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5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable Marketing

By | Food for thought

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingI recently gave a Cause Marketing presentation to the Red and Yellow School and it struck that there’s a unique synergy between our diversity and our advertising. So in honour of Heritage Month here are my top five reasons why South Africans make memorable marketing.

  1. Agility

SA’s response to the Constitutional Court’s legalising the personal use of cannabis set social media alight. Twitter was smoking with #Dagga judgment memes, ditto on Facebook where Zapiro’s “Joint Decision” and Ben Travato’s scary-funny diatribe didn’t disapppoint. In the marketing arena it got interesting with a fake Nando’s ad going viral. The real one still uses the word  “Azishe”, isiZulu for “let things burn”, but the payoff line is “Just make sure it’s higher grade” poking fun at the fake ad.  If immitation is the highest form of flattery, Nando’s takes the, er, cake.

  1. Humour

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingFinding the light side of life has always informed our ad industry, from the legendary Cremora ad (It’s It’s Not Inside, It’s Onnnn Top) which still makes me smile, to the latest rather risky “BRAAAAI!”  from King’s Price – clever positioning for Heritage Day / braai day.  “When others don’t make sense, we do,” says King’s Price, who  also put themselves on the map with their “Lobola” and  “Do Something Sexy to a Tractor” commercials. Plus, we can’t let Heritage Day pass by without a mention of Suzelle’s “Braai Pie” – as Jess says in the comments on YouTube, her “o fok” moments make my life.

  1. Culture

Hats off to Tiger Brands for their colourful colaboration with local artist Dr Esther Mahlangu. The Albany Bakeries and Tastic Rice packaging has been redesigned with an Ndebele flavour,  with the payoff line, “Celebrating Our Heritage”. This is in conjunction with a competition as well as a Dr Mahlangu hosting a one day masterclass for students at the National School of the Arts (NSA). Mmaphuti Rankapole, Marketing Director of  Albany Bakeries says, “We are delighted that bread and art can come together in this special and unique concept as two great staples of South African tradition. We recognise the importance of daily food as the life force that sustains all our people and are happy to play a role.”

  1. Storytelling

5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable MarketingAh Nike! Their Caster Semenya ad  just does it. As Brendan Seery writes, “If you want to make a social statement, or do something intended to change society, then you need to be authentic. Social media denizens will sniff you out in a heartbeat if all you are doing is virtue signalling.” But Nike gets it right here using emotive storytellling to drive the ad, and closes with “When you’re born to do it, do it. Just do it.” Makes me want to stand up and cheer and has had the same effect on the SA public. Yes, there will always be haters but they help champion the cause, sparking contraversy on social media, getting more publicty for Nike.

  1. Cause Marketing

I know Cause Marketing can have a significantly positive impact on society. We saw this with the Centrum® Guardians campaign which One Lady & A Tribe worked on for many years. It aligned the benefits of taking Centrum® with the core competencies of South Africa’s Emergency Services. This 5 Reasons why South Africans Make Memorable Marketinggave the people who work in the industry the recognition and respect they deserve. Guardians were recognised and rewarded and the strategic ‘paying it forward’ loop of recognising the public and the ERS Personnel was a win-win coupled with great year on year sales results for Centrum®.

Another example of simple but memorable local cause marketing is from the SPCA – their latest ad Bodybuilder gives their Family Swap a run for its money – you can’t choose your family but you can choose your pets.

In South Africa we use our humour talent and culture to share stories which can leap over the walls of politics, regions, religion and race. Telling our diverse stories can also change hearts and only hearts can change minds.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe


Why Are Virtual Assistants Female?

By | Food for thought

Why Are Virtual Assistants FemaleHearing the young daughter of a friend demanding answers from Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, gave me pause for thought, particularly during Women’s Month. As writer Chandra Steel points out, our experiences with AI can teach and train it, but we are also shaped by these interactions. So,how is always having a compliant female virtual assistant shaping us?

“Someone on TV has only to say, ‘Alexa,’ and she lights up. She’s always ready for action, the perfect woman.” Sybil Sage

USC Sociology Professor SafiyaUmoja Noble says virtual assistants have produced a rise of command-based speech at women’s voices. ‘Siri, find me [fill in the blank]’ is something that children may learn to do as they play with smart devices. This is a powerful socialization tool that teaches us about the role of women, girls, and people who are gendered female to respond on demand.”

In 2017 Melissa Locker noted, “In a world full of aggravations, one of the more subtly frustrating grievances is that every single smart device has a female digital assistant.” But is it a subtle grievance or something we should take more seriously? Neuroscientist and Silicon Valley “legend” Jeff Hawkins says, “The key to artificial intelligence has always been the representation.”Let’s look at the representation of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon’s “Intelligent Digital Personal Assistants.”

Cortana – Microsoft

Why Are Virtual Assistants Female“Cortana has skills and she uses them to help you,”says Microsoft on their website. Their VA may be described like a rock ‘n roll lyric but the name “Cortana” actually comes from a sexy, synthetic intelligence character in Microsoft’s Halo video game, with actress Jen Taylor being the US voice.

Siri – Apple

Dag Kittalaus, the Norwegian co-creator of the iPhone 4S, came up with the name of Apple’s VA “Siri”, which means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” in Norwegian and “secret” in Swahili. According to Wikipedia the original American voice of Siri was provided by Susan Bennett in July 2005 and Apple auditioned hundreds of candidates to find the basis of their latest female voice.

Alexa – Amazon

Amazon’s VA Alexa was inspired by the computerised voice on board the Starship Enterprise. David Limp, the Vice President in charge of Amazon Devices, said the name sounded unusual and was “a little reminiscent of the library of Alexander” which was once the “keeper of all knowledge.” When asked about their VA gender an Amazon spokesperson said, “We tested many voices with our internal beta programme and customers before launching and this voice tested best.”

So there we have it (Google’s new VA excluded) if we put them all together we have a beautiful, secretive,nude-robotic sex-symbol who is all-knowledgeable like an ancient library.

Broadly speaking, there are three reasons given as to why these VA are all women.

  1. Subservient

Why Are Virtual Assistants Female“The human brain is developed to like female voices.” Clifford Nas, Professor of Communication

Some may say the female voice is more “likeable” but in terms of communication with AI VA’s, this really means subservient.  According to Psychologist James W. Pennebaker women use more pronouns and tentative words than men andtherefore it makes sense that AI assistants are women and are programmed to use “I,” a lot – especially when taking “responsibility” for misunderstanding questions. I’m no expert but I think we could get used to a male voice using more pronouns and taking responsibility for misunderstandings.

  1. Relatable

“Gender cues make it easier to relate – even with a robot voice we assign a he or she pronoun.” FriederikeEyssel

In her article, I’m tired of ordering Alexa and Siri around — we need male virtual assistants, Sara Salinas recaps some of the AI  gender studies findings, including that all genders consider the female voice warmer and women’s voices at a higher pitch and easier to understand. These reasons are largely myth , highlighted by Googlerecently making singer John Legend one of six new voices for Google’s smart assistant.

  1. Profitable

Why Are Virtual Assistants Female“Like all technologies before it, artificial intelligence will reflect the values of its creators.” Kate Crawford

This extract from Leah Fessler’s must read article on bots and sexual harassment says it all:“Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home have women’s voices because women’s voices make more money. Yes, Silicon Valley is male-dominated and notoriously sexist, but this phenomenon runs deeper than that. Bot creators are primarily driven by predicted market success, which depends on customer satisfaction - and customers like their digital servants to sound like women.”

The flip side of this is that if there were more women making decisions in high level tech jobs (women leaders are still getting short changed by tech companies) perhaps they’d find a profitable non-female VA voice alternative.

 “As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” Amit Ray

Why Are Virtual Assistants FemaleThe dismal stats of women leaders in tech, coupled with Indra Nooyi’s decision to step down as the C.E.O. of Pepsi Co, has meant a 20% drop in the number of female CEO’s in the US in recent months.  But on the virtual assistant front, the trend of using female voices may be turning with Google’s new artificial intelligence system called Duplex. Its different voices have been described as “fascinating” and “groundbreaking”. But until Duplex arrives on a smart device near you, do try and find a male default voice on your virtual assistant if you can. Let’s try and shift the supposed “subservient” connotations of the female voice, starting in our own homes.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe


Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Advertising 2018

By | Food for thought | No Comments

To paraphrase Richard Branson, if you want to succeed as a leader or an entrepreneur you have to be a storyteller. When a good tale is told our brain lights up, we engage, we remember and we begin to feel a connection. So what better platform to use great storytelling than in advertising? Here’s a look at our favourite storytelling ads so far in 2018.

Once Upon a Time Storytelling in Advertising 2018

 “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” Seth Godin

Stories are not just nice to have, in fact Dr Keith Oatley, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, says: “Novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life.” Storytelling can also positively reinforce our sense of identity and we’re seeing this as a local trend in South African commercials.

OUTSurance celebrates 20 years of being in business with their #20YearsOfOut commercial. We accompany a 20 year old woman, driving through streets paved with OUTSurance people assisting – helping with accidents, directing traffic, active in the community and respectful of their employees. We’re made to feel quite proud to have been part of their 20 year journey. It’s a measured, nuanced commercial which gets better each time you watch it, and it even manages to squeeze in a romance amongst the storytelling sentiment.

Once Upon a Time Storytelling in Advertising 2018

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch

points.” Johan Sachs

According to Disruptive Advertising relatability and impact are the key things to focus on when creating a story. Spike Jonze’s HomePod – Welcome Home for Apple nails both of those elements beautifully. Who hasn’t returned home after a long day and longed to be transported into a different world? Siri’s choice of song does just that and performer Tahliah Debrett Barnett, known as FKA Twigs, dances us into an unforgettable, quirky dream sequence. Even the biggest technophobe will wonder what having Siri in their life will do for them, and that’s Apple making an impact right there.

Once Upon a Time Storytelling in Advertising 2018

“Your brand is not what you sell.” John Iwata

Keanu Reeves promises: “When passion meets inspiration, an obsession is born… Once you’re done and you’re happy, the world will welcome your creation with open arms.” This is in his Make It  commercial for website design gurus Squarespace.  Reeves is in a desert, at night, next to a fire. He’s not really selling websites, he’s selling a lifestyle – but that’s okay, especially as he’s quite funny, taking the Mick out of his on-screen film star character, John Wick.

“Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.” Jonathan Lister

From the art of semi-ridiculous storytelling to this sublime ad-formercial for Chanel in Cannes 2018.  It’s a mini-documentary dripping with uber-hot (but serious) movie stars, red carpets, yachts and exquisite Chanel merchandise. The branding collaboration between the Chanel and the female stars (Influencers) of the Cannes Film Festival is a storytelling win, reinforcing the luminous quality and glamour of the Chanel brand.

Once Upon a Time Storytelling in Advertising 2018

“Make it simple but significant.” Don Draper

Full disclosure here, One Lady & A Tribe were the agency on the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centenary Campaign, in partnership with some of the most generous, talented people in the industry. But if we do say so ourselves, we think this campaign is special. It’s also insightful storytelling as we go behind the scenes, speaking to some of the unknown people who worked with Madiba.

The campaign is called Untold Stories, underpinned by the hash tag Find the Madiba in You.  We challenge you to keep a dry eye watching these PSA’s, one featuring  Jack Swart who says, “I was his prison guard but over time we became like brothers.” The other with Dudu Buthelezi  who recalls, “I went from selling amaKota outside school to making tea for a President.”

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

Realistic Marketing Trends 2018

By | Food for thought | No Comments

At this time of the year T.S. Elliot’s lines from The Rock come to mind, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in the information?” We’re overwhelmed with trends and predictions, but which will further our knowledge rather than just add to the information overload? We think the following trends will realistically make waves in the marketing world.

Realistic Marketing Trends 2018 Optimising for Voice

Google’s reported 20% of mobile search queries submitted via app are done by voice and Gartner estimates 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020, so becoming more vocal is here to stay. Marketing strategies will shift quickly to be more “visible” to voice and be geared towards providing answers to questions (on all platforms) from text search to voice search.

Advertising looks set to take off where Burger King and Google Home left off last year with their controversial “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger” ad. In a short space of time we’ll be wondering why we ever thought a brand entering our home in this way was invasive. Interacting with consumers via voice is not the near future, it’s already here (or should we say “hear”?).

Realistic Marketing Trends 2018 Instagram Bigger than Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s message promised he would “fix” Facebook in 2018. What with fake news and global politics, he has a big task ahead, plus he’s also acknowledged: “I’m not going sit here and tell you that we’re going to catch all bad content in our system.” So… Instagram, with an estimated 800 million users in September 2017 and growing fast, it’s a better place to be. There are less trolls, it’s friendlier, better looking and it’s where the influencers are – so that’s where the marketers are headed – until the further rise of Amazon that is.

Realistic Marketing Trends 2018 Transparency Rules, OK?

“Transparency is fundamental to running a sustainable business,” said Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America, when the company launched their “What’s in Our Products” addition to their website. We’re going to see more transparency from business on their products and where they’re sourced in 2018.

Much of the “new” transparency will be enabled by blockchain technology, as Business Insider reports, “…Top brands are betting that blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins the cryptocurrency bitcoin, can fix all that ills digital advertising.”

What does this mean? Forbes unpacks it in laymen’s terms explaining that due to pressure from increasingly vigilant consumers on “social responsibility and online security” the role of blockchain will become vital as the blockchain makes it “nearly impossible to forge digital transactions and scam customers.”

If you’re ethical about the source of your products and services, Blockchain can help you prove this to your customer.  In terms of advertising, more transparency from clients opens up a world where we can bring brand storytelling authentic life, or as Seth Godin says, “Touch the humanity inside and connect to the humans in the marketplace.”

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Editorial Note:

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

Advertising agency, One Lady & a Tribe, is a collaboration of like-minded professionals exploring unchartered strategic angles for brands. At our core is a commitment to Cause Marketing – we like to think that we’ve made a difference when the Tribe has spoken.

Contact: Sheila McGillivray



Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe


Top Festive Season Ads 2017

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Top Ads this Festive Season 2017The battle for the most epic Xmas ad is reaching its zenith. We love this time of the year as big brands pull out all the stops to reach into consumers hearts and tug on their purse strings. These are our top Festive Season adverts so far.


“The Performance” from Cost Plus World Market

“When life hands you llamas, you should use them in a holiday ad,” says Phil Fattore, Senior Copywriter from Barrett SF about this short holiday film from Cost Plus World Market. The ad features a boy learning to play the trumpet and, you guessed it, llamas. It captures the fragility of Christmas for children and the pressure to perform.  It beautifully showcases the brand’s offbeat llama range, offering a fresh perspective on Festive Season gifts.

In the cute-kid dominated arena of Festive Season ads this year, this one from Apple glides in elegantly with its gorgeous dancers and exquisite soundtrack, sweeping most of the competition under the snowy sidewalk.  The dancers are real-life married couple, Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Grant, choreographed to Sam Smith’s song “Palace” while showing -off Apple’s iPhone X and AirPod wireless headphones. There’s a healthy dose of love and product FOMO here, giving the traditional Festive Season family ads a run for their money.

John Lewis Christmas Ad 2017 – #MozTheMonster

Top Ads this Festive Season 2017Sorry Sainsbury’s, LIDL, ASDA, Aldi and other UK department stores, John Lewis’s #MozTheMonster beat you to it this year. Currently with 9.1 million views on YouTube, it uses a cute kid (oh yes!), a monster, the band Elbow’s interpretation the Beatles song Golden Slumbers and is directed by the legendary Michel Gondry. It’s a lovely ad, but that said, the #MozTheMonster campaign cost a staggering £7 million, so one would expect it to be pretty good.

ShowMax Ode to the Holidays

This glossy, funny “South African’s on holiday” ad is reminiscent of last year’s Pick n Pay Festive Season campaign #LetsGoOnHoliday; but it’s still a winner. We love local commercials like this which show our quirkiness, honesty and humour. It’s not (contrary to other popular ads) the easiest time of the year and Showmax has cleverly tapped into that. Thank you to Director Bevan Cullinan, who provides s us with ad’s the extended cut, here.

A Very Merry Mistake #MirryChristmus #AirNZXmas

Air New Zealand (famous for recruiting the cast of The Hobbit for their safety video) manage be the heroes of this ad and poke fun at the Kiwi accent.  The campaign leverages on, “Share this video with someone who just can’t get enough of the Kiwi accent”, and has stirred up lots of viral humour online.  Some of the YouTube comments are lovely:  “As a Scottish NZ’er it took me years to geet thus acceent royte,” and “Uts Ear Nu Zulend bruh… Mirry Crusmaz all our Kewi Frunds.” Air New Zealand Chief Marketing Manager Mike Tod says of the ad: “While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service.”

Turkey, Every Which Way | Tesco #EveryonesWelcome

Top Ads this Festive Season 2017Possibly this Festive Season’s epic fail advert, but we’re always interested in a bit of controversy. And by “bit” we mean the massive social media backlash Tesco’s received for this ad which depicts a Muslim family celebrating Christmas. As one of the many haters on YouTube comments; “That awkward moment when you forget to put even a token Christian in a Christmas advert.” What do you think?

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Editorial Note:

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

Advertising agency, One Lady & a Tribe, is a collaboration of like-minded professionals exploring unchartered strategic angles for brands. At our core is a commitment to Cause Marketing – we like to think that we’ve made a difference when the Tribe has spoken.

Contact: Sheila McGillivray


Advertising: From a Chrysalis into a Butterfly

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Advertising From a Chrysalis into a ButterflyThere’s been a lot of talk about the “death” of advertising, but with an estimated $34 billion spent on Facebook marketing in 2017, that seems unlikely. Rather than “dead” it’s actually undergoing a welcome transformation from an incubating chrysalis into a responsive butterfly.


“There’s too much crap.” Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer,  P&G

Eloquent words spoken by Marc Pritchard in relation to P&G’s approximate $140 million cut in digital ad spend. The decision sent shock waves through the industry, but P&G’s marketing shift is a wakeup call to agencies to break down silos, simplify and be more transparent. “We’re improving the quality of consumer insights, agency creative talent and production,” said P&G CEO David Taylor. Sounds like an effective way to shake up parts of the industry into much-needed transformation.


“There has always been ad blocking. Ad blocking was the 30-second TV ad coming on air and you got up to make a cup of tea.” Keith Weed, CEO Unilever

29% of Germans use desk top ad blockers according to Business Insider’s world chart and they’re the top global “blockers”, followed by India at 28%.  But more than half the people in the world have a smart phone and there hasn’t been “mass adoption” of ad blockers on mobile (yet). And many people take their phones with them when they make a cup of tea. So there are delicious advertising options right there.


“We believe a lot of what’s behind the macro trend of ‘personalisation’ is simply the desire for human connection…” Eric Korman, CEO of PHLUR

The push for brands and agencies to personalise products is making marketing more colourful. From Coke cans with names on (apparently surnames are in the pipeline, hope there’s a McGillivray), to beauty products you “try on” with a phone app, to virtual stylists. Technology and “connection” are creating an advertising world which looks brighter, fresher and more effective.


“We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.” Nate Silver

This quote by Nate Silver made me think of the Nando’s ads, so cleverly agile and creative. But there’s room for more agencies and brands to be braver and align current affairs with their marketing. I predict we will see more of this. While there are risks in riding the winds of change, there are also great benefits to being current and credibly noticeable.


“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” Bill Bernbach

The nature of advertising is shifting from overhead-heavy to quality creative that reflects the practical needs of the consumer. But the emotional needs of the customer are also all important and cause marketing (a subject close to my heart) is no longer a fringe activity and we’ll see more brand values visibly integrated into core marketing strategies in the future.

The Same, But Different

“Just when the caterpillar thought “I am incapable of moving,” it became a butterfly.” Annette Thomas

So much has happened in the industry since I was part of the first live TV commercial, Pricebusters for Hyperama and M Net circa 1987, but when you think about it, advertising influencers on Facebook Live are not so far away from that original concept of selling live on television; much like the metamorphosis of a incubating chrysalis into a free floating butterfly.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Women in Marketing: The New “Specialist Generalists”?

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Women in Marketing The New “Specialist GeneralistsDuring Women’s Month at One Lady & A Tribe we’ve been discussing how much women in marketing need to know to be employable in the current job arena. The consensus is that it’s not a enough for young women to focus on a specialised marketing career; we now need to be “specialist generalists”, and know an awful lot about a lot.

Business Belives in Unicorns

I read Jessica Edgson’s article, Hey Agencies, Stop Trying to Hire Unicorns, with interest, knowing how demanding even mid-level job requirements are. A business looking for a Social Media Manager, for example, asks that the candidate has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing (or similar) three or more years’ experience, be a writer and proficient in CMR software etc, etc, the list goes on.

Do We Really Need A Degree?

Not only do we need to be unicorns, we also need a degree. The question is: why are employers in Social Media Marketing, for example, still asking for a tertiary qualification, especially in South Africa where so few can afford university? Surely in such a rapidly changing field it would make sense to hire youth and passion over three or four years of university, plus the three or four years experience required? A university degree would also imply specialisation in the communications field, and yet the specs of a marketing job now demand a wealth of “specialist generalist” knowledge too.

Warp Speed Marketing Changes

FastCompany’s Top Jobs in 2025 article predicts that people with the ability to focus on “computational thinking”, that is, process massive amounts of data and spot patterns, will be highly valued. It also goes on to say “we need to be learning new things” and the lifelong learning trend will happen through “mini bite-sized chunks of information” that can make you knowledgeable about anything in the minimum amount of time (but not a specialist).

Necessary Addiction

Women in Marketing The New “Specialist GeneralistsInfluencer, Seth Godin  recently wrote about how we: “Get addicted to the rush at work, or to the endless flow of the online world, and your life changes. Attention spans go down, patience decreases, essential tasks are left undone, and most of all, our humanity starts to fade away.” While I wholeheartedly agree with him, the point here is that the addiction to work, change, learning seems to be necessary for us to remain relevant in the workplace.

The Invisible Workload

Women’s “invisible workload” is nicely summarised in – but suffice to say we remember the coffee pods and the toilet paper, and so much more. While Thomas Huxley’s quote “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something” is becoming truer; at One Lady & A Tribe we still hire the best, most specialised person for the job and it’s served us very well.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

Women’s Month: A Journey of Transformation

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Women’s Month A Journey of TransformationWe chatted to a friend and long-time supporter of One Lady & A Tribe, Gill Randall, Joint Chief Executive Officer of Spark Media, about how women in the advertising industry are faring at the moment and what the future for women in marketing holds. These are her thoughts and valuable insights.

“There’s still not nearly enough representation by women in our industry. For example, only around 3% of creative heads of are women, yet females account for the vast majority of the purchasing activity. In media particularly, I believe that the numbers of women in marketing leadership positions has actually gone backwards.

That said, at Caxton Publishers, we’ve always had lots of females employed as publishers and editors, but I don’t believe this is true for the national and regional media players.The irony is that there are more women in media than most other industries but very few rise to the top.

At Spark Media (a division of Caxton) I’ve made it my personal mission to cultivate a women-friendly culture in our workplace. We understand that if we don’t offer a flexible work environment (especially for moms) we risk losing wonderfully talented women.  So I try to make flexible work hours a possibility and generally instil a culture of “family first”.

When it comes to the debate about women being either “unicorns” (that do it all) or specialists, there is an argument for both. Firstly, because the industry is moving at record speed, in many instances skills need to be agile.

On the other hand, I’ve found, when looking for specialists, that some of the services don’t exist, or are in short supply. That’s where the up-skilling of existing staff comes in; with your team of writers (for example) who can bementored to become copy writers, content writers and digitalcontent creators.

Ultimately, it would be great to have “specialists”, who have a broad understanding of related skills but a deep understanding of how their role fits into the overall picture.

At Spark Media we’ve been on an intense journey of culture transformation. We are working with a professional in this field to understand what issues are limiting our performance and how we go about addressing this entropy to create a happy, high performance organisation.

We have already seen major shifts in attitude, happiness levels and productivity.Operationally, we have also invested in more creative skills which is showing positive results. Because we are very science and data heavy, focusing on this resource will take us one step further to showing clients creative and effective ways to implement our “proposals” effectively.

In the next couple of years I think there will be a “bloated” investment and resource allocation into digital and social media (both on the editorial and advertising side). This will happen at the expense of the focus on traditional channels. There will be more pressure on employees to deliver, but less knowledge about how to do this.

In the South African landscape pressure from government to transform the media industry (and others) will become more apparent and I foresee more interference in editorial,and media ownership.

Women’s Month A Journey of TransformationOn a personal note, since you asked, I play golf, love spending time with my family (especially my three grandchildren), have a wide social circle, am an avid traveller, hiker, bouncer (funny rebound boots), belong to a poker group and really enjoy live music.

To my younger self I would say, “Be more kind.”Guilt and fear are such destructive emotions. As women, we expect to have super-powers and worry that we haven’t given enough time and energy to work, children and home. I know now, that whatever I do, I am doing and giving the best of myself that I possibly can.That has to be enough.”

Thank you Gill, what an inspiration you are.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

Seven Good Men

By | Food for thought

Inspired by Mandela Day, and this quote from Marcus Aurelius; “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one”, I’m sharing seven influential leaders who I consider to be good men. Here’s the list.

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffett

Seven Good Men Warren Buffett recently took another step forward in his decision to give away his fortune. The billionaire (who bought his first stock at seven years old) donated approximately $3.17 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and another four charities. This is his 12th annual donation to the group of charities. Quite a legacy indeed and he’s just getting started.

“We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

TIME History had experts analyze Barack Obama’s legacy and what US Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin said, summed it up for us: “In the near-term, he brought stability to the economy, to the job market, to the housing market, to the auto industry and to the banks. That’s what he’s handing over: an economy that is in far better form than it was when he took over. And you can also say he’ll be remembered for his dignity, grace, and the lack of scandal.” In addition to those things I admire him for the way he treats his family with obvious love and respect.

“Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” Steve Jobs

There’s no doubt Steve Jobs was a complex man, but I think that with radical innovation now a daily occurrence we may tend to forget how incredible his vision was. For an interesting take on how to see him in terms of charitable works, read HBR’s Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist, which in summary says: “What a loss to humanity it would have been if Jobs had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to figuring out how to give his billions away, instead of doing what he does best.”

“I don’t recommend it to everyone, because it’s high risk.” Koos Bekker, on not drawing a salary, bonus or benefits during his 17 years as CEO of Naspers.

Koos Bekker is respected as a future-forward executive who revolutionised South African newspaper publisher Naspers into a global digital media conglomerate.  While he was CEO, the market capitalisation of Naspers grew from about $1,2 billion to $45 billion, with Bekker being compensated by stock over time. He’s now owns Babylonstoren Estate in the Western Cape, which is so exquisite it’s almost as impressive as his other business achievements.

“I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.” Elon Musk

Earlier this year, Elon Musk launched a tunnel boring business called The Boring Company and Neuralink, a company working on neural lace technology that would allow computers to merge with human brains. He is truly a man of the future.

In addition to his latest vision, he also co-founded PayPal, leads SpaceX and runs Tesla, the electric car company which will see vehicles gas-emission free in the future. By using his wealth to push innovation, Musk is changing how we interact with the world and the universe. Oh, and of course, he was born in Pretoria.

 “I am not willing to let the market-place determine the future of the animal kingdom.” Charlie Rose

From Charles Manson to Jimmy Carter to Bashar al-Assad, who hasn’t the Emmy Award winning Charlie Rose interviewed? Starting at PBS in 1974, he went on to host an interview show which has been distributed nationally by PBS since 1993. Since 2012 has also been an anchor on CBS This Morning.

This iconic man, with his unique style, has spent 40 years putting people in the spotlight. In doing so, Rose has often become the spotlight himself. I respect him for it and have learned a lot from him.

“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” Nelson Mandela, on the day of his release, 11 February 1990

There are so many great words uttered by Nelson Mandela but I think this is my favourite – the magnanimity and selflessness of saying, “I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands,” is just enormous.  Madiba was a freedom fighter, prisoner, peacemaker, statesman, philanthropist and elder who will always be globally revered. I was fortunate to live in his lifetime and was blessed to learn valuable life-lessons from a remarkable man.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

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