Monthly Archives: May 2009

watch and learn

How to take over the world, one big dick at a time:

bibliotheque online TV

creepy, but it made me watch it 3 times.

one of history’s greatest entertainers

Lady Gaga continues to blow my mind. Here’s her latest video for song Paparazzi. And for those of you chasing fame (you know who you are) let this be a warning.

get your money for nothing and your clicks for free

How agency-client negotiations would sound in real life:

got this little gem from JontyFisher (who’s being quoted all over the world these days..ahem ahem New York Times) . thanks dude. funny stuff. speaking of wanting something for nothing, i got the following email this morning (i kid you not):

Hey Alix.

Found your blog on 2oceans and I can dig it. My name’s Jonah* and I’m studying Marketing at Rhodes. What I really dig about your blog is the real-world insight it gives me into advertising and it has made me set that this is the career for me. I loved your article on trendspotters – classic! I have even come across trendspotters in Rhodes.

The reason I’m writing is I’m doing my thesis on How The Conversation Killed Advertising and was wondering if you could give me some pointers. I’m basically looking for businesses that are been using alternative media for their advertising campaigns rather than TV, radio, billboards etc. Basically businesses using facebook or youtube and such. Could you send me a write-up of your XXXXXXX Campaign? I heard it was a great success from reading some other marketing blogs, and one of my course tutors said he saw you speak at a short course he did. It doesn’t have to be long, point-form is fine, and include any relevant pictures. Thanks I’d appreciate it very much if you could oblige me. The first draft of my thesis is due at the end of June so if you could basically get it to me by the end of next week it would be fine.


*Name has been changed to prevent extreme ridicule.

~~~~~ He actually gave me a deadline. It’s too good. When I received this, I printed it out and rubbed it all over my face, letting the ink seep into my skin in an attempt to become *one* with the email. My reply: ~~~~~

Dear Jonah

Thank you so much for contacting me. I have heard about you – in fact, we as an industry have all heard about you and your talent, and are waiting with sweet anticipation for you to get your degree so that we might snap you up into our ranks where we have no doubt you will use your insight into non-traditional advertising to transform the industry.

I will begin my write-up on the XXXXXX campaign immediately. Basically, I have a host of deadlines going on, including writing rationales for my agency’s Loerie Awards Entries, which I will put on hold so that I can get to writing up the case study of the XXXXXX campaign. I will be sure to place all information in succinct prose where point form does not suffice, and will send an instruction to DTP immediately for them to resize all images from the campaign so that you are satisfied. Would you like me to courier over the disc with the information in it? Or would you prefer that I deliver the disc in person? Basically, I’d be honoured to be of service to you in any way. It’s my grandmother’s birthday this evening but I will happily cancel and drive through to the Eastern Cape to make sure you get all the information you might need.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything more I can do for you. I could offer to write your thesis for you, perhaps? I am a copywriter after all. Anything. You just basically let me know.

Yours in anticipation, basically,


Psychographic Profile: I am a TrendSpotter

Please excuse my purple leotard, it is because I am an early-adopter and trend-aware.

Please excuse my purple leotard, it is because I am an early-adopter and trend-aware.

I am a TrendSpotter
I am employed by that company who’s name you can’t quite remember,
That tells you things you already know,
That’s run by some old guy who has a crush on my youth,
But you nod and smile politely and what I have ‘spotted’
Because I am young and enthusiastic,
And you kind of feel sorry for me
And my misguided efforts.

Im just another trendwatcher / telling you something you already know

"I'm just another trendwatcher / telling you something you already know"

I am a TrendSpotter.
I say this with pride because in high school
I was never very ‘trendy’,
I was always kind of nerdy,
And I always got the badly-fitted, cheap version of the Latest Thing
Because my parents aren’t all that wealthy
And never aspired to much more,
Which always grated me,
Because I know I am born to be someone special.

Spending some quality time with my uniqueness. Just being there / with myself.

Spending some quality time with my uniqueness. Just being there / with myself.

I am a TrendSpotter
I scour all the cool websites the night before my deadlines,
Even though I know that everyone reads those same websites.
I take self-portraits of myself in sunglasses to make me look hot,
And I never get my whole body in, because I am overweight
(not much, but enough that it’s noticeable),
I figure when I get famous / published / a boyfriend
I will make more of an effort with what I eat
And I will be so hot
I’ll show all of you.

Am i or am i not hot? Youll never know for sure.

Am i or am i not hot? You'll never know for sure.

I am a TrendSpotter
I get worked into a frenzy over ‘new stuff’,
Even though I rarely explore the potential that the stuff has to change my life.
I’d rather move quickly onto another new thing
And get all frenzied up about that,
Because I am a trendspotter
And I cling to my title like I cling to my excuses
For drinking too much / eating too much / not getting any sex.

Hey check out this new [insert random object from coolhunting / trenwatching / neatorama / springwise / boingboing here]

I am a TrendSpotter
I tell my friends that it is ‘good experience’ for my future career in marketing,
But really it’s just a small way I can feel superior to them
For once in my life.

Like, duh.

Like, duh.

I am a TrendSpotter now
But I will eventually grow up and see
That the world of TrendSpotting is a redundant sham thanks to

I will realize that the word ‘cool’ makes me sound like a naïve retard,
And I will get a real job.

All good lays come to an end, - Nelly Furtado

"All good lays come to an end," - Nelly Furtado

But right now, I am a TrendSpotter
And if anything, it’s an easy way to make money / conversation with people whose photo I take without permission / find an excuse to take photos of myself
And if anything, I already know how lame I am
But I will bury that knowledge
In my affected passion for ‘all things new’
That I will broadcast on my street fashion blog
And my twitter
And my facebook status updates.

Just updating my trend blog.

Just updating my trend blog.

I am a TrendSpotter.

Copywriter vs. 9-Year-Olds. 9-Year-Olds win.

Yesterday I had to audition a whole bunch of 9-year-olds over the phone for a radio ad. These are some of the transcripts:

Audition 1

9YO:    Hello? HELLO?
Me:    Hi sweetie, what’s your name?
9YO:    Melusi. Mrs Peers said I must phone you and tell you who I am.
Me:    Thanks Melusi, my name is Alex, and I’m going to be auditioning you for a radio ad, is that cool?
9YO:    (bored) Yes I spose so.
Me:    (apologetic) It won’t take long. Now the ad is about four 9-year old kids who are telling each other what they got their moms for mother’s day.
9YO:    I got my mom flowers.
Me:    That’s lovely. Now I’m going to read a line from the ad, and you’re going to say it back to me, is that okay?
9YO:    Okay.
Me:    Says line.
9YO:    (angry) I don’t like that line.
Me:    (apologetic) Oh, I’m sorry… (regaining control) well if you can’t read it we’ll get another little boy to read it.
9YO:    No one will want to say that.
Me:    Why not?
9YO:    Because it’s stupid. It’s stupid.
Me:    Thanks Melusi, I have to go now.
9YO:    Bye!


Audition 2

9YO:    (very softly) HellothisisRobinherecanIspeaktoAlex.
Me:    Hello Robin, this is Alex love, how are you?
9YO:    I’mfinethankyouhowareyou.
Me:    Good  thanks. Robin I’m going to be auditioning you for a radio ad, are you cool with that?
9YO:    (barely audible) Yes.
Me:    Awesome. Okay, I’m going to read you the line I’d like you to say, and then you’re going to say it back to me. You think you can do that?
9YO:    (barely audible) yes.
Me:    Okay. Here’s the line. Says line.
9YO:    (barely audible) spspspspspspspspspspsps.
Me:    Good Robyn, but you have a very gentle voice, do you think you could say it one more time, just a little louder?
9YO:    Ok.spspspspspspspspspspsp
Me:    Just a little louder, honey?
SFX:    Phone goes dead.


Audition 3

Me:    Hello?
9YO:    (very proper) Hello may I speak to Miss Alex please.
Me:    I am Alex, who am I speaking to?
9YO:    You are speaking to Robert. How do you do?
Me:    (chucking to myself) I do fine, Robert, how do you do?
9YO:    I am very good thank you. I am calling to be in the radio ad.
Me:    That’s great Robert. It’s very simple, I’m going to give you a line, and you’re going to say it back to me as if you’re bragging, okay?
9YO:    That sounds fine.
Me:     Says line.
9YO:    Says line back, but very politely, no bragging at all.
Me:    That was great Robert. Do you think you could say it one more time, as if you’re boasting about what a great gift you got your Mom for Mother’s Day?
9YO:    It’s very rude to boast Miss Alex. Jesus tells us not to boast.
Me:    You’re right Robert, but this is make-believe, it’s just for an ad, it’s not real boasting. Just play-boasting.
9YO:    (yelling into the background) Moooooooom! This lady wants me to boast!
Mother: (from background) Just do what she says Robert.
9YO:    Fine. Says line again, boasting perfectly.
Me:    Robert, that was great! I’m going to get our producer to give you a call in the week and set up a time for a recording, okay?
9YO:   (sounding weary) No, rather have your producer call my agent.
Me:    I’ll do that. Thank you for calling Robert.
9YO:    It’s a pleasure.
Me:    Bye.
9YO:    (ripping me off) bYeEeE (slams down phone).


Damn y’ulle. I haven’t felt so scared of a human subspecies in ages. And those are just 3 of the 10 auditions. After work yesterday I ran home and ate all my birth control pills at once. Do y’ulle know whether you can get pregnant by talking to a child? Feel hopelessly out of my depth.

weekly round-up: a week in parties, tattoos and iPhones

So much has happened during the time that I was imprisoned by Vodacom’s non-existent 3G service, and work has been a swooshing whirlwind of deadlines and free-time-sucking-vortices (that’s the plural for Vortex, for my Client Service readers). so this is just a quick post to bring y’ulle up to speed with the week. firstly, dear friend Genevieve came down from Joburg for a visit. We’d planned to have our tattoos together but the artist designing mine is still busy so I just watched her get hers instead.

Gen getting inked by Tyler at Sins of Style.

Gen getting inked by Tyler at Sins of Style.

The finished tattoo.

The finished tattoo.

We also had another poker evening and made the mistake of inviting Richard, who cleaned us all out because he is a LEAGUE Poker Player and neglected to tell us plebs.

Thats richard at the far end of the table, counting his chips.

That's richard at the far end of the table, counting his chips.

Rei: burning and turning.

Rei: burning and turning.

and then on Wednesday morning I remembered that South Africa’s favourite blog was running an iPhone competition and thought, oh heck, I already pay the Euromillions Lottery, I might as well enter. So i did, and I freaking WON – sheer awesomeness incarnate. So now I have an iPhone, just as my old cellphone contract was up for renewal as well. Happiness.

Seth hands over the iPhone at Wembley Square.

Seth hands over the iPhone at Wembley Square.

And to add insult to injury (the injury of those who didnt win the iPhone) I also won £9 in the lottery in Friday’s draw, which I have recycled into more lottery tickets, because that is how I roll. After I got my iPhone, I was extreeeeeemely busy writing radio ads (which the client hated, FYI) and ‘getting my freak on’ at the agency party that night. Since I have become a holier-than-thou runner, I no longer stay until that point at which some slut from PR takes off all her clothes and runs naked on the balcony for R1000 (it’s a standing offer at King James), so unfortunately I don’t have pics of that (apparently this time it was Ophelia from Events). But I do have pictures of good times before 9pm which I’ll gladly share with you:

Not really sure whats happening here.

Not really sure what's happening here.

Creative Director Devin Kennedy Blue-Steeling Out.

Creative Director Devin Kennedy Blue-Steeling Out.

Debating which slut is going to do the naked balcony run.

Debating which slut is going to do the naked balcony run.

Me and my pink scarf (not to be confused with a pink sock, which is something very different and very rude).

Me and my pink scarf (not to be confused with a pink sock, which is something very different and very rude).

Karin, Alistair and Emma. It was Emmas first night away from her baby Lula - be proud of her.

Karin, Alistair and Emma. It was Emma's first night away from her baby Lula - be proud of her.

Some random snaps: my favourite pair of cousins, when they were over here for dinner a few weeks ago (takes a while for me to get my act together scanning polaroids – what an effort, but worth it):

Kath and Theo.

Kath and Theo.

and a pic of @reigun and I at the old biscuit mill in woodstock about a month ago. Please note, if you have not yet experienced the glory that is a tuna burger from the biscuit mill on a saturday morning, then you are

Happy times.

Happy times.

And that’s about it, apart from this Patty Pan that’s been on top of the fridge for a month now. Not really sure what it’s doing there, but it does make ‘getting the milk out the fridge’ a more ‘blogworthy’ experience.

Watching. Waiting.

Watching. Waiting.

Biding its time.

Biding its time.

review of AdReview 2009.

been reading Ad Review y’ulle, checking out how everything ‘measures up’ in the industry right now. it’s been very insightful. by far the most nb article is on p81 and it’s about which Ad Bosses have the most entries on a site you may have heard of – it’s called one of my bosses is number 2 on the list – Alistair King – which I feel lends my personal brand some ‘online street cred’.

Alistair: online street cred in a bottle.

that’s Al on the left, rocking out. anyway……

I thought I’d summarise the key points we, as creatives, should glean about the advertising industry from Ad Review. Here’s what one can conclusively conclude:

1. Poor People are the New Dead Dogs.

Remember when y’ulle could put a ‘cat undergoing vivisection’ in an ad and it would win an award? And then ad ppl got all irritated that all the Sad Cat ads were winning awards so they did that ad about “Here’s a dead dog, where’s my award?” (check out The Copy Book if you’re a little vague on this), which also won an award? Well nothing’s changed except Corporate Social Responsibility is the new buzzword. ❤ that emo picture of some dude called Deon Robertze with the caption: “Who’s to blame? We are…”. Made me cry out loud.

Also ❤ how on p.51 “The Number 1 Creative in South Africa” (according to Paul Warner ) Paul Warner from Metropolitan Republic is credited  for being the person to “set in motion a campaign to use the creative talents of advertising to help beat crime”. He must be amazing, to be able to conceptualise, art direct, DTP and produce EVERYTHING himself. Paul, if you’re reading this, I’m like your biggest fan. I think you’re awesome.

3 you Paul.

❤ you Paul.

2. Ogilvy owns the world.

Yes, DDB won agency of the year, but they should have it confiscated for that Mrs Balls-up fiasco, and we all know the truth, anyway: Ogilvy owns the world. Rad. ❤ Ogilvy. Have very fond memories of interning there when I was like 7. At the time, the copywriter I was shadowing was having a nervous breakdown, which was great for me coz I got to do her work and produce some of my first real-life advertising. Also have this rad memory of Mark Fisher walking up to me and asking ‘Are you actually even doing anything while you’re here?‘, after which he spat in my face and kicked me in the shin. That was my first encounter with Advertising’s Nicest Guy (true story).

Hey let’s watch that video Ogilvy Athens made as a tribute to David Ogilvy again, just for LOLs.

3. Mike Schalit is Chief Ad Bro.

On p64 you’ll see this list called The Power 30, which basically takes you through who’s the most good looking Ad Boss in the biz. Mike is number 1. Not surprising – Mike is renowned for his good looks. Most chicks in advertising have this deal with their boyfriends, kind of like the ‘Brad Pitt deal’ – which states that “If ever the opportunity arises for me to have sex with Brad Pitt, I will be allowed to do it and you can’t break up with me”. Well, there’s a similar code going for Mike Schalit. My other boss, James Barty, is no 12 on the list. I once had a secret crush on James because of that one time we had to shoot him in his underwear so we could comp some tighty whities onto a model whom we’d shot naked. We had to shoot James because he was the only straight-up-enough guy in the agency to wear clean white jocks, and let me tell you, James has good legs (cyclist). Then James told me he liked Reggae music and I got over my secret crush very quickly.

The 12th hottest person in advertising.

The 12th hottest person in advertising.

And that’s pretty much the gist of it. You can get hold of the full review if you ask Finweek nicely I suppose, but this is pretty much all you need to know – trust me.

In prison. These are my memoirs.

Hey y’ulle. Bet some of y’all are thinking I’ve been very quiet for someone who gets free stuff for writing a load of crap about brands on her blog. I have been quiet, but not by choice. I might be killed for saying this, but I’m being held captive by Vodacom’s 3G “service”.

See, I took out a contract thinking having Internet at home would mean 2 things: a) more time at work to focus on winning a Grand Black Lion Eagle Canned Loerie Award at work and b) more time to focus on bringing my 70 billion or so readers a better blog, filled with truth disguised as semi-illiterate irony within the context of my life as an attention-seeking copywriter with a god-complex (ie the ‘Everyman of Advertising’).

Alas, alack, my good intentions are half-way to hell by now, as is the soul of Vodacom, for selling me a service that doesn’t actually exist. Dear readers, you’ll notice a prominent lack of ‘funny pictures’, links and my trademark random pink, orange and green word-colouring in this post, and for that I apologize. They don’t allow a full-service WYSIWYG editing suite here in prison. It’s just me, my iPhone and the WordPress app. It’s cold, and there are rat apps gnawing at my feet apps. Where is my god now?

I’m going to try and blog once more tomorrow. I doubt Vodacom will let me. They’ve already confiscated the razor blades I was going to use to terminate our contract. Not really sure what the point of living without blogging is. Might have to think it through in another low-Fi blog post. MTN, Cell C – if you’re Reading this, please, send help. Destroy this blog post after Reading it. And tell my Mom I love her.

I wait with hope,

iPhone handover. extreme awesomeness.

Followed by extreme torture. I have so much work to do that the official activating of the iPhone will have to wait til waaaaay later, after the mad King James party that’s going to happen this evening. Which is beyond painful, I might have you know. The human being did not evolve from the ape to experience patience. Humans evolved so they could experience instant and extreme fun. Anyway extreme and instant thanks goes to Seth over at 2oceansvibe for doing a handover this morning at vida wembley. Mark got very excited and even set up a green screen so he could do some fancy things with the video. But that will take a bit of editing, so now we just have some fancy stills.

iPhone handover at the races.

Seth and Alex with iPhone at the races.

Seth and Alex with iPhone Under da Sea.

Seth and Alex with iPhone 'Under da Sea'.

Seth and Alex with iPhone at a picnic.

Seth and Alex with iPhone at a picnic.

Seth and Alex  with iPhone and kittens.

Seth and Alex with iPhone and kittens.

And the biggest thank you of all goes to Play Euro Millions, without whom the iPhone would not be in my hands. Thanks guys. Here’s hoping I win the lottery too.

“I like big brands and I cannot lie.”

Counting 1 x cringe for every laugh. thanks Chris.

buying a new phone. feeling ‘depressed’. i think.

Hey y’ulle. Feeling a little weirded out. Think I’ve lost touch with how I really feel. When I feel something, I’m not sure I’m feeling it because of something inside me, or whether I am being influenced by external factors, such as a viral online marketing campaign. Doesn’t thousands of people singing a Beatles’ song all together make you feel depressed? The following video is NOT for sensitive viewers.

I’m about to buy a new phone, but when I contemplate my future holding an iPhone / BlackBerry / HTC, I don’t feel thrilled and elated, like I should. I feel empty and meaningless, like I’m just a small part of one massive augmented reality campaign brought to you buy KingSaatchilvyCB, sponsored by ExclusiveWorthBookwords.

The cycle of life (you might remember this from elementary school biology).

The cycle of life (you might remember this from elementary school biology).

Wouldn’t really be surprised if ‘life as we know it’ is one big augmented reality campaign, brought to you by the Apple superbrand.

Guess the trick is to break out of ‘modern day emotional constraints’ by doing something meaningful, like going for a hike up the mountain, or ‘picking up the phone’ and talking to someone.  Maybe there are even more meaningful things to be done, like ‘imagining rocket-powered unicorns’ or ‘imagining water-melon boats’. I don’t really get this whole ‘imagining’ thing tho. Will maybe get my teenage brother to make a rocket-powered unicorn app for facebook for my phone, or something.

How wonderful life could be.

How wonderful life could be.

Truly spiffy.

Truly spiffy.

How am I supposed to tell whether I really feel something or not?
Should I post how I feel in my SpaceBook status so as to get sympathy from those of my friends who are drawn to a victim? Or should I conceptualise an integrated campaign on twitter that will ‘generate buzz’ about user-generated emotions?

Wish I could upload emotions and share them with my friends. Not sure my online friends ‘get’ emotions though. Guess if my emotions fell into one of the following categories it would be fine: 1) Sober or 2) Wasted.





BONUS ‘wasted’ 4 YOU: CONGRATS YOU ARE THE 14 BILLIONTH VIEWER OF THIS POST.  please accept this pic of 2 wasted chicks kissing. wish you were here.

Will I really not feel better if I buy a phone that is more expensive than I can afford? Think I must be ‘depressed’. Guess I have identified an ’emotional niche’ that can be exploited for capital gains. Will open up my depression as a media space for ads to buy as soon as I can get out of bed. Will use the revenue I generate to buy my new phone. Hope I will be able to appreciate my new phone now that I’ve actually had to work for something in my life.

oh the irony

so same friend Lauren (whom I mentioned for Moxyland a few days ago) has also been involved in a political satire show called ZNews, which the SABC commissioned, then canned, and then when Special Assignment did an investigative show on the canning it was then banned (just like Apartheid, eh?). the reason? the show takes the piss out of our politicians, and sadly, gov can’t take it like they dish it.

Heaven Forbid!

Heaven Forbid!

ironically, the show has now been selected for screening at INPUT 2009 – the world’s biggest public broadcaster conference. why? this was their reason:

“Even though is not an innovative format – it is a news parody with puppets – the question of “what are the limits of freedom of speech“ can be heard in this programme. Could this be a relevant question both in Africa and beyond.”

LOLcakes all round. watch the full pilot here.