Simulating creativity

It has been said that talent borrows and genius steals. Sure, we are all in this industry to give our wild ideas a chance to escape the realm of only our imagination and ideally see the light of day. But what normally happens when we do is that half-a-dozen other agency people you work with have the same plan, so they scoff at yours and push for theirs. Something of the collective gets the go-ahead before being completely moderated and thinned by the client into what they believe acceptable for their brand and – Bob’s your uncle – campaign’s done. All in a days work really.

I digress. The point is, as stated in Ecclesiastes 1:19, there is nothing new under the sun. No. I am not a Bible punching Nazi. I am committed to the cohort ilk of my fellow industry creatives and am equally inquisitive as to how they feel about statements like these.

Are we all done and simply here to help things evolve again and again and again and again? To say there is no such thing as a new idea is a fairly bold statement to make and many would like to argue, but is it worth it?

It has been said that these Greenpeace executions by Ogilvy, Johannesburg may be an evolution of something done by Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand for SPCA. So what? Is it a blatant rip-off? No. Is it effective? Yes. It’s a smart, hard-working campaign that addresses a very different issue to that of the SPCA with a slightly similar execution. I see no problem. Have a closer look. Read the copy. Decide for yourself.

I am not advocating the stealing of work. But perhaps we all need to be a little kinder to one another and celebrate the collective genius proffered by our industry. After all, there is no bigger compliment than imitation.

© Dylan Balkind



We deal with enough criticism all day long. It is part of how we earn our stripes and salaries for doing what we do. It’s also apt punishment for wanting to earn the stripes and our salaries for doing what we do. So in a time when so much contentment is derived from the failures of others, we could probably all do with a little more warmth.

Forget the food. Forget the fat. Just take a moment to imbibe this expertly crafted visual delight. Watching is an absolute privilege as we are taken through the beautifully-spirited moments born from a couple in love, rewinding from where they are to how they got there.

This is so clearly the successful collaboration of committed imaginators – from embryo through evolution. What better remedy for a jaded industry than the power of romance?! So… I hope you don’t mind if I put down in words that this is by far the most memorable and encouraging ad I have seen in a long time.


Credits: Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Johannesburg, South Africa; Executive Creative Director: Fran Luckin; Creative Director: Mike Martin; Art Director: Alexa Craner; Copywriter: Irene Styger; Agency Producer: Liske Van Tubbergh; Production Company: Bouffant; Director: Erik Van Wyk; Producer: Shannon Gloyne / Melina McDonald; Executive Producer: Melina McDonald; DOP: Tim Pike.

© Copywriter Dylan Balkind

6 Billion people on the planet. One bore her soul.

There are over six billion people on this planet. That’s six billion opinions, thoughts for and against. Against Palestine. Against Israel. Wagers in the war against terror. Think then, what will we wage in the war against HIV?

We are moved in so many different ways. We are angered quickly. We choose to fight before we choose to hug. If we could be moved to be more involved, we might be getting somewhere. Isn’t storytelling the easiest way to spread the word and be understood? Pictures are not limited to languages or translations, and although they may paint preconceived notions of with whom and where this disease exists, they certainly get the message across.

At the 57th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Ogilvy Johannesburg won South Africa’s first Gold Film Lion in 11 years for The Topsy Foundation; a spot produced by Egg Films in Cape Town. Many people opened their hearts to take this story from concept to completion. Many people gave of their time. Some may have confronted their fears. One person bore her soul. In a world where Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga and Avril Lavigne break records on YouTube with hundreds of millions of hits, we sit with less than a collective 25 000 views globally of an 85-second Public Service Announcement that has only one message you should really want to know: The effects of AIDS can be reversed.

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