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The Frog in the Pot

Chris Botha, Group Managing Director of Park Advertising says that the advertising industry is remaining stagnant in some areas and that this will negatively impact us all.

A famously made meal in the beautiful country of France is “Cuisses de Grenouilles” or Frog’s Legs. Seasoned in flour and then sautéed in butter and olive oil – it apparently tastes quite delicious. So I have only been told.

I however am a little more interested in the bit that happens before we start crumbing Kermit’s legs. The bit where he pegs, and loses his…pegs… to some French chef. Ooh la la.

So it turns out that there is a certain way you cook a frog. See, if you throw the live frog into a pot of boiling hot water, he will jump out, and the poor critter will be filled with adrenaline, leading to the normally tough meat will be even ‘tougherer’- so the way the frog is cooked is by placing him in a pot with cold water, and then putting the pot on a stove. One then gradually turns the heat up very slowly. The frog doesn’t realise the water is getting hotter and hotter until it is too late, and he ends up cooked on someone’s plate. It is the slow change that fools him, and leads to his ultimate demise.

So yes, this is what media agency people talk about today. The gory details of killing a frog.

I couldn’t help but feel though that so much of what is happening in South Africa feels much the same as a frog in a pot, with the temperature increasing each month, and no one jumping out or doing anything different.

I do feel that at this rate, we will all end up boiled and won’t know what hit us.

I have decided to use my space this quarter to chat about five things that seem to keep repeating. I have written about many of these topics before, but I do worry whether we are jumping enough to escape our inevitable fate.

  1. Digital being a separate thing from other media

I have a video I show to clients that I “borrowed” from the Internet in 2011. It talks about how we as advertising people may differentiate between online media and traditional media, but the consumer does not. Fast forward to 2018 and so many marketing and media folk still do this. We have Digital Departments and Digital Media Managers and very few true communications experts who can really walk and talk the integrated media narrative.

This has to change.

  • Agencies commoditising themselves and selling only price

Wow, how many times this year have I encountered people who literally pit agency 1 versus agency 2 and PURELY make the decision based on who is cheaper? For brand experts, claiming to sell “Differentiation and Distinction” to our clients, we do a very, very poor job of it ourselves.

This commoditisation drives lower margins, which means poorer pay, which means poorer resource, which means poorer service, which means more commoditisation. Differentiation,

distinctiveness, and a real USP has to become part of what we can show and tell every day.

This has to change.

  • Transformation of the industry

Here, I am having a go at everyone. We don’t have enough Black CMO’s in South Africa. Not nearly. We don’t have enough Black Strategists, Creative leaders, and agency leaders. The work becomes irrelevant to the audience, the business becomes irrelevant to its staff and clients, and fuels further commoditisation.

This has to change.

  • Media owners are overly reliant on one element of their business

Print media owners have massive digital audiences that they aren’t selling. Radio stations have massive social media and streaming audiences that they are not selling. 99,9% of what gets bought on a daily basis remains 30” commercials, and 39 x 7 press ads – when there is SO MUCH more.

Platform engagement has to increase in 2019. When we run campaigns with media owners we need to spend more time together, and really explore every asset of each other’s business to make the deal mutually beneficial, and maximum impact.

This has to change.

  • Moving from “the idea” to “the solution”

As agency people we are all too often fixated with the next big idea, instead of looking for the next big solution. We need to continue to solve our client’s problems, and not be purely focused on making their ads. Sometimes an ad is the solution, but sometimes it isn’t. For now I think too many businesses make an ad the sole solution to whatever your problem is.

This has to change.

It’s nothing new and nothing earth shattering you might say. But isn’t that exactly the problem? That years and years later we still grapple with the same challenges and nothing changes? You will see that if you look carefully, the issues I raise are all inter linked. It requires a reset and a do over.

This has to change before the advertising industry ends up on a plate, seasoned in flour and sautéed in butter and olive oil.

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Emerald makes wishes come true!

The festive season for most people, is a time of happiness, fun, holidays and family. To make it a truly festive season for those less fortunate, Emerald Resort & Casino is helping to change lives and make a few wishes come true.

“Most recently, weassisted the Sebokeng community in celebrating the birthday of a 128 year oldlocal resident which in itself was such a rewarding project.  We are alsopurchasing Christmas gifts for over 120 disadvantaged children in the VaalTriangle and will be handing these gifts out on 7 December,” says EmeraldResort & Casino’s Marketing Executive Tanuja Gangabishun.

On 30 November, 128Emerald Resort & Casino team members and visitors to the Resort lined up togive Mr Mahlong, who had recently turned an impressive 128 years old, a roseeach, and what would a birthday be without cake and a party? Providing these,the Resort celebrated with his wife, friends and family while they enjoyed abuffet lunch and a beautiful chocolate cake dedicated to Mr Mahlong.

He provided the team with some words of wisdom: “for longevity: don’t drink alcohol or smoke, be happily married, love God and your parents.” Mr Mahlong has had seven children during his long life but isn’t sure how many grandchildren he has – but it’s quite a lot.

To aid with the expensive outlay of school uniforms and to spread Christmas cheer, Emerald Resort & Casino extended invites to Childline Sunlight Safe House for Children, Matwala Children’s Home, Emfuleni Shelter for Boys, Bophelong Children’s Home, Relebohile Children’s Home and Unity Children’s Home where 124 children will receive gifts, an additional 28 children will receive gifts sponsored by the Vereeniging Lion’s Club and 96 children will receive school uniforms packaged in new school bags.

Emerald knows that kids will be kids and are providing the children an opportunity to spend the day swimming, playing on jumping castles and having their faces painted. The kids are also in for a surprise because Father Christmas will be on hand to provide the gifts of school uniforms and toys.

‘’We don’t only aim to create memorable experiences for this wonderful community, but want to see that they succeed no matter their circumstances. By providing school uniforms for next year we hope that a small concern has been eased, and sharing in such a momentous birthday is something that brought joy to the community and our team mates, but it’s one that I won’t soon forget,” comments Tanuja.

“For us there’s no better way to celebrate Christmas and we look forward to changing even more lives in the future.”

Emerald Resort & Casino’s Resort Director Mark Hands concludes, “I applaud all of our Emerald team members on their giving hearts and generosity. Throughout the year we have run numerous CSI projects, mostly where we can make a difference in our local community and where we can be a part of their key milestones and #TeamEmerald always comes to the party.

From all of us at Emerald Resort & Casino, we would like to take this opportunity to wish our entire community a Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2019!” 

For up to date information and happenings at Emerald Resort & Casino, visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 9828000





Tel:                              016 982 8000


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Print is dying and Radio is next!

Now that was dramatic!

OK, maybe I should change the header to “Radio as we know it is dying” says Marino Sigalas from The MediaShop.

That’s because just like when the internet crawled out of a nerd’s basement and slowly ate newspapers and magazines, replacing them with online news services, blogs, Twitter and a thousand Russian fake news sites; so too will radio soon be replaced by something new, shiny and “same same but different”.

We’re already seeing it! Remember when Janice from Finance brought in her own radio, tuned it to her favourite station and we all had to accept, listen and hum along to all of her favourite tunes? Now offices are filled with earphone farms as your colleagues blissfully ignore you while listening to podcasts, streaming services, YouTube and online radio stations that suit their own specific tastes. Janice still has her radio though… but so do we.

One of the segments driving this change and seeing real growth of late has been streaming services. Spotify has been one of those success stories with 180 million subscribers around the world. 83 million of those are paid subscribers while most of us plebs have to listen to ads about baked beans in between our Rhythm and Blues (I smell opportunity).Apple Music has also been growing exponentially, adding as many as two million users a month, currently sitting at over 50 million users. Deezer is another player in the streaming market (it’s French but don’t hold that against it). Available in 182 countries around the world with access to 53 million songs and over 40 000 podcasts, you can find and listen to almost anything.

And that’s a big part of the appeal of these services, choice. Having access to a streaming service is like having a DJ that actually listens to your requests even if they won’t give a shout out to Janice from Finance. But choice can also be exhausting, which is exactly why these services have literally millions of “curated” playlists for you to choose from – so basically you can have someone else choose for you.

These services allow users to download music and podcasts in WIFI zones and play them back at a later stage, perfect for the morning commute or when you want to drown out Janice in the open plan.

While these services rely mainly on subscriptions to fund them, many have opened the door for advertising in a style that feels more like digital and programmatic than it does radio, but more of that later.

SO, with additional choice, people are able to find other options for their listening pleasure, these are often far away from traditional radio stations. But most radio platforms have already figured this out and have taken the approach that if they don’t eat their own arm then someone else will.

Online or internet radio was one of the first waves to go with a digital offering of a cut and paste version of traditional radio. It’s been around quite a while with the first station being launched back before freedom in 1993 but has evolved to some degree over the years. Initially these were just mirrored versions of their traditional counterparts, carrying the same content and advertising and really only offering an alternative method of access.

Today there are tens of thousands of these stations with audiences all over the world. More opportunity! That’s why they’re investing heavily in apps where you can listen to their station, download podcasts and content, often this is exclusive to the app and therefore drives downloads. It also gives the media owner’s revenue opportunities where they sell space on the app or on their streaming services with “pre roll” audio.

Many of a station’s inventory is available programmatically and marketers can geo target, create bespoke audiences, follow users with remarketing and create bespoke messaging. Sound familiar? Many print titles have had a similar journey with mixed success. The trick of it is you are competing with the whole world’s content rather than those just in your back yard. Marketers therefore need to be agile and offer something no one else has… which is near on impossible. However, considering that 36% of Americans listened to internet radio in the last week this is a segment that will continue to grow and evolve.

With the online and mobile world constantly evolving and growing, it comes as no surprise that traditional media will experience a switch to digital as well. Sources now predict that digital radio listeners will account for nearly 56% of the U.S. population in 2018. While a large share of online radio listening is done on desktops or laptops, smartphones are the future of digital radio consumption, with 73% of Americans accessing it through this device.

So what does this all mean for marketers?

Well it means same same but different. Brands can still create a 30” radio ad and send it out there to do its business, but marketers now have a lot more choice (just like the user) as to where its placed, who listens to it (this is through data and audience segmentation) and now we have a pretty good idea if it will lead to a sale (just like much of your other digital budget). This will ultimately lead to more accountability from all parties involved and a much better, more curated space for listeners and advertisers.

Does that mean that marketers won’t be spending money on traditional radio any time soon? Well not immediately, but the pot of money to fund digital has to come from somewhere, print was hardest hit when the interweb was first born and its only natural that radio will hurt to some degree as a new shinier version of itself is born, but smart stations will have seen the wave coming and are already building a surfboard.

Sounds good to me.

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SPARK Media partners with Private Property

SPARK Media is delighted to announce its digital advertising sales partnership with Private Property, one of South Africa’s largest online property portals.

With over 12 million monthly page views, 4+ pages per visit and an average of seven minutes per session, advertisers can access audiences that are primed to engage with products and services that relate to the buying or selling of homes.

“In our continued efforts to connect advertisers with relevant audiences, we partnered with Private Property to bring a unique opportunity to our agency and brand partners,” says Marc du Plessis, Joint CEO of Spark Media.

While it may not be intuitive to think of a property portal as a prime audience for anything but  homes and property financing, users on the site are however primed to engage with many other categories, such as home appliances, furniture, schools, tech for the home and many more.

“We pride ourselves on tactical solutions for both advertisers and customers,” concludes du Plessis. “Pairing one of South Africa’s top property platforms with our interest based and location targeting capabilities gives advertisers a comprehensive advertising solution.”

For even more on SPARK Media, visit the website and follow them on social media @sparkmediasa.


Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents a myriad of print and digital products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.


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