5 Ways to Make the Small Print the Big Idea

By | Food for thought

Make the Small Print the Big IdeaThe advertising industry has evolved into a science. It now pursues statistics to support marketing decisions and often applies this mandate to the creative product too. When this happens we tend to see a lot of formulaic advertising. But there are ways to circumvent this approach. We recently worked on a campaign which did a deep-dive into the small print promise of an iconic South African brand and by doing this, brought their price promise to life. In the following article I outline our 5 Ways to Make the Small Print the Big Idea.

In 1987 I spearheaded the first live South African television campaign – Price Busters for Hyperama – which aired every Friday on M-Net during Open Time. The Hyperama merchandise executives sold goods at great prices from the floor of a studio in Balfour Park with a microwave link to M-Net in Randburg! The offers were valid for two days only and the ROI measurable in real time.

5 Ways to Make the Small Print the Big IdeaFast forward some three decades to One Lady & A Tribe’s latest advertising campaign where we did something similar but also unique. We positioned the “Dare to Compare” Campaign for Game Stores as “Taking the High Ground” on their most unique asset – the price promise in their small print. Leveraging off their important (but formerly low-key) Price Beat policy we elevated the promise – making it visible to the consumer and encouragingfoot fall into stores.

Price Beat is part of Game Stores retail DNA, having been around since the early 1970’s. It is a powerful promise which exists 365 days a year and is the only long-term promotion of its kind in South Africa. Up until “Dare to Compare” it had only been given marginal space in the tabloids and not used fully to entice customers.  In other words, we used the small print and made it the big idea.

Make the Small Print the Big IdeaHere are five ways in which one can market a brand by highlighting an untapped offering. In the words of Walt Disney, “First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.”

  1. Make it visible by leveraging off something critical but currently low key

The initial challenge of this is to find that key thing, the golden nugget about the business or product which will showcase its unique selling proposition. Then when you do, my advice is to use as few words as possible to advertise it and do it in the most compelling way. Be uber-confident and issue a challenge across all media channels showing how different your brand offer really is.

In the “Dare to Compare” campaign we elevated their price  beat promise and tomake it highly visible to the consumer. Owning the fact that the brand welcomed bargain hunters to “bring it”, potential shoppers were encouraged to bring their cheaper price finds into store.

  1. Make it meaningful by looking and sounding different

Make the Small Print the Big IdeaIf you are not “outstanding” from other brands you don’t stand a chance. Think of George Kneller, who said, “To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” Your campaign needs to look and sound different from anyone else in the market and if you manage tocapture the attention of the potential customer in a daring, disruptive way you’re half way there.

For “Dare to Compare”, we used a simple, bold message, promising: “We’ll beat any price, so you get more with every shop.” This was carried through across omnichannel platforms including print ads, in taxi TV, on billboards and via social media.

  1. Highlight the clear policy and speed of promise

Make the Small Print the Big IdeaIf you’re making a unique brand promise it needs to be backed up with clarity of the policy and speedy interaction with the customer. In other words, it is vital to be authentic along with the offer.

For Game, the challenge to the consumer was clear: “We’ll beat any price, so you get more with every shop.” If the customer found any product cheaper they could head to the nearest store with the competitor’s leaflet. Game would not only match the price but beat it by 10% on the difference.

  1. Make it fun rather than combative

Turn your campaign into a fun challenge through a cheeky marketing proposition.As David Ogilvy said, “Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.”Keep in mind developing something with a competitive, rewarding, fun edge without being combative.

Show less product and using more clever tactical punch and talk-ability.  For example, instead of featuring eight regular deals, offer three eye-catching, unbeatable offers to tantalise the customer and entice footfall into stores.

  1. Deliver to the client, including the staff

Make the Small Print the Big IdeaAs an advertiser the overall focus is on delivering improved ROI. This includes using your bold campaign as a motivator for sales merchants. This will also filter down to the consumers when they see how serious the business is about their unique policy.

Great brand assets are built over time with disciplined consistency. Focusing on a small brand or product promises is brave. It is a simple consumer proposition and it has proved its success. “There’s too much smart-ass advertising today and not enough that emotionally moves consumers to go out and buy something”, as one of my advertising heroes Mary Wells said.

As always our work is a group effort and making magic with me on the “Dare to Compare” campaign were the talented Michael Cook, Martin Sing and Didy Anderssson. Muchos thanks to everyone involved.

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… 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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

The Practicality of Strategy in Retail

By | Food for thought, Uncategorized

The Practicality of Strategy in RetailThe world of bricks and mortar retail is on rocky ground. The likes of the Edcon and Massmart groups amongst others have suffered locally, and globally brands like New Look, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer are meeting their demise.

*** This article first appeared in the Journal of Strategic Marketing

Those that are future-focused, have evolved, innovated and managed their efficiencies are the pack leaders: Ikea, Target, Amazon, Ali Baba, etc. They have been nimble, relevant and above all they have launched imaginative products and services. They listen, and often co-create product line-ups with their consumers.

The question is: Do agency strategists have a role to play in this aggressive landscape? Do modern day brands honestly have time for strategy at an agency level?

The days of receiving a written brief, digesting it, trafficking it, and descending into a dark hole for a few weeks to emerge with a long PPT of ‘thinking’ are over.  The days of a strategist being the automatic pre-cursor to a piece of creative work (a bit like a pre-wash in a washing machine cycle) are also over.

The nature of retail is about designing solutions on-the-fly. The agency and their strategist should be a step ahead of the client, and ultimately have a seat at the CMO’s table to share the responsibility of key strategic conversations.  The strategist should be another part of the future proofing brains-trust for the brand.  Working within the parameters of the business rather than the strictures of an agency.

Strategy is not something to be ‘out-sourced’ but neither is it something to be ‘owned in-house’. It would be irresponsible of marketers to not welcome external perspectives into their inner sanctum.

It has become more organic than ever before. And yes, I do still believe in the sanctity of the one-page brand mission and consistent brand golden threads. But not without a lot of imaginative, bold, and clever thinking that is executable quickly.

It is, after all, a marketing world of fast-paced technology, innovation and communication channels that didn’t even exist five years ago.  Marketing tools have extended into voice activations (anything from ordering your coffee to getting your news), AI, intuitive data-based tracking and behavioral analytics that make it feel like you’re not being marketed to at all 1

A truly useful communications strategy is really just a ‘way’ to solve a particular business problem.The answer will not always be in a positioning statement or brand solution. Nor will it be what agency creative like to call a ‘unifying thought’ or deep insight. More often, it comes from a lethally tactical activation and product solution – combined and played out as a killer blow in-market.

This new way of co-creating ‘powerful market plays’ with expert partners and cross-industry networks is considered to be the no.1 priority by CEO’s and Executives in future business development today.  This idea, of building an ecosystem of experts rather than a static business of employees, needs a long-term vision more than ever in order to ensure that all partner members are on the same page before the real work begins 2

Strategy, especially long-term strategy is about being different and consequently difficult to emulate.3  It is the same for marketing and communications.  Today’s strategies have to be built with the cornerstones of any modern business:  sustainability, technology, employee culture and eco-systems thinking in order to stamp any form of authority on a shifting landscape.  In a recent article by Harvard Business Review, entitled ‘Sustainability Can Be A Strategy’, the research suggests that “that some companies are creating real strategic advantage by adopting sustainability measures their competitors can’t easily match.” 4

Strategists are there to question, challenge, give opinions and build solutions, and this external perspective is still vital, notwithstanding the realities of business pressures, target audience knowledge (one can never have enough) and constant change.  A strategist is not always right. They have opinions, just like everyone else.

And lastly. If there is one thing that strategists can do on their own in this new playing field – it is to help, rather than hinder a marketer’s plan and vision. A practical, quickly implementable and forward-thinking plan that saves the client’s own time and money is really all they are looking for in the end.

So put down the PPT and look around the table. Create work-groups that ensure that your audience, your consumers, your employees and your partners all have a voice at the outset.  That is clever strategy. And it’s almost incredible what you can solve together.

Didy Andersson, Strategic Director, One Lady & A Tribe


1  :  https://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2018/12/12/the-5-biggest-marketing-trends-for-2019.html#gs.15hTIn5k


2  :  Accenture ‘ Ecosystems:  The cornerstone of future growth’ May 11 2018

3  :   Porter 1996, ‘What is Strategy?’  :  Harvard Business Review

4  :Sustainability Can Be a Strategy   :  Harvard Business Review:  by IoannisIoannou& George Serafin, February 11, 2019

The Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019

By | Food for thought

The Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019More than ever we’re seeing brands align with causes and let’s face it, there so many current causes to be concerned about. This means cause marketing will be bigger than ever in 2019. But millennials are growing sceptical of brands with “causes” so we’ll be hearing more about “brand activism” and “social activism” instead. Here are my Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019.

As the influence and buying strength of millennials escalates, brands need to focus on authentic and individual ways to entice the consumer. Stand back Price, Product, Promotion, and Place, in 2019 there’ll be a focus on the following these four P’s of cause marketing (or brand activism) Politics, Palm Oil, Packaging and People. As says Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO of Toluna says; “Simply doing good is not enough; brands that wish to reach millennials through cause marketing must create a personal connection.”

  1. Politics

The Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019“You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements” said Norman Douglas in the last century. This is true of some brands today and will become more so in 2019. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, aren’t afraid to melt into the political fray with their ice cream marketing. In 2009, they changed the name of “Chubby Hubby” to “Hubby Hubby” on the side of same-sex marriage. Of their latest ice cream flavour, “Pecan Resist”, Co-Founder Ben Cohen says,  “We wanted to do our part to check President Trump’s unrestrained power and send progressive champions to Congress who will really fight for working people and not just blow smoke.”

In South Africa Nandos has always been bold with mixing marketing and politics and their big #MoreSAFlavour ad it so good (and ironic, given its big-budget feel) it deserves it’s own pHD.  It’s also worth noting Nando’s are strongly positioning their campaings on social media and they could be said to have embraced at least two of the Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019 (politics and people). On Twitter the#MoreSAFlavour campaign received  1,182 861 organic impressions in its first week.  On Facebook, 445 010 organic views in its first week. This is where the young consumers are, not watching M-Net or SABC.

2. Palm Oil

Many Halloween posts on social media were a little different this year, with the #PalmOilFree hashtag emerging as growing brand activism, or in the case of products like Kit-Kat, anti-brand activism.  Fast forward to the #NoPalmOilChristmas campaign, spearheaded by UK retailer Iceland. Their Christmas advert (voice over by Emma Thompson) is so cause-driven, it’s been banned by UK TV regulators. It already has over 3.7 millions views on YouTube and the comments section support is telling, as one viewer, Stella Stolli writes, “All power to you Iceland, let’s hope this one goes viral.”

Brands or retailers who manage to align with #PalmOilFee by finding alternative ingredients /suppliers will be ahead of the game in 2019. But it isn’t going to be easy – the scope of products with palm oil in is problematic. From shampoo, to chocolate to snacks, it’s used in about half of all supermarket products. But the environmental statistics are more concerning. In the past 16 years, the palm oil sourcing has led to the death of an estimated 100,000 orangutans as well as other animals. Add to that the massive impact on rainforests and their indigenous people  (palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about  8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990 and 2008) this is a very big deal indeed.

  1. Packaging

Packaging is changing and 2019’s going to see major things happening as brands align with eco-friendly options. Take the L’Oréal-funded startup Seed Phytonutrients as a recent example. Their  products are packaged in bottles made out of paper and clay, their website pop-up encourages people to “join the movement” – other retailers take heed. The definition of “phytochemicals” is “chemical compounds produced by plants, generally to help them thrive or thwart competitors” which is what L’Oréal plans to do. Likewise in South Africa The Body Shop partnered with local brand Lush to create a more organic, eco-friendly offering.

Retailer Brands specialist, Clay Dockery says eco-friendly packaging has to serve two needs: product protection and true environmental benefit, “While the packaging does cost more than conventional packaging, this is a huge opportunity within private brands given that you can offer differentiated and improved packaging while just managing a slight narrowing of price gap to national brands.” So, while we’re not suggesting 2019 will see major brands turn tables and become plastic-free, they will make inroads towards with more sustainable offerings. Check out Package Free Shop for a taste of the future of retail sales and packaging.

  1. People

The Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019Where to start with people and cause marketing? Probably with the question, “Why can’t we just all get along?” In marketing terms we’ll be awash with corporate activism opportunities for brands wanting to make a stand and to stand out. Examples include: Community issues (including anti-bullying), safety, equality, diversity, inclusivity, gender issues (including the #MeToo movement and #LGBTQ rights) education, health and wellness, disaster relief and the plight of refugees.

There are interesting times ahead in terms of The Four P’s of Cause Marketing in 2019. There’s power to be wielded by responsible, committed brands, who they align themselves with and how they advertise. Just have a look at these fifty-six companies (including Lyft, Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Airbnb) who stand in support of the transgender community in the US. In the words of John F. Kennedy, 2019 is going to be a year where, “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.”

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe


The Battle of the Festive Season Adverts 2018

By | Food for thought, Uncategorized

It’s the most wonderful time of the (advertising) year where we do a roundup of the twinkling Festive Season ads on offer. This year hasn’t been without its coincidences, controversy and face-offs – just how we like it. Here are the brands which caught our eye during The Battle of the Festive Season Adverts 2018.

IKEA versus IKEA

Two IKEA adverts were made this Festive Season, coincidentally with the same theme, a “serendipitous development” as Brandchannel.com calls it. The Canadian commercial, Magic Man and IKEA Sweden’s Little Magic both feature young would-be magicians showing off  their  skills (or lack thereof) over the holidays.

Magic Man’s “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” soundtrack from Disney’s 1950 version of Cinderella, sung by Verna Felton, is the perfect accompaniment to a beautifully crafted ad. The commercial speaks of product-longevity when the young magician’s grandpa upgrades old “Kallax” shelves to help his grandson perform magic. This graciously highlights the payoff line; “When you get someone that perfect gift, you can feel it in your heart.”

The Swedish ad also taps into product sustainability but from a different angle. The girl magician is confident but hilariously unsuccessful with her wand as she whips away the table cloth from under the holiday dinner settings. As the crockery and cutlery go fly in slow motion we see the products are “durable” or “tempered”.  Both ads speak clearly to the IKEA product offering as well as the excitement and magic of Christmas. The humour of the Swedish ad just tips the balance though, getting our hard won vote.

The Battle of the Festive Season Adverts 2018A Not So Happy Christmas

Cause marketing Christmas ads have touched our hearts and dampened our appetites this Festive Season. Firstly, The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s The One Gift Santa Can’t Deliver . The piece is a hard-hitting reminder of people not spending holidays together as Santa Claus stumbles through a war zone in search of a girl separated from her family.

Says Mike Sutherland, the Executive Creative Director from the agency creators adam&eveDDB, “We wanted to create a film that showed what Christmas is like for these children. At the same time, we wanted to create something that would cut through the usual Christmas schmaltz.” They certainly did that.

The second ad advert is a Greenpeace short film, Say Hello To Rang-Tan, which was flighted as UK retailer Iceland’s Festive Season ad. The supermarket also pledged to remove palm oil from its own-brand foods by the end of 2018. The ad highlights the devastation the palm oil industry has had on Orangutans and the destruction of their rain forest habitat.

The banning of the film has only served to highlight the issues at stake and has garnered over 1,030,000 signatures in a petition to overturn the ban. With over 5.5 million rapidly growing views on YouTube the cause is reaching further than it would have on BBC and #NoPalmOilChristmas is going have longevity well after 2018.

David versus Goliath

The Battle of the Festive Season AdvertsThis year UK retailer, John Lewis, who has a cult following of their Christmas ads, received some unexpected competition. Their official ad, #EltonJohnLewis  was launched amid much anticipation as well as rumours of how much Sir Elton John was paid to feature. Enter an unexpected David (aka Phil Beastall – Filmmaker and Video Producer) to the John Lewis Goliath.

Phil Beastall actually made his ad, Love is a Gift, in December 2014 but it has seen a viral resurgence – possibly in reaction to the enormous spend on #EltonJohnLewis. Beastall’s commercial apparently cost £50 to make and it has touched over 1.7 million people on YouTube. It is an exquisite piece of film making.

Elton John reportedly was paid £5m to star in #EltonJohnLewis which has sparked much controversy online. Over and above the budget furore surrounding the official John Lewis ad, it also created confusion about what the retailer actually sells. As many on social media have commented, “John Lewis doesn’t sell pianos”, well they do now.

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

Email: sheila@oneladyandatribe.co.za

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Is That A Robot I See Before Me? Marketing Trends 2019

By | Food for thought

Is That A Robot I See Before Me Marketing Trends 2019 (2)Artificial Intelligence is the biggest technology marketers expect to adopt in 2019 – but we’re not only using the AI for tech – we’re also putting it on screen and making it the star of the show. As we prepare for the next generation of consumers, those born after 2010 (dubbed Generation Alpha) robots selling things will become mainstream advertising. This trend will be exponential as artificial intelligence becomes common place in our daily lives. Here are three reasons why we’ll be persuaded by robots to buy things.

Gen Gen Z’s digital world exists predominantly on mobile and the next generation of consumers won’t know a world without AI. Their reality will be immersed in robotics, just let that sink in for a second. Advertising creatives know this and brands are already creating ads based soley on robotic characters and / or driven by voice assistants.

1 Meet Generation Alpha


Generation Alpha are also referred to as the Glass Generation as their devices will be their means of communication. They will probably put more trust in artificial intelligence than in humans. This Superbowl ad forSprint, is a good example of a brand representing this. It may seem creepy to us but it shows how robots will be positioned as the authority of the best deal.

Currently, the most effective interplay between human and robot, is with the human still coming out “tops”, like this Chicken Licken – Sbu 2.0 ad. It’s effective because the product (chicken) tempts the human creator of Sbu out of hiding, and it is entertaining. As one viewer on YouTube says, “In South Africa, the adverts are doper than the movies. These advertisers should be the ones would take the movie industry to great level.”

2. Agency of Robots

Is That A Robot I See Before Me Marketing Trends 2019 (“Is it bird, is it plane? Now it’s bird chicken fries…The Whopper lives in a bun mansion -just like you.”Burger King says it used “High-end computing resources and big data to train an artificial neural network with advanced pattern recognition capabilities” to write the series ads.But they didn’t really. It’s a spoof and the robotic voice and quirky AI “speak” creates a memorable campaign.

Marcelo Pascoa, Global Head of Brand Marketing for Burger King says they make the ads to show that “Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for a great creative idea coming from a real person.”  They refer to this project as the “Agency of Robots” giving a “Glimpse into what the future of marketing and communications could look like.”It’s tongue in cheek now but how long before AI speak is actually more understandabe  to the younger consumer than the Queen’s English? We’ll see a new artifical language mapped out by marketers and AI in the near future.

3 Voice Your Opinion

Is That A Robot I See Before Me Marketing Trends 2019While the AI voice is still discernible from the human one it won’t long before we can’t tell the difference. Contributing editor for  Inc.com, John Brandon, writes,“Your voice is the best interface ever created. Generation Alpha will finally figure that out.” He predicts Gen Alpha won’t bother with email, texting, or even a phone, explaining everything will be done by voice command, “Texting and email will become totally unnecessary. The bot will communicate for us with other people and with other bots.”

We look forward to the ways we’re going to see robots take over the small screen and try to convince us to trust them and buy their products -it may be easier than we think – as author Ashley Freidlein says,  “Would you trust a computer over a human? I think people would, particularly over a call centre agent.”

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe


Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Advertising 2018

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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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneLadyandaTribe

Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe