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Awakening the Slowveld

Prince Ndlovu, Media Strategist at The MediaShop

As a media strategist, typically when receiving a brief you’ll see focus areas defined as Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Next is a proposed budget you can work with which allows the creative media juices to start flowing on what platforms to use, like for example, which OOH sites, which regional station has the highest reach within your target market, what channels, shows and packages on Pay TV can we focus on. The list of available media is endless when the area you’re focusing on is metropolitan, with bigger populations that have easier access to brands.

But what happens when the brief delves into the Lowveld areas such as Nelspruit, White River, Lydenburg, Baberton and Hazyview? That’s when media gets really interesting. How do you target an area with a small population that lives a very subtle lifestyle but still believes in the spirit of Ubuntu? Recently, I was tasked to do a three-month campaign for one of my clients in the Nelspruit region. It was a pilot campaign to see if the product would generate interest in a small suburban area with a low budget.

After the research, the team and I proposed utilising OOH platforms like street poles and Citilites, combined with digital. After three months, we sat down with the clients and looked at its performance. But to put it mildly, the campaign didn’t even take off the runway. However, the client (and us) believed in the product and decided to give it another try.

We started looking more closely at the Nelspruit area and how the residents behaved in certain situations. We started noting the following key points, common in a lot of small towns:

 The Spirit of Ubuntu

As an 80’s baby, we grew up with the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. This is still common in areas like the Lowveld and other small towns in and around South Africa. Everyone knows and respects one other and word of mouth goes a long way as a form of credibility and reference.

 Local events

Local events such as music concerts, school sports and community gatherings bring people together. Everyone shows up for each other and supports their own. If a brand wants to be part of these events however, it needs to provide the community with value that also empowers the area.


Word gets around quickly in a small community. Using the right influential individual/s in these communities goes a long way in assisting a brand to reach the right people at the right time.

 Local media platforms

People in small towns are loyal to their media platforms. They use these to guide them on what’s happening in and around their areas as these platforms are very involved in the communities they represent. A brand should always find a way to integrate themselves into these platforms so that they can be seen as part of the community.

While there is always a place for traditional media when communicating to the “Out-of-Towners”, it’s important to realise that every local community has its own intricacies, loves, fears and the manner in which they operate on a daily basis. It’s using these local insights that make for a much better experience which in turn becomes an excellent communication strategy.

Now we’re cooking!

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Caxton Magazines evolves publishing models of two brands

Caxton Magazines has evolved the publishing strategy of two of its oldest brands, Living and Loving and Your Family, in line with the changing media environment and the way in which the modern reader is consuming niched content.

 Living and Loving is to be repositioned exclusively as an online parenting information portal but through its digital platform will still provide selected areas of its quality content in print through a bumper parenting section entitled Smart Parent which will be incorporated into Your Family. These changes will come into effect from October this year with the September issue of Living and Loving being the final print edition to go on sale.

Living and Loving magazine has, for nearly half a century and 588 issues, been regarded as South Africa’s most-loved parenting magazine, having provided generations of moms and dads with trusted advice on pregnancy, birth, and raising children from new born to five on a monthly basis. This service to readers will continue but will be more frequently updated and be at reader’s finger tips all the time

Editor Sonya Naude says: “In the last two years, our online audience has grown from strength to strength while, in line with international trends, print sales continued to shrink. Our audience is still interacting with us, but they’re doing it online on and through our social media channels. We understand that consumer media consumption habits are changing and we’re adapting with them.”

A core Living and Loving team made up of its editor Sonya Naude and digital editor Xanet Scheepers, will continue to source and produce content in line with what ‘parennials’ (a new generation of Millennial moms and dads) want and need i.e. convenient and accessible information that is reliable and trustworthy.

Adding credence to its decision to embrace the digital model is the news that Living and Loving has just been voted the number one ‘SA Kids and Parenting Blogs, Websites and Newsletters’. Selections were based on Google reputation and search ranking; influence on social media sites; and quality and consistency of posts by the Feedspot Blog Reader editorial team and expert reviews.

Smart Parent, available in a new look Your Family magazine from October, will deal with parenting concerns that affect children at different ages and stages. This special 16-page section will have its own cover, printed on a thicker paper stock for easy access, and will have an interesting mix of news and features that relate to babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, tweens and teens. The section will also include a kiddies’ fashion feature.

Your Family editor Janine Collins adds: “This is an exciting opportunity for Your Family to extend its subject matter to include content that appeals to next-generation families with a wider age range of children and for advertisers to reach a larger, parenting-aligned readership in print. We’re optimistic about the brand’s future in this new format.”

 Caxton Magazines DNA

Storytelling is our business. Content is our currency. Caxton Magazines is a division of Caxton CTP Printers & Publishers and houses 12 brands in print and digital formats, primarily aimed at the women’s lifestyle segment across life stages, lifestyles and income groups. These brands are: Vrouekeur; Woman & Home; Bona; Living & Loving; People; Food & Home Entertaining; Your Family; Garden & Home; Farmer’s Weekly; Essentials; Rooi Rose and SA Country Life. Visit


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Digital advertising is changing and so should our tactics

Yvette Gengan, Digital Media Manager at The MediaShop

One of the things that digital marketers have in common is growth hacking (not the start-up kind, the growth kind). We spend our days constantly trying to improve strategies, channels, buying methods etc. to affect growth for our clients.

But it has become increasingly challenging to break through the noise within the digital media landscape as more and more brands jump on the advertising bandwagon (as they rightfully should). More brands advertising means more content, more messages, more products and services screaming for your consumer’s attention. I find myself often thinking about the consumer as a singular rather than a plural to help me properly determine if my campaigns are actually going to make an impact.

What I mean is, when you think of one person seeing your ad as opposed to millions, it becomes more personal and more purposeful. I want to do and say the right thing to ensure I get the attention of that person and make a lasting impact.

We see this happening daily in advertising – brands are no longer telling us what we like, but rather ads are engaging with us on a more personal level every day – and we prefer it! Brands are craving feedback to better themselves and their products/services. As digital marketers (all marketers in fact), we have acknowledged that it is time to move away from ‘lazy’ advertising and advocate for more compelling ads. Consumers are not buying the act anymore and it’s reflecting in campaign performances. Consumers want to be enticed, intrigued and entertained by ads, or they won’t be influenced by it. Brands that are getting this right, are essentially winning this race.

What we’re also seeing is the shift from brands using social media mainly for bottom of the funnel objectives, like conversions and leads to more intentional brand awareness campaigns. I’m not saying that social media isn’t good for conversions, it is. But just because we can serve a lead to a consumer we have not engaged with first, does not mean we should – or shouldn’t anymore. Is it smart marketing to be blinded only by hard metrics over foundation metrics that drive long-term brand growth? Do we let our clients dictate what our strategies should look like? As agencies, we need to put together robust media strategies that combined with exceptional creative gives our clients the best shot at influencing their consumer in the right environment.

We should always be working on our target audience; who we’re speaking to, when and how. Facebook and Instagram are great for finding potential clients/customers with features like lookalike audiences, especially for bottom of the funnel campaigns. But are we using them in the right campaigns? Are lookalike audiences still as valuable as they were before? Or has the constant flooding of ads to a consumer resulted in low performance?

I believe in the potential of lookalike audiences when used with the right message against the right objective, and when it is based on a verified source. So perhaps we should only use existing consumers/clients to create lookalikes when finding new customers for accuracy? And even if we are, are we testing and optimizing to get better performing campaigns?

We can no longer be promoting content just for the sake of it and targeting people from our own biases. Brands that are only seeing digital media as a means to an end are competing with brands who are implementing targeted campaigns that drive affinity, that measure engagement as a KPI (because they see the value) and who will convert consumers with compelling creative after properly identifying them through tactical remarketing.

Every campaign or strategy we plan boils down to objective. As marketers, we should be able to define correct objectives and strategies that can realistically meet these objectives. Whether you’re running a campaign focused on reach or conversions, they are both equally important and part of a bigger picture. We need to move away from being fixated on action type campaigns only and see the relevance of generating real brand affinity among our audience. Look at trends like influencer marketing and moves like Instagram removing like counts as indicators of where our strategies should be going. Let’s acknowledge that we are one of many brands speaking to the same consumer and that we need to ensure that when we’re seen we are also remembered. If marketers can achieve strong brand recall, it is one part of the challenge overcome.

Let us be intentional with our marketing strategies and adaptable with our creative and message, and let this set a strong foundation for our campaigns.

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Win a fairytale Wedding at Emerald!

Are you about to get married? Then we have even more great news! Emerald Resort & Casino will be hosting their Wedding Open Day on 7 September 2019, and at the same time, running a competition where one bride will win a dream-come-true wedding to the value of R55 000.

Emerald Resort & Casino is inviting soon to be married couples to their Wedding Open Day! Meet local suppliers, go on walkabouts and explore all the various wedding venues and options at the Resort.

“Wedding days are truly one of those days that are never forgotten,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino. “Dr Seuss said it best: You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

The entire wedding package prize includes welcome drinks, canapés, plated starter and a buffet main course and dessert, venue hire for the ceremony and reception, PA system, dance floor with stage and a luxurious stay for the newlyweds at the Honeymoon Bush Lodge haven.

To enter, the Wedding Competition form (available online at Emerald Resort & Casino’s website) needs to be completed, or at the Open Day.  One winner will be drawn from all entries on the Open Day (7 September 2019) at 16h00. Competition entrants must be present at the draw to win. Terms and conditions apply.

Wedding competition forms can be emailed to

Emerald Resort & Casino Open Wedding Day

Date:               7 September 2019

Where:            Kilimanjaro Conference Centre – Emerald Hotel

“We look forward to welcoming all couples to the Resort next month to experience some of the most unforgettable wedding settings,” concludes Tanuja. “Good luck to our prospective brides and grooms!”

For all up to date information on events, promotions 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:                              016 982 8000





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The MediaShop Johannesburg appoints Claire Herman

With two decades of media and advertising experience under her belt, Claire Herman has been appointed Media Operations Lead for The MediaShop’s Johannesburg office.

“Most of my career has been spent within Media Agencies with a three-year stint in Media Research conducting studies that prove advertising effectiveness and ROI,” she says. “I am very passionate about the media landscape and developing media strategies that are based on solid consumer insights. I believe that creativity, innovation and digital integration are crucial to any communications strategy.

I have also been involved in helping to develop and grow the strategic skills within the agencies that I have worked and have a passion for training and mentoring young media talent. I’m excited to be joining the dynamic and pioneering team at The MediaShop and look forward to further growing my skills with the team.”

Kgaugelo Maphai, Managing Director for The MediaShop Johannesburg says that he and the Group are thrilled to have Claire on board. “Claire has worked across a multitude of clients and categories and has the research, analytical and business skills that we believe will elevate our business even further.”

As Media Operations Lead, part of her duties will include working closely with Kgaugelo to drive efficiencies and standardisation within The MediaShop’s processes and systems, including automation, quality assurance and talent development.

Join The MediaShop on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit

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Corruption Can Be Beaten – With Technology

In her address to the annual Kader Asmal lecture, hosted by the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution, NPA Head, Advocate Shamila Batohi said “corruption has become so widespread that there is a real danger of it becoming entrenched and normalised in South Africa unless something serious happens soon. For too long, corrupt politicians, government employees and business leaders have acted almost with impunity to plunder the scarce resources of our country.”

With almost one-third of South Africa’s GDP lost to corruption (Shamila Batohi lecture), ordinary South Africans feel powerless to stem the flow and corporate corruption is on the rise with seven in ten companies experiencing fraud in the last year.

Corruption isn’t just tender rigging and state capture. It’s also inflating costs, supplying unnecessary equipment and using contacts inside an organisation to bypass legal procurement procedures to land a deal. All of these fraudulent activities require the falsification or alteration of documents. None of these corrupt deals could happen if it wasn’t possible to easily change the information on an original document. Often these changes aren’t noticed because they look exactly like the originals. For example, it’s hard to pick up changes to figures when a document originated in one department is changed along the way and then presented as fact to an unsuspecting finance department.

iPlate, a South African company, has pioneered leading anti-fraud technology to create a global first – the digsig – a digital signature secured in a QR code that is embossed onto a document or encrypted onto a digital platform. The digsig secures the authenticity of the information by securing it digitally, thereby protecting the original data and rendering it impossible for anyone to alter or forge any high-value document for criminal gain.

As Dev Naicker, iPlate’s CEO explains, “People still put a lot of trust in paper documents as proof of authenticity. In this age of artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution, many companies are spending billions on cybersecurity but still using a rubber stamp to authenticate high-value documents like bank statements, academic qualifications and proof of payment. These printed documents can be easily tampered with and this is where fraud is taking place on a global level. It’s the loophole that many fraudsters are using to defraud the system. This is particularly prevalent in the tender process, where most companies are still heavily reliant on documentation – which can be easily altered by corrupt officials”.

The digsig was developed to actively assist corporates and government to fight fraud and corruption. As ordinary South Africans watch, very little is changing across the government and corporate landscape and the results of a decade of State Capture are coming in. State-owned enterprises have collapsed. Investor confidence is at an all-time low. And more and more blue-chip companies, once the pride of our nation, are struggling under corruption allegations and auditor ‘mistakes’.

“It is hard to change the moral fibre of a corrupt person. But it’s easy to make it harder for them to conduct their corrupt activities”, says Dev. “The iPlate digsig gives every South African business the chance to create a corruption-free zone. It’s time that as business leaders, we all look at how we can be more responsible and ethical in how we do business. It’s time we all do everything we can to create a culture and ethos that makes it clear we are taking a stand against corruption.”

As Advocate Batohi prepares to charge those who have stolen nearly a Trillion Rand from our country’s coffers, the digsig is on the frontlines of the anti-fraud technology that is protecting the little we have left.

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Contact: Nicola Tempest – 082 564 2266

We’ve come a long way but advertising has a long way to go

 Belinda Kayton, Media Strategist at The MediaShop

My daughter looked horrified. As she rushed towards me I could see she was really freaked out. She was doing some research for a history essay she was writing about racism in entertainment and education, and she had found something that she could not believe was actually used as an educational tool.

It was a counting book used in American education in the 1920’s and 1930’s called ”The Ten Little Niggers”! Her research had brought to light some unbelieve racism that was deemed perfectly acceptable at the time. The ‘black face’ in entertainment is right up there with the worst of the examples

This got me thinking about racism, sexism and other dangerous stereotyping in advertising. Let me be clear, there is a big difference between unacceptable bigotry such as these examples, and controversial advertising.

When I think of the best examples of controversial advertising, I immediately think of the Nando’s library of ads. These are controversial but also spectacular at opening up conversations that wouldn’t normally be frowned upon because this brand produces ads that say what many of us are thinking. Their latest “You People” is a brilliant example. They are controversial, but not bigoted.

We are all aware of a recent H&M ad that caused physical destruction of some of their stores. There were two camps of opinions – one ranting that people were over sensitive and that it was blown out of proportion, and then there were those in the second camp that were extremely offended and wanted retribution. Who was right and who was wrong?

“Offensive advertisements can be defined as any kind of communication that disrespects certain accepted norms of society, or offends someone. Marketers these days spend extra time to ensure not to offend anyone with their campaigns”. I suppose it can be argued that this makes for some very boring advertising, but I firmly believe that ads can be both clever and exciting without being truly offensive.

Before we look at brands doing it right, there are some unbelievably blatant racist and sexist ads that beggars belief. I mean, I can’t believe that these ads were actually approved and flighted.

I just kept finding more and more examples……..

Are these ads controversial? Offensive? Both?

I’m sure that there are many who remember the outcry when the Joko/Hangar TV ad first aired. The ad was made and produced with pure intentions, but it created such controversy. Was the dignity of hard working black South African women being compromised in this ad?

Even charities can get it horribly wrong. The charity Feed A Child created an ad that was enormously racially controversial. It shows a black child being petted and fed treats like a pet dog, by a rich white woman. The message was supposed be that the average dog eats better than millions of children – but boy, was that a terrible execution of the idea!!

But we have come a long way and some brands are getting it right by challenging stereotypes that have stood for generations. For instance, Johnny Walker is breaking gender stereotypes.

Typically housewife territory brands like OMO are shredding other stereotypes.

Brands are also taking note of all religions and aren’t afraid to embrace this in their marketing.

Even cities are placing ads that are confronting racism.

While LÓreal is embracing all races and celebrating our differences.

In conclusion, I’ve been horrified by what in the past has been seen as acceptable advertising, but I’ve also seen brands that are getting it right as well. There’s still work to be done, but embracing each other’s differences whilst seeing what brings us together, is the key to advertising to all, in the future.


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Exploring Limpopo and discovering insights

Chipo Mujuru, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop

I recently had the remarkable privilege of travelling to the province of Limpopo to explore the nooks and crannies of this region beyond its popular tourist spots. I had heard a lot about the region’s villages and organic fresh produce, the pride of the Venda people and of course the popular Kruger National Park. I had so many expectations of clean air, vast lands of greenery, thatched round huts and a wealth of culture / tradition. But what I found was entrepreneurship and development.

With my bags packed, sunglasses and hat on; I snuggled into the back seat of the 12-seater minibus. My imagination was running wild – what will I see and learn and how I will feel? On the other hand, I was also quite eager and hopeful to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the people I was going to meet. Bottom line is this was an immersion, a work outing, and I had to come back with insights! The drive started on a major high with the other seven ladies I was travelling with also extremely excited. It was a beautiful Mandela-Winter’s Day and we were going to experience summer for two days in the sunny region of Limpopo – hello Girl’s Road Trip!

The drive was long and as soon as we made it into the outskirts of Limpopo, we immediately felt the temperature change and we started peeling off our layers. Looking out into the beautiful landscape, all I could see was vast spans of farming land, mountains and terrain. So far so good – exactly what I expected, but no round thatch huts (surprised emoji) – I had to remind myself that we were still in the outskirts and they were yet to come.

Much to my continued surprise, during the entire trip I didn’t see many of these huts. The greater region was buzzing with property development – bricks and cement is all I could see. After refuelling our tank and tummies in Polokwane, we got back on the bus and delved deeper into the province going into Elim then proceeding to Thohoyandou, where we camped for the night. Our exploratory antenna’s rose early the next day to continue in our pursuit of more knowledge – heading into the heart of Thohoyondou first. We then departed to Giyani but nothing could dampen our spirits because we were inspired by everything and everyone we saw. From Giyani we headed back to Polokwane which was to be our last highlight before heading back to the buzzling streets of Jozi.

From my personal standpoint, I have completely misconceived Limpopo. I had commonly known it for its beautiful bushveld and wildlife reserves (kinda like how most people outside Africa think we cohabit with wildlife). Embarrassing I know, but I was one of those people (giggle emoji). People born in Limpopo have taken pride in the growth of their region and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. They will go out to neighbouring towns seeking jobs or business but they always bring their wealth and knowledge back home. The adage ‘home is where the heart is’ is fully illustrated here.

Evident in the non-existent thatch dwellings (although they call their home towns villages), real estate is rife and boasting self-upliftment. With the region’s productive fertile soil citizens have managed to feed themselves and their major cities through their farming prowess. We witnessed a lot of uplifted families, massive real-estate in homes and business centres, communities that are striving and pursuing the same lifestyle trends “we” only thought belonged in Sandton. This is not say there is no poverty, but the scales are definitely shifting – wealth in Limpopo is not just money in the bank; it is culture, land, livestock and the art of small businesses.

Development was a definite surprise but I have to say that one thing that didn’t disappoint was the amazing friendliness and respectfulness of the people. They were very welcoming to our team, we were constantly greeted with a lot of smiles, not sure what it was about us but it was pretty obvious that the locals could see we were not from around there. I guess we stuck out like sore thumbs because none of us could speak the local languages (language barrier is a real thing yoh!).

The pride the locals have in their culture and dialect is so incredible. Nightlife in Limpopo on the other hand is not the hive of activity and dress up like it is in Johannesburg but dining and takeout takes up a lot of the free-time option. Their malls boast of “leg-room” (so much space in bathrooms☺) and aren’t cluttered with in-mall advertising, which to a marketer’s eye is actually an eye-sore LOL. I could go on into the intricacies of the alarming differences and discoveries but that would require another article ☺.

I would not have wished for a better immersion, it was definitely the most eye opening and enjoyable learning experience I have gained in a while. My expectations were overly met and as much as I love the buzzing sound of the big city and its lights – I would love to retire in such a calm and humming “village”.

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