Monthly Archives: December 2008

last blog before holidays.

ah, at last. i’ve had a great 2 month re-baptism back into King James, but end of year fever has hit me hard and truth be told i cannot get out into the sunshine fast enough. just want to pick up a good book and secure a spot for myself next to a pool and not.move.for.17.days.straight.

it’s been a good year for accomplishing things. i was thinking about new year’s resolutions and all that last night, and i see my usual list is substantially shorter. i mean, who actually achieves new year’s resolutions? apparently i do. here’s what i did this year:

i got to know and love Joburg. it’s been one of my goals to live there since i started red and yellow, where i met a bunch of cool people who are all from Joburg.in fact, almost everyone whom i like immediately is from joburg. figures.

i quit smoking. yes, i really did. and that’s no mean feat. 6 months ago i was ploughing my wheezy way through just under a box of Marlboro Lights a day. today, i’ve been smoke-free since August. i won’t lie – it wasn’t easy. but i had an amazingly supportive boyfriend to hold me while i cried (there was a lot of crying, because smokers use smoking to stop themselves feeling uncomfortable emotions). he also quit smoking while i was quitting, to make it that little bit easier. so thank you, Rei. you really did help.

i started running. along with quitting smoking, this must be my proudest achievement. 6 months ago, i used to walk around saying things like ‘No running unless it’s absolutely necessary”. I called myself a ‘swimmer’ and said ‘my body is not built for running‘ and ‘it hurts my knees’. These were all just excuses. Slowly, little by little,¬† i went from running for 2 minutes at a time and 10 minutes in total to running 15 minutes at a time and 40 minutes in total. i bought running shoes and i tossed my iPod, because running is a form of meditation that deserves your full concentration. these days, i feel like half a person if i do not run in the morning. i get up at 5.30 and i go to bed at midnight, and i am never short of energy or optimism, purely – purely – because of running. sport of the gods, i bow down to you, and look forward to growing as a runner.

i did a triathlon. okay, so it was at the Virgin Active, and it didn’t take me longer than 24 mins, but it still feels good to be able to say, “I did a triathlon”. And i really enjoyed it, too. Thanks must go to Paige for roping me in and inspiring me to do it.

I lost 12 kgs. yes, 12 kgs. that’s 27 pounds to you, America. of course, this was a by-product of the running. but it’s given me a whole new lease on life. a lease that includes bikinis, dresses and skinny jeans. the beach is more real to me now than it ever was. i quite enjoy standing in front of the mirror, analysing my (new) tan. and it makes shopping the ultimate form of entertainment.

I left a job that made me depressed, and i found a job that brought me joy. I was then offered an even better job, so i took that, and here i am. It’s been a year of career discovery, and of facing up to my own strengths and weaknesses, and overcoming or working with the latter. There have been ups and downs, but when i look at the knowledge, experience and sense of satisfaction that i’m walking away with, I can’t complain for a second.

i went .com – yay. http://www.mybrandedlife.com brings me joy. it helps me take my job a little less seriously. it helps me take life less seriously. it gives me a tongue-in-cheek outlet with which to process life, and most importantly, i amuse myself with it.i might not have the volume perezhilton has, or his pink hair, but i have my fun. and that’s awesome.

i fell in love with someone very special. arguably one of the most important accomplishments. meeting special people is difficult. you should value the ones in your life highly.

More awesome than a turquoise tiger wearing glasses.

2008: More awesome than a turquoise tiger wearing Ray-Bans.

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What a year. I think all this achieving deserves a little celebration. A little song and dance. I’ll keep you posted.

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Happy holidays everyone.

May 2009 bring you lots of strategically aligned brand sponsorships.

May you be blessed by branded freebies at each one of your personal consumer touchpoints.

May you discover your signature scent, and combine your clothing labels in such a way that you are distinct, unique, and remarkable enough to be listed in the Sunday Times Top Brands Survey.

May you be blessed with coupons, cash-back vouchers and an array of Discovery Health partnership discounts on household appliances.

May you sing along to Vodacom’s Summer Nights like nobody’s watching.

And don’t forget to leave a Steri Stumpie out for Santa.

Peace, love and allusions to meaningful Coldplay lyrics that double up as a life-anthem,

Alex

May it be rad like a flaming skull dude who is powerful.

Here's to 2009: May it be rad like a flaming skull dude who is rad.

PS. I’m going to be offline until 5th January. Even living breathing brands need holidays too. But i will be sustaining the microblog by tweeting here. Because tweeting isn’t cheating. xxxx

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beating down the pop-ups

love this article on PSFK about how much of a non-event pop-up stores are. i’ve always thought pop-up stores were a pretty lame idea to begin with. unless you’re reinventing the whole shopping experience (which very few pop-up stores are doing) why would making a smaller version of your existing store convince consumers to buy product? unless you think your consumers are thtoopid? um…

A cheap imitation of the original experience.

Pop Up Stores: A cheap imitation of the original experience.

End of year poem. Time to reflect. Remembering this time last year.

Happy holidays everyone. May all your online xmas pre-orders ship on time.

moving house. again.

2007 was a record moving year for me. i moved 17 million times. half the time i was moving across the country between my wine farm in Cape Town and the gold mine I inherited in Joburg. the rest of the time i was micro-moving within Joburg and Cape Town, on an eternal quest for A Place to Call Home. now, i am looking to move again. and since i have done this so many times, i feel qualified to write a generalised but fairly accurate guide to moving house in the 2 cities i call home.

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How to Move House in Joburg:

1. Get hold of paper, decide what you’re looking for, peruse paper, find endless affordable and beautifully renovated options, select one you like most, rent. Live happily ever after. The End.

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How to Move House in Cape Town:

1. Get into fistfight with bergies on way to find CapeAds vendor. Buy CapeAds, fork out half your salary for cup of coffee at pricey yet trendy coffee shop in Gardens while you go through paper holding thumbs.

2. Find options that are kind of right, but never exactly what you’re looking for. You pick your battles: BICs vs. security vs. fitted stove vs. view of a vacant parking lot. Decide which ‘feature’ is going to be least soul-destroying.

3. Settle for option that sounds least crap. Call estate agent, maintain smile while she treats you like a bergie and judges your shoes (these are 9 West, i’ll have you know. f-off. you’re an estate agent, not The Queen Mother. though you kind of look like Jabba the Hut.)

4. Make appointment to see flat. Lovingly run your hand over the nicotine-stained walls and stop and smell the faeces in the corner. Tell estate agent this wasn’t really what you had in mind. You were thinking maybe a view. Maybe freshly painted walls. Maybe less cockcroaches. Definitely less starving mothers breast-feeding wide-eyed babies in the hallways.

5. Courageously maintain smile while estate agent kicks you in the shins, insults your mother and calls you an ungrateful wretch. Wince (you have now learnt) while estate agent asks you what you expect, since this is Cape Town, and actually Nigerian Drug Lords are fantastic neighbours because criminals are too scared to break in.

6. Consider her point for a second before politely thanking her and speeding home so you can cry into your 300 thread count percale pillow while rocking back and forth, staring at your view of garden’s centre, wondering why it has to be this way. Why, oh why. Drink a bottle of meths because whisky won’t make you forget fast enough. Repeat entire process the next day for 6 months. Decide to move back to Joburg. The End.

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Just looking for a clean, quiet place I can love into a home. Buffalo roaming optional. Security and off-street parking a must.

Just looking for a clean, quiet place I can love into a home. Buffalo roaming optional. Security and off-street parking a must.

PS. as you may have gathered, i’m looking for a new home. Either a bachelor / one-bedroomed place, fully or semi-furnished. Must be clean and secure. Preferably close to Gardens. I am not averse to sharing a place with someone chilled who works full time. Sharing prevents hermiting, which is a good thing. If you hear about anything special, mail me: alex@mybrandedlife.com

thinking of showing my boobs. trying to make my porti unique.

it’s tough being in advertising today. once upon a time, nobody even knew it was a career. nobody believed that you could get paid to think up funny / smart / relevant / enagaging / viral / cool / prestigious / down-to-earth / honest / housewifey / working daddish / [insert name of target market and or their values here] ideas and call it a job.

things have changed. these days everyone is in advertising. everyone is zany. everyone is cool. warhol said everyone would be famous, but he didn’t say everyone was going to be awesome.

Everyone is zany and creative and pushing deadlines and consumer promises.

Everyone is zany and creative and pushing deadlines and consumer promises. It's called Being The Brand. You are the brand. You are the trend. You are the future. You are now. Be with me. Here. With my brand. Now. Together we will collaborate and appeal to more people than we would appeal to if we were apart.

these days¬† even the beggar who sits outside my gate at home has his own corporate colours for the chalk board he holds up. i know this because i offered him some spare chalk the other day and he only took the blue and the orange chalk because ‘these are my colours’.

struggling to come to terms with what the world is coming to.

been feeling something like this:

new year! / new porti!

so been looking over other peoples’ portfolios to get some inspiration as to how i can differentiate myself from the masses of creatives out there and their personal creative copywriter / art director brands. and then further differentiate myself as a professional who can create brands that i’m not personally involved with.

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“Talent is no longer about original ideas. Talent is about being able to come up with original ideas that are not based on or created for / by you or your experiences, but look like they were created by the person they were created for.” – Alex van Tonder, in an interview with Bill Bernbacklett

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i’m not sure how not to get personally involved with the brands i work on. just like i’m not sure how to not hook up with all the men at my office. wish i’d saved one of them for a rainy day. maybe i can create controversy within the agency by pulling a Lindsay Lohan and kissing a client service chick and then refusing to answer any questions. although when i kissed Jenny that one night at Diaz Tavern no one even asked any questions.

you see what i mean when i say that it’s hard to differentiate yourself these days?

Another agency party at some obscure pub in Gardens Industria. Ive got sooooo many of these pics its almost not even worth uploading it. Ever feel like all truly great ideas have already been done? Paris Hilton did blowjobs and penetration. Lindsay and Britney did their crotch-flashings. Sharon Stone did that leg-cross thing in Basic Instinct. The world is so competitive yulle. Really hard for me to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to showing what makes me special as a copywriter, what makes me different to all the other copywriters out there.

Another agency party at some obscure pub in Gardens Industria. I've got sooooo many of these pics it's almost not even worth uploading it. Ever feel like all truly great ideas have already been done? Paris Hilton did blowjobs and penetration. Lindsay and Britney did their crotch-flashings. Sharon Stone did that leg-cross thing in Basic Instinct. The world is so competitive y'ulle. Really hard for me to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to showing what makes me special as a copywriter, what makes me different to all the other copywriters out there.

NEwayz… back to the porti. should it be digital? should i invent a program that allows you to download my porti in a nanosecond? maybe i can make it so small that you have to view it with nanoglasses on nano chips? will nano still be big in 2010 or am i running with a fad here?

Should I pressurise my own blood and spray out my headlines under water so that Creative Directors see that I understand new media?

Should I pressurise my own blood and spray out my headlines under water so that Creative Directors see that I understand new media?

or should i keep my porti old school? big red leatherbound book with my name embossed in Cooper Bold in White letters? feel like there is a certain amount of gravitas when i whack down a beast of a porti like that on a Creative Director’s desk. although i haven’t actually used it since i graduated way back in 2004. since then, a well-written email that conveys my ability to stay calm in the face of chaos has gotten me every job i’ve ever had.

An example of the well-written, to-the-point letter that got me my job at King James.

An example of the well-written, to-the-point letter that got me my job at King James.

i’ve heard that some legendary creatives don’t even have portfolios, they just email a list of awards annuals and corresponding page numbers when they’re looking for a job. that feels a little wanky to me. i feel like if someone made me wade through crusty awards annuals that gather like dust in the corners of agency toilets, i wouldn’t want to offer them a job. unless it was dusting the awards annuals gathering weevils in the agency toilets.

Does NE one out there still care about awards? If i have a list of awards longer than my hair will you want to hire me? Or would you be more inclined to hire me if i just sent you a link to my blog with pictures of myself taking photos of myself on it? Wish someone had answers for me. Im feeling the photo vibe more. Just coz I know my good side.

Does NE one out there still care about awards? If i have a list of awards longer than my hair will you want to hire me? Or would you be more inclined to hire me if i just sent you a link to my blog with pictures of myself taking photos of myself on it? Wish someone had answers for me. I'm feeling the photo vibe more. Just coz I know my good side.

maybe i should record my porti into an album and take off my clothes to promote it. i’d go around the country doing signings which double up as interviews. being Gen Y, it is all about me interviewing the agency and not the other way round. i’d listen as they tell me how they want to help me ‘grow my craft’ and ‘collaborate and cross pollinate‘ my tech-savvy skills with their experienced eye for Letraset.

Collaboration across the generation gap is key to moving forward in the future.

Collaboration across the generation gap is key to moving forward in the future.

i’m going to make this porti quest my holiday project. gonna come back with some fresh material. gonna come back with a come back.

“I see you. And I just wanna dance with you. LOLOLOLOL.” – Brutney Spears

the strange gift collection.

who doesn’t know (and love) a bona fide weirdo? here’s a great list of stocking-fillers for your favourite freaky friends.

Just what i wanted! Some freeze-dried squirrel-foot earrings!

Just what i wanted! Some freeze-dried squirrel-foot earrings!

Ah man! Ive been looking for a feotus cookie cutter everywhere!

Ah man! I've been looking for a feotus cookie cutter everywhere!

Oh how awesome! Now we can both wear the same underwear.

Oh how awesome! Now we can both wear the same underwear.

via neatorama.

first idea bounty winner

i wrote about idea bounty a while back. i think i gave it an extravagant write up. best thing since sliced bread etc. well it seems they walk the talk, and have just paid up $2 500 to a planner at BBDO Paris. which makes me feel a little jealous. half of me – the half that’s been exploited for my ideas by market research companies for the past 4 years – didn’t believe they would actually pay up. but now that i see they do, i’m on top of their next brief quicker than you can say “Mow The Lawn!”

also, here’s a super cool interview with the dude who won.

See? Your good ideas can make you rich.

See? Your good ideas can make you rich.