s rightful place in contemporary society, is in why we waited to accept this anointed ‘permission’ by the other, just to go on, exactly as we were, with our blood pumping as it always has been?

Parched is the man whose passion to pump blood depends on the permission of another…

…and there lies that fine line between Worrier and Warrior.

Indeed, the occasion for people to promote and proclaim their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way… but it’s not that we don’t need to celebrate what we have always been…

…it’s that we shouldn’t have had to wait to be told when we could.


Preemptive people are everywhere.

Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.


© Dylan Balkind

1 Barcelona, Lima, Mexico City, Paris, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City.
2 Not always in numbers, but often by an imbalance of power.

Open letter season: Here’s mine to Jani Allan

Jani Allan. Until last week, few people my age (and around) knew who she was. My parents recognised her name. They’re in their mid sixties. Allan is 62 so the shoe fits. On the 14th April, 2014 however, Allan entered the Oscar Pistorius fray with an open letter on her blog.

It’s hot topic – Oscar and the trial he’s on for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, so it didn’t take long for what she recorded there to go viral. It was what any blog (including this one) presents: opinion. Hers however leveraged its newsorthiness with the juggernaut allegation that Pistorius has been taking acting lessons for his courtroom appearances in order to deliver a testimony by-design, to both advocates for and against him – Barry Roux and Gerrie Nel respectively.

It’s hot topic because, as is the case with any celebrity, we feel they are ours. His wrong is a wrong to us. He abused his power… he is reckless… he is a monster… whatever. I’m not here to defend Oscar Pistorius. He stopped irritating me a while ago. Jani Allan has taken that place and, I put it to you, she has had you all on.

Wikipedia lists Jani Allan as a South African columnist, broadcaster and animal rights advocate. She became a household name through her work at the Sunday Times (1980 to 1989) and, at the height of her fame in 1987, commissioned a Gallup poll to find “the most admired person in South Africa”.

She won.

Her open letter picks up the story and depicts her as ‘the other woman’ in Eugene Terre’blanche’s life whilst his was falling apart. After much tumult and an assassination attempt on her life, the most admired person in South Africa decided to go west and, from 2001, found a new vocation in the PR and restauranting industries in the States. She also tried her hand at astrology, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

It’s now being said that Jani has returned to the media frame. But… in all fairness – and just like me here – the Internet gives anybody a voice. Ergo, eight full days after her blog went viral, she is still tweeting the clincher from it with links to equally authoritative media leaders like Perez Hilton and – under a section called “Odd News”.

Odd. News. Indeed.

Jani Twitter 1

Do you remember 2009’s MTV Awards? Where one Sacha Baron Cohen – dressed as Bruno in just a thong and angel wings – flitted from the ceiling and landed, ass-all-exposed on Eminem’s face? Three years before that, the same actor was stopped by Secret Service personnel at The White House, when he attempted to invite George W. Bush to the screening of his then movie ‘Borat’ in an effort to promote ‘Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’.

It’s called a publicity stunt, aimed to garner fever-pitch interest and do work for your brand that paid or owned media – with the same amount of time – could only dream of achieving. Want a success story? Think Felix Baumgartner’s edge of space jump to earth for Red Bull. Jani Allan’s story? Not so much.

Online, this seasoned journalist is quick to highlight / remind / reprimand re: her viral success and commits to statements like this for her brand:

Jani Twitter 2

We all have. Clearly. But post slumber, have a listen to her speaking to Fox News here.

It was the interviewer’s question at around 04:48 that really woke me up, but it’s her cavalier response that makes me think perhaps she and Oscar got a two-for-one special at this acting coach she knows so well. And “…when the steel horses came down…” – as she puts it – she professes innocent simplicity in her motives and that her open letter was just opinion.

No. No it wasn’t. It was a cheap shot by someone hanging on to the ass-end of their fifteen minutes who has plans to release a memoir. The clincher? Society has handed her the Soap Box she was so angling for and now, apparently, even her opinion on Oscar having a new girlfriend is deemed worthy of the forum?! Who are you Jani Allen, when it comes to adding value to a case that has our nation in a catatonic state? You were the other woman to a man our history is embarrassed to include.

May you have an opinion about Oscar Pistorious? Yes. Is the link between that opinion and your experience with Eugene Terre’blanche tenuous, at best? Yup. Is this a PR stunt to drum up rent-a-crowd interest before your book “Just Jani” (…sigh…) is released? It most definitely is. You could have saved us all the hassle and added a badly lit, homemade sex tape of you and who-cares-who to the carte du jour available already.

If that’s how the righteous, hardworking nobility like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian had to sweat it out to get their genius got, who are you Just Jani to think you can fast track your way to a best seller? I’m not buying it.

And I’m definitely not buying it.

1987 was a lifetime ago. Reinvent yourself Jani which means boldly letting go of that most admired person in South Africa title. Spoiler alert: you’re not it.

I’d think that, with all the stamps in your passport and the lessons that life should have taught you, you’d have gone about this with a lot more wisdom and finesse than you did.

Move along. Nothing more to see here.


© Dylan Balkind


SAB Anti-Rape Billboard

So… there’s so much (informed and uninformed) opinionaters on Rape in South Africa – and ways in which these conversations come alive among your (anti) social networks. One fellow thought he would weigh-in on the Rape-rant by voicing his disapproval of the South African Breweries (SAB) Corporate Social Responsibility billboard that pushes all the right buttons for underage drinking, women abuse and rape.

Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 11.40.44 AM

“Hey SAB! Were you OUT OF YOUR MIND putting up a billboard intimating that girls who get drunk are somehow choosing to get raped? Last time I checked, it was the RAPIST doing the deciding. In one fell swoop, you’ve managed to uphold rape culture AND lay the blame on women. Do you have any idea what kind of message this sends out to the countless women who’ve had to endure what you’re calling a ‘decision’? Congratulations. I wish I could simply call you imbeciles and be done with it, but that’s too innocent a word for what you are.”

I picture him in his skinny jeans, non-prescription specs and a plaid shirt with some or other morning’s Pronutro crusting on a buttonhole. He likes what he sees in the mirror and fancies himself quite the intellect. Before we go any further – to safeguard his potential embarrassment while allowing him his democratic right to continue on in his blinkered state – I will from this point onward refer to (beep) as Mr. Igno Rant.

Mr. Rant has gotten way too carried away with his very own self-congratulatory effort to cause a commotion. As an Advertising geek who has had a look at the Brand and Social Responsibility message by SAB, I suggest you consider this:


a)     is not diverting the blame from these bastards who take matters into their own hands
b)     is highlighting the already-ablaze epidemic of rape in this country, and
c)     is admitting – from a CSI vantage point – that alcohol may play a role in contributing to victims.

Alcohol doesn’t for one moment give men an easy-out excuse for rape, citing for example that the victim was drunk and therefore to blame. It simply highlights the obvious: when inebriated, women may not have their wits at hand – something that these loser predators undoubtedly count on. Furthermore, Rant has neglected to appreciate the message for underage drinking and the perps that do nothing about it but fill their cash registers. Let those who sell alcohol to minors see this billboard too, find their conscience and stop contributing to the problem.

You may raise an eyebrow at my silly-man-bashing and accuse me of what I myself deplore so vehemently: bullying. No. I am not being a bully. I am disturbed and horrified that those who choose to make a noise about something they have given absolutely no thought to still have the dangerous power through the viral message in social media to incite enough other non-thinkers to make a noise and flap to that side of the fence.

Let me be clear: there is never a bad time to talk about Rape.

Also, I speak from my heart and soul when I say that a man who can’t comb his hair in the morning shouldn’t be taken too seriously – but rather that it is the lack of response of a nation to an issue that should have mobilised us years ago… now that’s what I really care about. Still, Ignor has meticulously highlighted the issue that people would rather suck their teeth and shake their empty heads in disgust at, because of the distaste of a brand to bring such attention to a very real problem. Truth is Ignor, this is an industry that has the potential to shine a very bright light on an issue that our useless government is far too quiet about, every single day. Don’t you think that that’s something you should embrace?

I congratulate SAB and the creatives at their agency who have shown that, in South Africa, a pair of balls can still be used for good.


© Dylan Balkind

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies

Attraction. An innate quality that inspires what moves and motivates both men and women. It is why we drive what we drive, wear what we wear and smell the way we choose to smell. And whether you aim to drop jaws or find yourself having to remember where yours is, the appeal of the preferred sex is responsible for most of the decisions you make. Seriously.

Playboy Deodorant’s reinvented brand launches this week with a new look, a new vibe and a lot more appeal. A lead TV Commercial flights later this week and I’m giving you the first look.

And because attraction doesn’t work if it isn’t edgy, there are two viral executions that explain just what we mean when we talk about The Power of Attraction – and what it means if you just don’t have it.

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies.

Use Playboy Deodorant.

The Power of Attraction.

PR and Social Networking, sitting in a tree…

What do Marc Jacobs, BP, Toyota and Domino’s Pizza – among others – have in common? A soap-opera’s share of PR and Crisis Management drama – and none of them are entirely blameless in each of their situations. Tread carefully with whom you dish your twitter passwords out to, or how you treat your employees; that little website called YouTube is just one place they can flex their unhappiness.

Public Relations is the art of making the consumer see your business as you would like them to see it. Now is the time to believe that Social Networking is PR’s BFF. Well, in a perfect world that would be the case, but in reality, it all depends on whom you have typing your 140-character sentiments up; something Marc Jacobs and his organisation learnt about the hard way recently when they let a young intern loose on their twitter account. Obviously not a happy chappy – and certainly not a fan of big MJ or company CEO, Robert Duffy.

“You have no idea how difficult Robert is … Roberts a tyrant … I don’t have the energy for what is expected … Spelling is hard for me…”. The ‘anonymous intern’ was definitely not having a grand ol time trying to leverage the brand via twitter. It’s a pity because there are hundreds of people who would kill for that job – and they gave it to someone they obviously didn’t respect and who has a problem with spelling. That’s PR blunder #1. Sure, you don’t have to lavish expensive gifts on the petulant child who is in charge of steering your social networking page – but then choose the right candidate to begin with. Somebody that actually wants the job might be a good place to start.

Unhappy employees can no longer be overlooked. If this was 1988, you could just ignore the problem or bury them with double the work load and half the pay, but somewhere between big hair, blue eye shadow and the constantly-online world we now live in, a shift happened that evened out the playing field (to say the least). With your organisation’s reputation very much at stake, the power to go online is something that people have to respect and be very, very careful of. “Anyone with a camera and an internet link can cause a lot of damage,” says the reporter in NBC’s news report on the Domino’s employees who took hygiene care to the dark side – and filmed it for sh*ts and giggles.

The power for something to go viral is immeasurable and what may be funny to two idiots on a random day at work may not be funny to an audience, the collective organisation or the brand’s reputation. If everybody stopped buying Domino’s, the company would have to close its doors and you would have thousands of unemployed people who, for the most part, spend everyday doing an honest day’s work to bring home the pizza. How funny would your video be then, Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer?

How companies respond to issues like these is paramount to their survival. Sure, not many of Marc Jacobs’ twitter followers have a personal relationship with him, and – thanks to movies like The Devil Wears Prada or John Galliano’s recent rants – we don’t expect fashion stalwarts to be angelic. Still, there is something to be said for knowing that a revered brand’s CEO has an unnecessary, nasty personality behind closed doors or dangerous, lurking anti-semitic sentiments. Jacobs’ organisation responded to their little twitter-gate with a clean and clear message that all is well and implied they had simply been hacked.

Nothing memorable or particularly impressive, but decent enough. Maybe playing it down is not a bad thing. At least they didn’t pretend it never happened which is more than we can say for those charmers at BP throughout 2010. Their eventual reactions were so bad – “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume,” BP CEO. Err… No reaction would have been better! The whole fiasco proved that, unless you have impermeable business operations that are devoid of any possible error, be sure you have a super-effective crisis management and PR strategy.

Toyota has suffered many blows to their brand and reputation. I’m almost starting to feel sorry for them. When what you are selling is built on safety and reputation, you face a massive problem when you have to admit that those very same elements are in question. It has been a long journey for the motor vehicle giant; one that led to production of this commercial no doubt. Reputation fix? I’m not convinced.

It touches a nerve if you ask me. Too close to what they are still dealing with and, as they say in the business, you can’t rebuild a house in a hurricane. There is no doubt that this is a very pretty commercial, I just think it will be wasted on the audience at this time. They they will scoff at its message and say ‘yeah right’. Moreover, I think it is trying to say a lot without actually committing to anything concrete. So you created this glass body? Show us what happens to it when you drive the car into a wall.

Mending business wounds is a tricky business and one that professionals probably only have to learn about as they walk that unexpected road. One thing the Toyota commercial does highlight for organisations big and small is their need for PR and Crisis Management strategies: We’re all fragile – especially on the inside.

Dolphin for dinner?

Bank ads have always elicited opinion because most of them don’t walk the walk they’re talking. “Why would a bank be interested in people’s values?” asks the opening voice over on this ad I found. The answer stands behind the obvious messaging that with a shortage of sea life still lies an interesting tale of survival vs morals. This commercial walks the walk of Advertising for me. You will remember it tomorrow. And with powerful imagery and performances, it proves that actions – and visuals – speak louder than words.

Hungry, cold and tired men work hard to feed and provide, but, as the message is so strikingly laid bare before us, there are still decisions to be made at every turn. Check out HSBCs ‘Personal Responsibility’ by JWT London.

What choice would you make?

Masterminds at eTV create the untouchable studio

Must be no one at work at 05h44. No one save for these spearheads of hot debate and television masterminds. I’m not that interested in the topic; why Visagie felt he had to throw a perfectly good and defenceless mic system on the floor, or why political analyst Lebogang Pheko thought her outfit was a good idea that morning. I just want to know no one cut away to a boerizza ad? I bang my fists on the table with head thrown back asking the same question over and over again! Why did no one cut away?

Good ads or bad ones, there are plenty of them around. So many in fact, that a live editor should be spoilt for choice when sitting with a dashboard of editing equipment in front of him or her, and a live feed to commandeer to a news-hungry audience. So, what happens when something like this does? When things go awry and the pertinent debate in studio goes from news to notorious? Well, err, nothing if you work at eTV. You can just kick back and stare open mouthed at the unfolding mess on screen as it is happening in studio. Don’t panic. Don’t react. And most importantly, DO NOT deny the kind people at home the opportunity to see the same thing you are.


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