Monthly Archives: February 2009

Do y’ulle know enough about me?

Been educating myself, doing night courses and reading books by Seth Godin. Am worried that my target audience ‘can’t get enough of me’. The new branding rules dictate that I should make every part of my brand available to all my consumers across all touchpoints, and once I’ve built it, ‘they will come’. Y’ulle know you can follow my every move on twitter, right? Is that not enough?

“No matter how many battles I been in and won

No matter how many magazines on my nuts

No matter how many MC’s I eat up

Ooh ooh, it’s never enough” – Eminem

Been considering adopting contemporary strategies to amplify my consumer touch-points, such as filling in ’25 random things you didn’t know about me’ and telling y’ulle to forward it on to everyone you know. Would that be enough for you? Would filling your inbox with the minutae of my minutae make you feel ‘connected and close’ to me?

Maybe I’ll randomly search Wikipedia pages and google images and then tag y’ulle in ‘Album Artwork’. Because random images with random words on them is totally the coolest, raddest most innovative innovation ever, right? And doing it will totally make us better friends / give you more ownership of my personal brand. Wish I’d thought of it first.

Or maybe I’ll answer questions using my iTunes music playlist, and then tag y’ulle in it so I get to brag about my enlightened taste in music AND talk about myself for 10 pages (if you paste the email into MSWord).

“More and more and more” – some techno band from the 90s

Should I make a facebook app that y’ulle can spam your friends with? I will call it MyBrandedCircleofTopFriendsTM©® and if you add it I’d basically own you and spam you with facts like ‘Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla’. ❤ owning stuff, is my best. ❤ vanilla.

And even if you find 25 random facts about me annoying, you can always sympathise with how desperate I am to be ‘unique’ and how desperate I am for you to see me as your higly unique and interesting friend, that I’d  FWD you an excuse to talk about myself and my enlightened musical choices that include radiohead, MGMT, crystal castles, Perfect Circle, CSS and that guitar dude from Deep Purple whose new album is called something like Professor Snatchifunkius or something.

Whatever y’ulle. You just let me know if you need more random, narcissistic info disguised as a friendship-bond-building exercise. I understand if it’s ‘never enough’. BFFs 4 eva y’ulle. 4eva is not enough.

“Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more,” – Britney Jean Spears

Just want yulle to be okay with how much you know me. Want to be there for yulle. Want us 2 engage meaningfully at all strategic touchpoints. Want my POS to be like a warm hand in the night. Want my visibility to be visible.

Just want y'ulle to be okay with how much you 'know me'. Want to be there for y'ulle. Want us 2 engage meaningfully at all strategic touchpoints. Want my POS to be like a warm hand in the night. Want my visibility to be visible.

Design Indaba time.

Pretty amped about Design Indaba tomorrow y’ulle. Gonna camp outside the CTICC so I can register first and get the best free goodie bag / t-shirt / sticker sheet. I usually manage to make a quick buck re-selling them to advertising students.

Remember being at AAA / Vega / Red and Yellow and your lecturer would saunter in with a Design Indaba goodie bag and you’d be so jealous. There were always those rich kids whose parents could afford to dish out R7 million for a ticket who would have the bags too. Then the lecturer would clean his office out at the end of the year and there was always a fistfight to see who would get the Design Indaba bag.

Guess she didnt get the bag.

Guess she didn't get the bag.

Anyways not really gonna camp outside the CTICC. Besides this year I pretty much own Design Indaba because I worked on the line in the corner of one of the posters. I pretty much own that joint. They know my name. My hair smells like rich mahogany. I basically am Design Indaba 12.

I am who I am.

I am who I am.

Question: Have you ever done anything crazy to get your hands on a ticket to Design Indaba?

For example, I once left a really great job at an ad agency to go work for a chicken-stuffing company because they promised me a full ticket to Design Indaba (agencies make you share tickets so you can imagine how appealing this was). Wasn’t the smartest move because they lied and made me stuff chickens all day.  Total bummer, y’ulle. Wish I could slag them off all over the internet, but will settle for slagging them off all over Cape Town.

What crazy thing have you done for DI tickets?

New Apartment Love

So Rei and I finally moved into our new place on Saturday. Credit must be given to Rei for soldiering on after I collapsed in a teary pile on the floor saying “I can’t. I can’t, anymore.” The key observation to come out of the exercise is that moving muscles are very different to toning circuit muscles. It was worth it though as we are tres happy. Here are some pics (a bit messy, still some stuff lying around that shouldn’t be there, but you get the idea):

3 Lounge 3

❤ Lounge ❤

3 Kitchen as seen from Lounge 3

❤ Kitchen as seen from Lounge ❤

3 Lions head as seen from Lounge / Kitchen 3

❤ Lion's head as seen from Lounge / Kitchen ❤

3 First home-cooked meal in new place by night 3

❤ First home-cooked meal in new place by night ❤

3 Hugging Ghosts Salt and Pepper shakers - housewarming gift from Reis mom 3

❤ Hugging Ghosts Salt and Pepper shakers - housewarming gift from Rei's mom ❤

We’re collecting cushions for the lovely white couch banks. Today I bought Nunu from Anna, a designer I work with. She has her own knitted goods label called Wolmer.

3 Meet Nunu 3

❤ Meet Nunu ❤

Levi’s® Photography Search: A Case Study in using social media

I know y’ulle think I’m a brainless advertising chick who does nothing but upload hot pics of herself onto flickr and rub her breasts against her the glass of her creative director’s office, but it’s not completely true. They keep me around because every now and again, I prove to be quite useful. I wouldn’t go so far as to say:

“I’m the number 1 creative in South Africa,” like Paul Warner from Metropolitan Republic said in the March 09 issue of GQ (true story).

But I am handy because I know my way around facebook, an invaluable skill that has come in handy while we’ve been running a competition called The Search for the Levi’s® Photographer off, and it’s proved to be an insightful exercise in using social media to reach the right consumers.

The competition went live at the beginning of December 2008, and it was a call to South African photographers to come up with and submit their unique vision conveyed through a photographic treatment that would give the Levi Strauss brand a distinctive and relevant look. It came about because we were aware of the wealth of talent out there amongst local creatives, and we wanted to see whether we could discover someone fresh and inspiring to bring something special to the brand.

We got an amazing response – a total of 60 photographers shot and submitted images to be considered. We narrowed the entries down to a shortlist of 12 photographers, out of whom Capetonian Romi Stern was chosen as the winner.You can see the official winning announcement and the shortlisted photographers here.

The Search for the Levi’s® Photographer has been my (and King James’s) first big(ish) project using social media as the primary platform for communication and interaction with consumers, and it worked really well because is a creative community, therefore it was a natural place for us to reach photographers. We were able to interact with entrants and answer questions real-time, and tailor our interactions with them based on the feedback they gave us.

We did experience some glitches
– an auto-brief malfunction, and we completely underestimated the number of entries we’d get, so on the weekend of the competition deadline our mailbox was bouncing back entries and stressing out some very passionate photographers, but we managed to solve it in the end.

Needless to say, we are extremely chuffed with how it turned out, and we’re looking super forward to working with Romi this year.

oh, it’s on!

My loyal readers will remember way back to the week before last, when Jenny and I spotted a spelling error in a kitkat URL (we’re that kind of agency) and decided to register the correct spelling, so that we could place a humourous tactical ad there, or something equally thrilling such as a photo of our breasts.

Alas, alack, we never got to upload the photo of our breasts because the guy who owned the incorrectly spelt URL woke up about it, and what followed was a fairly amusing email and hand-made sign exchange.

The debarcle was posted by Seth over at 2oceansvibe, and it seems a certain Ryan has a little beef with us. Actually, a lot of beef with us. He’s started one hell of a comments war, which really only makes it funnier. Love ya, Ryan. Shame, we’ll make you a sign tomorrow, okay?

Jenny and Alex

What could have been.

What could have been.

What I’m reading right now.

Fascinating. Hoping it will heal my family.

Fascinating. Hoping it will heal my family.

The boyfriend is quite demanding.

The boyfriend is quite demanding.

A guide to dealing with client service.

A guide to dealing with client service.

Exploring some new exercise options.

Exploring some new exercise options.

Kidding, kids. These are the new King James Coporate Gifts. You get a blank book, with ‘What’s your Story?’ printed on the front, and 2 reversable dust jackets that you can change according to how badly you feel like shocking people at Vida.

Oooooh, clever.

Oooooh, clever.

On the topic of calling from a private number.

I simply cannot say it better than Seth does from 2oceansvibe. Standard Bank, I’m talking to you. I know you need to reach me so I can fill out this and collect that. But I’m not going to answer your private number. I don’t care if I never get my new credit card. Really, I don’t.

And to those friends of mine who insist on taking off their caller IDs because I don’t take their calls every time they phone, you are pretty much the reason I have stopped answering my phone completely. You have spoilt it for everyone.

Seriously, y’ulle. I’m a busy person. My hair smells like rich mahogany. Why can’t you just send a text message?

Phoning someone: totally arb.

Phoning someone: totally arb.

what is global warming?

Hey y’ulle. I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about this thing called ‘Global Warming’ lately. They also talk about ‘sustainability‘ and ‘going green‘. Apparently it’s all because of some consumer fad called ‘Recycling‘. I read on some trend blog that Recycling is the 80s Shoulder Pad Fad reinterpreted. Not sure I should buy into it. My personal brand says I should stick to trends and ignore fads.

“You a fad / that means it somethin’ that we already had / but once you gone / you don’t come back” – Dr Dre featured in Eminem’s Anthem for a Generation “Encore”

I just did some research and according to The Diesel Global World Report, Global Warming is gonna be rad. Diesel has paid an artist to render their findings so that you can better get an idea of what will happen when Global Warming hits. These are the results:

Cant wait for the ice caps to melt.

Can't wait for the ice caps to melt.

Gonna go make a nest on a building.

Gonna go make a nest on a building.

Cant wait.

Can't wait for the endless summer.

Not sure what everyone’s on about. Just looks like the world will eventually become one big beach, which is what we’ve all been working for, anyway. Also, I heard at some blog party that all the ‘green this, green that’ is just a viral campaign for Hyperrama. Nice one. They’ll probably win a Loerie Grand Eagle Prix for it.

Guess I don’t want to be completely out of what’s in, you know? I’ve been thinking about how I can tastefully incorporate this new socially-aware movement into my life so it makes me look like a person who is ‘responsible, enlightened and aware‘. Maybe I should get some hemp socks from Woolworths or some Hemp Hand Cream from the Body Shop and just tell myself that the tube isn’t made of lead. Maybe I can preach to my friends but just ignore the fact that I drive a Hummer. Like I said, don’t want to get too into this fad coz it’s about to tip mainstream any minute now, like pencil skirts.

Think before you hit FWD. A baby could die.

Hey y’ulle. Having a moment of confusion. Need to ‘blog through it’. Just got one of those mails from one of my ‘friends’ that lists ‘words to live by’. This one has a picture of a loaf of bread shaped like a hand that says ‘May you find it easy to give and receive’ followed by a picture of a photoshopped banana made to look like a yellow dolphin that says ‘May your home be filled with fresh air and light’.

Think I might have some sort of brain disorder because when I see these images and words my fingers go all stiff and they try to scratch my eyeballs out of my head. Srsly. Not sure what this means. I also get these symptoms when people send me pictures of babies that talk about how I should ‘dance in the rain like nobody’s watching until there’s no tomorrow’, and then ask that you send it back to the person who sent it to you. Do y’ulle send out these emails?

Of those of you who do send out these emails, are any of you

a)mentally retarded

b) on medication that numbs the connection between your frontal lobe and your cerebellum

c) 11 year old pre-teenage girls

d) Michael Jackson

e) signing the petition against the proposed Western Cape Liquor Bill, and do you send the mails while you are drunk?

I’d like to know for research purposes, so pls drop me a mail or a tweet with your answer. Thanks. And remember:

Dance like nobodys watching!

Dance like nobody's watching!

Live like theres no tomorrow!

Live like there's no tomorrow!

Every time you send out a crappy chain email, a baby is suffocated! By me!

Every time you send out a crappy chain email, a baby is suffocated! By me!


I eat baby hedgehogs as mid-morning snacks.

I eat baby hedgehogs as mid-morning snacks.

want: pixel couch

Thanks for sending me this, dinofizz.



Happy Valentine’s Day y’ulle.

Hope you all had a good day on Saturday. Hope your boyfriend / girlfriend / sympathetic parent bought you something red, shiney and heart-shaped. You can be sure they got it free in the queue at Woolworths when they were doing groceries on their WW card because times are hard.

I had a good V-day. Managed to score 2 free heart choccies from Woolies. Managed to score a dining room table and a knife set. Nothing like a knife set for V-day.

Cut out this template with a knife and create your very own V-day promo at home. Your BF / BFF will think you are a premium retailer with a future.

Cut out this template with a knife and create your very own V-day promo at home. Your BF / BFF will think you have official ties to a premium retailer.

Just want to say thanks to Virgin Active for hanging cut-out paper hearts in their foyer. It definitely made me feel all loved-up coming to gym and walking under some cut-out paper hearts on my way to the change room. They were even cut out by hand, which made me think warm thoughts about off-duty personal trainers sitting in the staff lounge, cutting hearts out of red, pink and white paper, not even noticing the smell of foot in the furniture because they are so used to it. ❤ personal trainers.



Also want to say thanks to glomobi for offering me a pink dancing bear that I can ‘order’ via SMS and send to my loved one(s) / personal trainer. Just can’t get enough of cute animated vibes speaking in a helium voice on my cellphone. Cute animated helium vibes is the new coal. Gonna stop before I get all nostalgic about ‘a simpler time’.

Also want to thank the big 3  Mass Market LSM 4 – 8 major retailers (Louis Vuitton, Guess and Gucci) for sending me Valentine’s messages, and notifying me of the various specials, promos and great deals available in store today. Not sure if I would be this content with my current life choices had I not picked up a new handbag as a Gift With Purchase (GWP) when I bought another 75ml tube of 8-hour cream that I don’t use. ❤ being in an economic boom while rest of earth is in a recession.



Did y’ulle manage to get any good deals on cosmetics / cool GWPs / experience any lovey ambient media / get free heart chocolates NOT made from cooking chocolate / flyers for Valentine’s Day tyre specials on your windscreen this V-day? MSG me with details, can’t wait to trade stories / choccies.

why am i here? counting my blessings. plus a poem about being an art director

who am i? why am i here? why don’t i capitalise my ‘i”s when i am a writer? why do i even bother logging on every day? does my life have meaning? should i pay off a MacBook over 36 months or just put it on my credit card?

2 Alexs. United in a name on facebook. One disguised as a blonde, one disguised as a Mallix. Enough to make you add Jesus as a friend.

2 Alex's. United in a name on facebook. One disguised as a blonde, one disguised as a Mallix. Enough to make you add Jesus as a friend.

kidding y’ulle. it’s not all that bad. i should count my blessings:

1) My new client-service hair cut. Now I can move effortlessly through all agency divisions. Clients like me more. My boyfriend likes me more. Shop assistants are kinder to me because they think ppl who blowdry their hair have money to spend during this tough ol’ recession.

2) My facebook friends. My facebook friends are the best. They are always there when I need them. If I ever have a status crisis, they comment on it in seconds. Some even use the new ‘I like this’ button. I am blessed y’ulle.

3) My family of brands. Without them, I would be no one. My Reebok shoes keep me grounded and remind me ‘I am who I am’. My Nike Gym Sweats remind me to ‘Just do it’ instead of sleeping late. My Renault Yaris reminds me to shake my environmental booty on a daily basis. I am so blessed.


Feeling very inspired today so am going to use my highly developed sense of empathy to ‘change my course’ and ‘become an art director’.

I am an Art Director: a poem by a copywriter

I am an Art Director

My world is visual, my eyes have visions,

I have crows feet from squinting at the colourful, spinning MacBook Sun,

The glow on my cheeks is blue,

I dream in Hi-Def LCD (hate dead pixels,they’re the worst).

I am an Art Director,

I am too lazy to brainstorm a visual brief with my copywriter.

I would rather just ‘get it out the way’,

So I can browse thru,

and scan in my Holga Lomo Action Sampler prints.

I am an Art Director,

I failed Matric, but nobody cares about qualifications in advertising.

Bummer, since I paid R10 million extra to get a ‘degree’:

Wish someone had told me.

I am an Art Director,

I have lots of coffee table books

That I purchased at the Exclusive Books Summer Sale.

I still have a red beanie from that time I watched The Life Aquatic

and vowed to never wear anything that wasn’t red, white or teal ever again (it was just a phase).

I am an Art Director,

My fingers move over my mac keyboard like a DJ.

I am a visual DJ. But not a V-Jay. Or a vaJayJay. God is a DJ. I am a visual God.

My favourite author is Hunter S. Thomson.

The only author I have ever read is Hunter S. Thomson, even though that one writer chick I went out with wouldn’t shut up about Charles Bukowski.

I am an Art Director,

I designed my own tattoo, which is why it looks like shit.

I designed my girlfriend’s tattoo, too.

We both pretend it doesn’t look like shit.

If you like we can meet at Vida and brainstorm a logo for an electro label.

Add me on facebook.

I’ll make you look hot.

Nice grade.


An art director has breakfast.

An art director has breakfast.

An art directors lounge.

An art director's lounge.

An art directors house.

An art director's house (they get paid waaay less than copywriters).

Female art directors make nests in which to give birth to their young art directors.

Female art directors make nests in which to give birth to their young art directors.

An art directors hat.

An art director's hat.

A young art director with its mother.

A young art director with its mother.

An art director filing its tax returns.

An art director filing its tax returns.


wanna buy something

that makes me look better than

you or anyone else.

*pls note that this particular 5 – 7 – 6 (including the magenta / orange / lime format) haiku structure is a Registered Trademark of MyBrandedLifeTM ® Enterprises and all subsidiary brands Copyright © Alex van Tonder Industries and that vibe 2007.

honda toyota

asian imports so lovely

kind of cheap to the eye.


FoxP2 party

snuffling out the who’s-who there

another facebook tag.


a frantic scramble

is it worth D&AD?

maybe just the Loeries.


name generation

try to invent new icon

my name, forgotten.


the bar is open

friday frenzy, tequila

dial your dealer now.

Graphic design haikus, lifted off some website, somewhere.

Graphic design haikus, lifted off some website, somewhere.

A reason to marry an Axe Murderer.

Hey y’ulle. So a funny thing happened last night. I was lying and moaning and feeling sorry for myself for being all sickly, when I passed out from the stabs of pain in my stomach and had this nightmare.

In my nightmare, there was this ad on TV where there was this guy made of chocolate, and all these chicks running after him wanting to eat him. They wanted to chew his face. He lets pieces of himself flake off everywhere, like chunky brown dandruff. He even cuts off his nose and sprinkles it around like an eczema party. It was really gross. I woke up crying and nauseous. It might have been from the virus, but it might have been from the nightmare. The boyfriend had to console me and hold me close and promise me it wasn’t real.

It wasn’t, right? Please tell me it wasn’t real.

Hey this is our latest concept for your latest campaign, aimed at penetrating horny men. You know. Women cant resist chocolate. Women cant resist men who wear your product. Make so much sense.

"Hey this is our latest concept for your latest campaign, aimed at penetrating horny men. You know. Women can't resist chocolate. Women can't resist men who wear your product. Makes so much sense. Can we drink now? Just wanna party."

been floored. sick. faint. weak.

and there I thought i’d become immune to human bugs, but i guess not. spent a lot of the weekend half-awake. then thought a run was just what i needed to get myself in top form again. of course, 15 minutes into run I overheated and had to stop. pushed on through a full 40 minutes of cardio and came to work feeling like an old cat that wanted to crawl under some manky old car to die.

am slightly recovered but at the end of my first day back I’m feeling old cattish again. not the best feeling. is humbling. makes me write like a normal person. makes me less cocksure and ironic. makes me realise that I am “Human After All”, and that Daft Punk weren’t playing around. Also makes me realise the answer to that Killers song ‘Are we human, or are we dancers’ is c) all of the above.


Have also had a lot of time taken up with collecting stuff for new nest, which is lovely white retro flat down the road from current flat in Gardens.

On Saturday (the 2nd hottest day of the year after Friday), the boyfriend amiably dragged me out to Willowbridge so we could scout out dining room tables. I was still sick, so wanted to settle for first thing I saw. Boyfriend said ‘that looks like a school table’. I sulked. Then I drank some water and we sat down in the heat wondering what to do. I chewed on my paw a vida e mozarella roll. We drove back to the city bowl and slept the rest of the afternoon away.


Sunday: admit, reluctantly, that I am totally addicted to Gossip Girl. there. I said it.


Monday: went on dreaded run. limped home from work some time before 10am. slept whole day. much the same for tuesday. fascinating. hey y’ulle,blogs get sick, too.


Lions Head.

View from new flat: Lion's Head.

unfurnished as of yet. Built in white leather wall couches are nice touch though.

Lounge: unfurnished as of yet. Built in white leather wall couches are nice touch though.

Harvey. Belongs to the neighbours. Scratches his neck compulsively. Everyones got a secret.

Harvey. Belongs to the neighbours. Scratches his neck compulsively. Everyone's got a secret.