Tag Archives: alex

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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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

trying to channel my inner PR chick. want to be the ‘life of the party’.

it’s the final countdown. we’re leaving the agency at 11am tomorrow to head to the xmas party. they haven’t told us where it is because they want what happens there to stay there. apparently there is no cellphone reception and the staff don’t have teeth. scared of people who don’t have teeth after i read an article about them hanging out at the seattle coffee company in kloof street. let that be a lesson to the vida defectors.

went to the mall today and dropped half my salary on high-res fake tattoos. very ironic because they look low-res because they are designed to mimic ‘the bleed’ of a real tattoo. also bought ballet shoes, lots of hairpieces, 4 hair nets (in case one broke), 2 combs, a hair rose, liquid eyeliner and 5 billion hair clips.

i’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to get the beehive right. problem is this involves brushing out the knots i’ve already got in my hair. i don’t know how i got them but it prob has something to do with the fact that i don’t brush my hair 100 times before i go to sleep every night.

Unfortunately I have a very time-consuming recorder hobby that eats into my hair-brushing time.

Unfortunately I have a very time-consuming recorder hobby that eats into my hair-brushing time.

also feeling nervous about experiencing an agency christmas party as a non-smoker. i’m not worried about starting smoking again, i’m just worried i don’t have enough of a reason to stay up late and that i end up going to sleep at 9 and shouting at anyone who has fun near my Luxury Safari Tent (sic).

wish i had a ‘fun bouncy party slag’ button i could flip in order to be the fun party slag. it just seems like getting drunk and having fun is a lot of hard work. what if i burn more calories than i take in? it’s a very real risk. heaven forbid i end up emaciated and looking like the real amy winehouse. wish i was one of those people who had to work hard to keep the weight off. wish i wasn’t naturally skinny. wish i didn’t have naturally white teeth, eyes and nails. wish i didn’t have exotic asian looks while having the benefit of being classified of caucasian. wish i wasn’t born with a photographic memory that makes functioning in a world of mediocrity dissatisfyingly easy. wish my parents weren’t oil billionaires so i’d know what it felt like to actually achieve something.

When life makes you a pig, make bacon out of yourself. - Alex van Tonder

"When life makes you a pig, make bacon out of yourself." - Alex van Tonder

one thing i have learnt through my adversity is that even though things may be tough and the fates may be against you by always being on your side, it’s no excuse not to smile. smiling brings you one step closer to being the PR slag at the party, and by golly, what more could you aspire to, apart fro maybe being sexually harrassed by the PR slag of the party.

the desire to be great. some people have it. some people don’t.

i’m one of those people. i cried on the eve of my 21st because i hadn’t been made a creative director yet and that meant i could no longer be an advertising child prodigy. 21 is the age limit for child prodigy. i hadn’t even finished red and yellow when i was 21. shouldn’ t have taken that gap year working at gandalf’s and chatting up goths for tips. feel like i’ve been wasting my life.

Dont want to be just another accordion-playing brick in the wall yulle.

Don't want to be just another accordion-playing brick in the wall y'ulle.

my next life aim is to get into the advertising hall of fame before the age of 26. the advertising hall of fame really does exist, and it glorifies people for doing things like ‘being an exceptional 30 second radio writer’ and ‘being an art director who does his own kerning’. things i could be immortalised for include ‘being really good at powerpoint’ or ‘being really into the internet therefore able to tell clients how to start groups on facebook’. thing is i’m not sure i want those descriptors next to my name. i don’t feel like they differentiate my personal brand from that of copywriters who have gone before me, and who will no doubt come after me.

Need to differentiate myself. Need people to know who i am. Need people to really get me. Need them to know that i am an exceptional human being inside, that I am not just another copywriter. Need people to know how special I am.

Need to differentiate myself. Need people to know who i am. Need people to really get me. Need them to know that i am an exceptional human being inside, that I am not just another copywriter. Need people to know how special I am.

been thinking that to get into the advertising hall of fame, and not have that sick empty feeling once the party thrown in my honour is over, would be to do or be something or someone really meaningful within the industry. someone like the person who writes FIRST! first on every single article on bizcommunity. or maybe i could be the girl who has dated every male creative director in cape town. although maybe that’s not very impressive because most CDs in cape town aren’t very discriminating, and also they are a little desperate because their wives left them after they screwed some little PR floozy, and all those drugs have left their skin saggy, red and dehydrated and the only girls who will actually still look at them are misdirected, disillusioned juniors / interns and fiercely ambitious creatives such as myself.

whoa. i started that last sentence when i was 12 and kept it going right up until now.

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THREAT ALERT: just watched the skandalous BBDO sex tape. i heard the guy who filmed the creatives having sex has been fired. the chick bounces her bum up and down a lot. kind of glad the roast chicken is there. non-retouched genitals never look good. do you think she’s a strong contender for an advertising hall of fame award? should i be worried? like i twittered to another copywriter a little early, i think this sex tape is a bit lame because i’m sure some other agency already did a sex tape. and i think we can all agree that the sex tape idea, much like half the work that won at Loeries this year, was a copy of an idea the creatives involved saw on the internet. when will ppl learn that copycats always get found out.

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just got reminded of something Brian Searle-Tripp said to me and my copywriter back when i was still an art director at the red and yellow school of hogwarts:

“Do you know what your ad has in common with pussy? It should never be seen under a bright light.”

I guess now we know why BST got into the hall of fame. sigh. i need some good quotes. gonna start generating quotes under my own name instead of hiding behind the advertising greats, Bill Bernback and David Ogilvie. Think i need to focus more on where my personal brand is and where it’s going for a bit. think i need to start making my own logo bigger, if you know what i’m saying?

Need to walk the walk. Need to talk my talk.

Need to walk the walk. Need to talk my talk.

Review: Fork Restaurant, 84 Long Street, Cape Town

Last night my man and I decided to hit up Fork in Long Street for a long overdue kind-of celebratory 6 month-ish anniversary dinner (kind of, we aren’t good with dates) paid for by his company because they have been working him so hard and interrupting our quality time. Please note this is not standard advertising agency behaviour. Normally you sign your quality time away in that nice clause that says ‘Employee undertakes that they will work pretty much every weekend, evening and lunch break for the duration of their time here – and probably for the duration of their lives – and if employee has a problem with this we will just give employee’s job to someone more desperate, and P.S. we’ve clamped your car,”.

After an aperitif or 2 at Planet Bar, where we like to go to work up a bit of a sweat by the fire without actually doing much but winking back at old couples who seem to think we look like a respectable couple of kids (do we? Here’s us last night – no doubt we remind them of their own hotblooded youth)

Looking good for datenight. We fit right in at Planet Bar.

Looking good for datenight. We fit right in at Planet Bar.

we stumbled onto the pavement to be greeted by a very agreeable carguard. I know the likelihood of writing that is akin to the likelihood of writing ‘we stumbled onto the pavement to be greeted by a chocolate horsecow’, but there you have it. There is such a thing as a congenial auto-protector. And he works outside Fork.

Because both the man and I lead busy lives and are constantly being hustled by new venues wanting us to check them out, we’ve got ignorant apathy down to a fine art and thus knew very little about Fork apart from the fact that they served Tapas. Expecting the usual pots of hummus and dolmades, we were seated upstairs in the no-smoking section (rather stressful for us both coming to terms with our non-smoking identities).

The menu, while varied and comprehensive, is still pretty pricey. There are 3 levels of tapas – R35, R45 and R55. We decided to order 2 from each. From tier 1 we got Puff Pastry with sautéed mushroom and parmesan, and the Raclette Fondue with Chorizo and Crostini. The puff pastries divine and I got the ‘wish we’d ordered 2 of these rather’ feeling. The crostini weren’t bad, but they didn’t melt in your mouth and remind of you of a happier time you’ve never actually experienced.

From tier 2 we got the mini kudu fillets on chilli mash – truly, something you must experience at some point in your life. I am now going in search of bigger kudu fillets. The other dish we ordered was the pasta rolls with emmenthal, aubergines, mushrooms, rocket and béchamel sauce – average. Pasta is pasta hey.

From tier 3 we got grilled tiger prawns wrapped with pancetta, which were tasty, but I also got the ‘wish we’d ordered 2 of the other dish’, namely the quail served with butternut and thyme mash and a beetroot glaze – WOW. If the quail dish were a brand it would be the AppleMac of entrees. Small, not very practical but so freaking delicious you’ll pay stupid amounts of money for it. Blasted tiger prawns.

No free meal is complete without dessert, so we went for the apple and vanilla cream shortcakes and some cappuccinos. Nice and tasty, but very biscuity. The shortcake could have been a little less crisp. That said, I ate mine and the boyfriend ate his and then we pondered our futures on the balcony and patted the lions they have out there, while having a conversation about how people always pat statues of lions if they are within reaching height.

All in all, I’d give Fork 4 stars, especially if you’re in the mood ‘for something different’ and god knows how many times we hear Capetonians say that. And if I were to do it all over again, i’d order 4 x quail and 2 times puff pastries, for what it’s worth.

Fork 84 Long Street, Cape Town

Dinner for 2 including a shared dessert and 2 glasses of house red: R500 incl tip

to book call  021 424 6334 to peruse their menu click here.

more scenes from The Loerie Awards 2008

Dave is shocked at yet another photo being taken of myself and Nicole.

Dave is shocked at yet another photo being taken of myself and Nicole.

Dot Dot Dot. No more need be said.

Dot Dot Dot. No more need be said.

Here Jo Thomas looks like the lead singer of a band. On the balcony at the Night Before braai.

Here Jo Thomas looks like the lead singer of a band. On the balcony at the Night Before braai.

I think this photo encapsulates Carla and I over Loeries Weekend. This is from the 2nd night at the event.

I think this photo encapsulates Carla and I over Loeries Weekend. This is from the 2nd night at the event.

Mike Abels underwear. Believe it, because its true.

Mike Abel's underwear. Believe it, because it's true.

Von Brandis Von Brandishing. This is really what Loeries is about. Lucas is pretty indifferent to it all.

Von Brandis Von Brandishing. This is really what Loeries is about. Lucas is pretty indifferent to it all.

Welcome signs for Jo and Kev, who drove up. In a real car. Srsly.

Welcome signs for Jo and Kev, who drove up. In a real car. Srsly.

Rei and I get down.

Rei and I get down.

Matching in our desaturated metallics.

Matching in our desaturated metallics.

mustafa maluka: the new improved Tretchikoff

I love both their work.

I love both their work.

an interesting post comparing 2 of my favourite artists.