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Virtually anything from anywhere

Chris Botha, Group Managing Director, Park Advertising

Allow me to start this article with three quick, personal stories to set the scene.

 Story 1
For the past month while our offices still remain closed, one of our very efficient staff members booked a house in the Kruger Park. He worked very effectively from there, and even managed to pop out for game drives every morning and evening. His clients never noticed, and his work was as excellent as ever.

 Story 2
My super-efficient PA has been in Durban caring for her Dad for three months. No one noticed, and she has remained as efficient and effective as ever, while caring for her nearest and dearest.

 Story 3

A friend’s daughter is studying at UCT. She came “home” to Johannesburg in March, and will not be returning to Cape Town until 2021. She will finish her full academic year here in Johannesburg.

I am sure you have stories like that too – of businesses that used to rely on massive office space that are giving it all up and in essence becoming virtual, of virtual sports events, virtual music concerts and so much more.

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us – it’s that you can do anything from anywhere.

But what does this mean? What if my colleague, instead of booking a house in the Kruger, booked a house in the South of France (don’t worry, we don’t pay that well)? Could he carry on? Could he do the job? Heck yes. But here is where the law of unintended consequences come in. If location doesn’t matter – could we not just employ someone who can do the same job from a market like India, at a possibly cheaper salary, to do his job virtually? Yes.

So, there are two sides to this sword. Whereas in the past we would only scout talent from South Africa (for the most part) – we can effectively in this new world scout talent from anywhere in the world, and not have to deal with emigration and relocation headaches. Call centres have been doing this for years. Some tech companies too. It’s now becoming a reality for more and more businesses and industries.

There is a flip side to the euphoria of working from anywhere though. As an employer I worry about staff working from home too much. Hear me out.

A big part of the reason people work at our company is because of the physical location, nice offices, lots of friends, the buzz that our media owner partners create, and the general “gees” of our company. There is something special about working late with a bunch of smart minds, slogging in a boardroom – eating pizza until the presentation is perfect. That experience is drastically watered down in a virtual world.

If your office is your desk at home, doesn’t that mean that the company you work for becomes more “vanilla” and in the long run you work for whoever pays you the most? Company owners and management will also have to work harder to keep staff “loyal” and to maintain a very specific brand identity for their workforce.

I do believe we can however become a more caring people over time. Like my PA who is looking after her Dad, companies can and should, enable staff to not lose touch with family while working. A new Dad employee recently commented about how lockdown was such a blessing because he could experience so much more with their new bundle of joy without sitting in traffic. So, there is that as an upside.

The educational sector is an interesting one for me. Universities for example as educational institutions have been around for very many years, but let’s start micro. My friend’s daughter had to rent a flat in Cape Town and move to the Mother City to study at UCT. Is that still the case for new students? Maybe not. Maybe the future is virtual lectures, and a study from anywhere norm. Does that mean universities can now take on more students? Yes surely. Your numbers are no longer limited to a physical location’s capacity.

But don’t forget the double-edged sword.

Let’s for argument’s sake say that we all decide that we want to do our law degree at Harvard Law School in the future. No more moving to Boston, dealing with freezing winters, paying through your ears for everything in dollars. This can be achieved from the comfort of your bedroom in sunny South Africa.

But if everyone decides to study via Harvard (because they are supposedly the best) – does that not mean that fewer people will study in South Africa? Could we see major educational institutions offering world class degrees to anyone around the world, and in so doing, kill off local educational institutions? Well, maybe yes.

Apply this philosophy to retail – if location matters less – would you shop at a different store? Maybe in your suburb the Pick n Pay is 3km away from your home, and Checkers 10km away. So, you always shop at Pick n Pay. But if you move to online delivery shopping – purchases only happen via the PnP App or the Checkers Sixty/60 App – then you might go to the retailer with the better prices or the better online experience.

For us as South Africans we should use this as an opportunity to offer mass services across the globe at a competitive price. We have mass unemployment at 30% so the “anything from anywhere” trend can potentially open our workforce up to the globe, and not just to a stuttering South African economy.

Our weak Rand could help with competitive pricing.

COVID 19 handed us all some lemons, but hey, free lemons so let’s go out of our way to turn them into some much-needed Lemonade.

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The MediaShop wins Network Media Agency of the Year

For the third time in the past four years, The MediaShop has been awarded Network Media Agency of the Year at the 2020 Financial Mail AdFocus Awards.

Chris Botha, Group Managing Director at Park Advertising, The MediaShop’s holding company, says that The MediaShop has experienced a tough but ultimately rewarding 2020. “Firstly, I’d like to extend congratulations to every staff member that made this happen – this is your award,” he said.

“The fact that The MediaShop has consistently won this award three times over the past four years is testament to the team’s hard work and enduring success over the years in pioneering innovative and evidence backed strategies. I’d also like to extend a special word of thanks to our ex Johannesburg MD Kgaugelo Maphai and our existing leadership team Bonita Bachmann in Cape Town and Arish Saroop in Durban in their efforts in making this award a reality.”

Chris also said that he’s celebrating this morning with mixed emotions. “I am very happy for the accolade, but also very sad that we cannot celebrate together. Special occasions like this make me quite sad for not having colleagues to hug, high five or share a healthy Debonairs Pizza and some Moet with!”

2020 has definitely been one for the record books but despite the pandemic the agency has maintained its high standard of output, functioned optimally with a virtual team and was also identified by global research company RECMA as number nine on its Top 16 Standalone agencies that are part of groups – the only South African agency with a mention.

“Here’s to the final push of 2020, and thanks once again to our teams, management, clients and media owner partners,” says Chris.

For more on The MediaShop visit, like them on Facebook: The MediaShop, follow them on Twitter @MediaShopZA or LinkedIn.

The MediaShop:

The MediaShop is South Africa’s most established, most awarded, most transformed media agency, and member of the Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies, each with their own independent structures, cultures and management teams, and a desire to work together where synergy exists.

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Click here to shop now!

Claire Herman, Media Operations Manager at The MediaShop

When lockdown hit at the end of March 2020, we all felt completely cut off from the outside world, only being allowed out of the house to get essential services like medical attention and food. And even when we did venture out, we were terrified of catching the Coronavirus, making sure that we had a plan to “get in and out” as quickly as possible, clad with our face masks and smeared with copious amounts of hand sanitizer… It wasn’t a pleasant experience at all.

One good thing that did come out of lockdown though was my introduction to online shopping, and more specifically, the Checkers Sixty60 app. At that stage it was still in its testing phase, but luckily, I fell within their catchment area, and soon became a pro.

I will admit, being in my mid-forties and a bit of a techno-phobe (and despite being married to a software developer) my previous online shopping experience had been limited to the occasional Netflorist purchase. But now, my eyes have been opened to the wonderful world of online shopping convenience and there is no stopping me! Woolies, Takealot, Nifty Gifts, Yuppiechef, you name it here I come, and in my opinion, there is no better way to shop. Now that we are in lockdown Level 1, I do feel a bit more comfortable going to the shops, even if it is just to get out of the house and see other human beings, but ultimately my shopping habits have shifted forever.

I am not unique – according to a recent IOL article “2020 sees boom for online shopping in SA” ( ), stats from Mobicred, South Africa’s largest digital credit facility, show some interesting trends pre- and post-lockdown:

  1. Monthly online transactions grew by 40%;
  2. The 60+ years age group grew by a massive 90% (granted it is off quite a small base);
  3. Average purchase size is up by 25%; and
  4. Transaction frequency sees an increase of 30%.

The bottom line is that more people are buying more, more often. This is great for the bottom line for online retailers, which is why Mobicred has also seen a 50% increase in the number of new online retailer sign-ups, and thanks to COVID-19, the definite winners have been the food, alcohol and pharmacy retailers. According to the PayFast Ecommerce Performance Index (PEP Index), beer, wine and liquor online sales have grown by a massive 1,787% this year and ecommerce will double its retail market share this year from 1-2% to 2-4% ( ).

But who else is winning? Despite the enormous blows for the fashion industry in the real world, the online fashion sales space has emerged from the ashes and is set to grow in leaps and bounds. I for one have a tough time shopping for clothes online – shout out to all the short girls out there – but several examples over the past few months are testament to this rapidly evolving space, where virtual change rooms and size guide tables are the order of the day.

Zara plans to close 1,000 of its smaller stores around the world, saying that they expect virtual sales to account for more than a quarter of their business by 2022, and H&M is following suit and will be closing 250 stores worldwide in 2021 in favour of their online platform ( ).

Woolworths is also actively relooking their business strategy to accommodate the massive shift to online sales that they are experiencing, which is up by 41.3% in the second half of this year ( ). And then, following in the footsteps of the two largest fashion e-tailers in South Africa, Zando and Superbalist, a new kid on the block,, has just been launched ( ).

But online growth isn’t only limited to these select industries. A year ago, I would have argued that clothes purchases wouldn’t have been impacted so severely, but I was wrong. A more logical online purchase for me is home décor and household appliances (which has been very helpful in setting up my home office space), but the usual suspects of high-end furniture stores are now also being challenged, with JD Group’s pending launch of Everyshop. Not only will you be able to continue to access Incredible Connection and HiFi Corp through their new shopping portal, but also Russells, Bradlows, Rochester and Sleepmasters. A whole new market will be opened up here for online furniture and appliance purchases in the mass market – watch this space to see if it gains traction…

What about cars? It is important to note that even if the final purchase doesn’t happen online, the decision-making process definitely starts online, and more dealerships are bringing more of the dealership experience home for potential buyers. Seeing as, at the point of sale, most of the time actually spent inside the dealership is on paperwork and finance, surely most of this can be done online too? But wait, there’s more… According to the Google/Kantar US Automotive Path to Purchase 2020 study, 63% of purchasers would consider ordering a new car online and having it delivered to their homes, and 65% expect more online purchase options in the future ( ).

And travel? Sure, you can make bookings and payments online, and organise flights and accommodation, but did you ever think that you would buy a virtual travel tour? WildEarth is a case in point here, with daily live safari tours brought into the comfort of your own home in real-time, and you can now even add virtual travel to your Amazon Shopping cart ( ).

So as we enter the highest retail peak of the year, with Black Friday 2020 and Christmas fast approaching, and following on from this increasing trend of online shopping, spend on ecommerce sites is “set to soar”, with brands taking advantage of the increased site traffic close to the point of purchase ( ). And brands who have not considered this shift need to start gearing up for this change in consumer behaviour, otherwise they will be left behind…

This shift not only impacts on how brands sell to consumers, by either enabling their online platforms for ecommerce or partnering with the likes of Takealot, but there is a knock-on effect for the entire supply chain ecosystem and the resultant marketing strategy that will need to be adopted. Stock availability, safe payment options, delivery options and timeframes, client query facilities, return policies and consumer communication strategies, to name a few, will all need to be considered and adapted. Is your brand ready to be added to my shopping cart?

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A positive reality show for brands!

The second season of the incredibly successful and gender-neutral global production The Fashion Hero, is set to start filming from March 2021 at Sun City. The unique qualities of the show will act like a beacon for brands looking to integrate products seamlessly within the locally produced series aired across multiple countries.

 “The reality series that focuses on the fashion industry – with a significant difference – will flight over a period of two years across the globe, and we’re adding new channels to the mix every week, meaning that the exposure for our contestants and participating brands, will reach well over 500 million people,” explains Gail Hoffmann Parrish, Co-Founder of Marketing and Integration agency G2 Connection.

A gender-neutral reality show, celebrating everyone, The Fashion Hero is a completely new kind of series – challenging the fashion industry’s standard image of beauty. The first season of the show aired internationally in over 160 countries/territories on both linear TV and digital streaming platforms, the show has been seen by millions of people.

Season Two will be hosted by a very well-known international celebrity; we will announce the name soon.  Our host in combination with a team of 40 international influencers who reach millions of people will be promoting The Fashion Hero TV series and its website and the websites of participating brands on their platforms, with a potential global reach of close to 100 million.

“Brands can completely immerse themselves into the show across multiple platforms and touchpoints,” says Gail. “The Fashion Hero TV series shares important values such as individuality, passion, self-confidence and self-empowerment. With diversity at its forefront, The Fashion Hero empowers real people to be themselves and to celebrate that which makes them unique.”

Research out of the US looked at more than 2,800 placements for 99 brands and indicated that prominent product placement embedded in entertainment continues to have a strong positive impact. Effective product placement enables brands to connect with their personal reality, across multiple touchpoints in different ways that are subtle enough not to distract, but impactful enough to be noticed and remembered.

Looking for a possible 25:1 return on investment? The sky’s the limit when it comes to opportunities within and, more importantly, in media surrounding the show.

“Just as the old rules for TV sponsorship are being challenged, the rules of who should be a brand ambassador or role model no longer apply.  Now the world decides what is beautiful, what sells and what is fashionable, and The Fashion Hero brand partners will reap these rewards,” concludes Gail.

G2 Connection DNA

We connect brands to strategic, aligned communication opportunities to amplify and reinforce the creative brand message. G2 partners with leading production companies whose track record is well established in executing both quality international formats and local content for all broadcasters, including Africa. We complete our solutions offering through partnerships with highly respected PR agencies, specialist digital and mobile companies as well as all ATL media.

Issued on behalf of:                   G2 Connection

Virginia Hollis

Gail Parrish


Facebook: G2 Connection

LinkedIn: G2 Connection


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We gotta get down to get up!

Herman Degener, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop

What interesting times we live in… pardon the cliché but seriously, each week brings with it something new and interesting that makes us less certain and more anxious about how things are going to turn out!

Google reports that 15% of daily searches are still of the ‘never-seen-before’ variety, so we are being served-up domestic and global events which are straight out of left field! At the time of writing this blog post, we are on a precipice of one of the most nail-biting elections in the history of the US-of-A; which way will it go? The ramifications for either outcome is equally fraught with complexity, with neither truly instilling a sense of real comfort, right? What interesting times… but whether it’s across the Atlantic or across the road, there’s not a lot we can control, so let’s turn our gaze away from Donald’s tangy glow and towards our own navels… yes, I am saying it’s perfectly okay to spend a (short) while navel gazing J After all, if you truly want to embrace #SelfcareSundays, some inward focus and self-indulgence is necessary.

The point of this blog post is not so much to wax lyrical about self-indulgence, but rather to write about getting down to get back up which is proving harder than ever given the sucker-punch to the solar plexus courtesy of year one of the new decade! Like a purely executed re-targeting campaign, worry is like an omnipresent display banner, lurking on every website or social media page we view after ‘just browsing a new pair of shoes’!

What will happen to our country? What will happen if the economy cannot recover quickly enough? Is my job safe? These are fair and reasonable thoughts that cross our mind, but worrying… well that never helped anybody. We all long for the good ol’ days, although to be fair, some of you reading this post aren’t old enough to use that cliché yet, so indulge me for a bit if you will. The good ol’ days… when things weren’t this hard. When most folk could still get a good night’s sleep sans medicinal help, when we could fit in some family time after a day’s work, or some self-care time! Like the Beetles sang… “Yesterday… all my troubles seemed so far away…” Well, guess what, them troubles are here to stay, for a while at least. But here’s the thing, how long we stay in a state of anxiety is largely dependent on us; yes, there are macro factors far beyond our control, but as the saying goes, manage what you can and let go of the rest.

The funny thing is, when we actually do just that, i.e. managewhat we can, and truly let go of the rest, the rest kind of takes care of itself and we come up roses. We have to realise that although things are tough right now, it’s us who ultimately determines not only the duration of tough times, but the level of difficulty we place upon ourselves during these tough times. Tough times… reminds me of a piece of creative-genius from the team on Johnny Walker at the time, where Robert Carlyle narrates the history of the striding man. Treat your eyes and ears here, and listen out for ‘tough


To get back to a semblance of the good ol’ days (i.e. the get up part), we need to roll up our sleeves (i.e. the get down part) and get down to not only hard work, but also to putting in the extra time with family, with friends, and most importantly, with yourself. Don’t, under any circumstances, neglect yourself. But know this (cue another slice of cheese for my next cliché), there are no traffic jams on the extra-mile highway!

I was watching what is already now an old movie, Waiting (which, by the way, is a must see if you’re partial to frequently dining-out) and although arguably the most cheesy of all my clichés, one thing from that movie really resonated with me… when the manager in the mandatory intro-video which all new employees are subjected to says “ the difference been ordinary and extraordinary, is that little “extra! ” So cheesy, but yet so true… especially in today’s crazy times. Mediocrity was never acceptable, even less so now, so let’s not settle for it. It’s amazing how doing that little bit extra translates into success and happiness of the purest form, in all areas of one’s life.

Yes, I am a Digital Media Strategist for the best media agency in South Africa, possibly even the world (hey Chris, I hope you’re reading this! #SuckUp) so I should be writing about programmatic algorithms and that the death of the cookie will ultimately prove that contextual relevance was always right! Or perhaps the duopoly of Facebook and Google and how we can actually still achieve many marketing objectives and help SA publishers survive another day by sharing the marketing budget love… (by the way, if you haven’t watched The Social Dilemma it is arguably the most must-watch doccie of 2020, especially if, like me, you’re a parent!).

But for now, I choose to write about something which I believe is the core of our value proposition to the world around us, and that is belief. Belief and faith are one in the same, but hope… well that’s not a strategy. We all hope things will get better, but we have to believe in ourselves that we can make it better, and do the work. Wherever you find your inspiration, whether it’s reading self-worth quotes , listening to Al Pacino’s now famous halftime ‘ pep talk’ from Any Given Sunday, or looking into the eyes of a loved one, find it and let it inspire you to get down so that we can all get back up.

Like the saying goes “if life hands you a cactus, you don’t have to sit on it!”

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Are you the next The MediaShop Johannesburg MD?

The MediaShop Johannesburg is an agency steeped in local and international recognition. Now the company is ready to expand its team again with the appointment of a Managing Director to head its flagship office.

“Our agency is known for being innovative and pioneering, and our next Johannesburg based leader will need to match those qualities and more, including having a firm grasp of the South African cultural and consumer landscape,” says Chris Botha, Group Managing Director of Park Advertising.

The successful candidate will be supported by an established team of highly capable staff and management. “The person leading us into 2021 and beyond will be someone with unwavering integrity, creativity and insights- and evidence-based thought processes,” adds Chris.

“This is an exciting opportunity to head up one of the most award-winning media agencies in the country and we’re looking forward to interviewing potential candidates.”

Interested applicants are invited to submit their CV’s to Ayanda Mda at before the end of November.

The MediaShop:

The MediaShop is South Africa’s most established, most awarded, most transformed media agency, and member of the Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies, each with their own independent structures, cultures and management teams, and a desire to work together where synergy exists.

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Covid-19 fatigue is real, but marketers are still responsible for their brands

Victor Koaho, IMC Lead at The MediaShop

After seven months of being in Lockdown most people are currently experiencing Covid-19 fatigue.

During the initial period in winter most consumers were confined to their homes, with some not being able to earn a living. This also resulted in businesses being unable to sustain themselves, as they were observing the regulations put in place by the government. Many businesses could also not afford the salaries of their employees, with some businesses still unable to re-open due to lack of income.

At the beginning of September, we saw club owners, promoters and musicians take to the streets of Johannesburg and Durban, stressing that they had not worked in six months and it was proving to be difficult to provide for their families. For example, events that drive a lot of visibility for brands and engages with consumers, such as the Durban July, DStv Delicious and Macufe couldn’t take place because of the pandemic. Some well-known sporting events also couldn’t take place, with some having to opt for digital events.

However, with the lockdown regulations being relaxed since 16th September 2020, people have come out in numbers to be active and continue with their lives. It seems that consumers have forgotten about the pandemic, and those who were complaining about their businesses being impacted are already operating as if there was never a pandemic to begin with.

Consumers are visiting places of entertainment without observing the basics of social distancing, wearing masks or sanitising. People have been arrested leaving places of entertainment on weekends around 02h00 in the morning as opposed to closing at 24h00 midnight.

The interesting thing is that its these very same owners, promoters, and musicians who were complaining about how their income had been impacted who are now flouting the law, but as marketers and brands we are equally to blame, as we associate our brands with these activities without putting measures in place to ensure that these festivities adhere to the current regulations that are put in place.

Towards the end of November brands and distributors will be talking about Black Friday and encouraging consumers to participate in getting products and brands at a cost-effective rate from their nearest stores. Knowing how South Africans respond to sales, this day could become a nightmare to manage with potentially thousands of people not adhering to social distancing regulations.

So the responsibility to ensure that we don’t get back to level 3 or 4 is upon us as marketers to keep reminding the companies that distribute our brands and their respective consumers that we are still under lockdown regulations and should behave. Let’s not be reckless because this could have more devastating effects on our economy, which will also result in brands losing out on further valuable revenue.

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