With 5 Grand Prix in the last 5 years, South African advertising is between the most creative in the world. Some say just because they speak English and they have a point. It´s much easier to win awards when you write your ads in English and, not only that, if it looks English. Getting crazy things approved by clients is also much easier in a third world country, where, let´s say, people are not as boring as in developed places. Multicultural life in Johannesburg is also a great advantage for the South Africans. But let´s also be reasonable. Mumbai is also very multicultural, English speaker and third world and yet, did not produce as many great stuff as the capital of South Africa.
From the many South African stars, Rob McLennan, above his 21 lions, is one of the biggest, together with Julian Watt, Gareth Lessing and Graham Warsop. Others like Tony Granger and John Hunt were too big for Africa and are now heading multinationals in New York.
Rob is not different from the big advertising stars. He began working in boring jobs like banking and house painting, until reaching in a short period of years the creative lead in a big multinational agency, Lowe Bull. Rob´s creativity was very award oriented, with lots of ideas who looked scams, until he finally did a hell of a campaign: Axe´s "Get a Girlfriend", one of the most successful and original concepts of the last years. Cannes gave him a late recognition with a Radio Grand Prix last year for an absurdly crazy campaign for Virgin Atlantic. Unfortunately, I just don´t know how to post audio files here, so you won´t be able to hear the great radio work from Rob.
Ad Genius 15: Rob McLennan.
Country: South Africa.
Agencies: Lowe Bull, Network BBDO.
At Cannes: 21 Lions, 1GP, 6 Gold.
Strong Points: Radio Ideas.