We need more magical thinking

Posted: May 6, 2015

"This will be the year of survival of the most innovative." - Xolisa Dyeshana, ECD, Joe Public

Will this be the year of true integration, with digital woven seamlessly into campaigns and integrated into the fabric of all agencies? Xolisa Dyeshana, executive creative director, Joe Public, certainly hopes so.

"Every year we have these kind of polls and everyone talks about integration, but I don't think we have really cracked it yet. Imagine if we could make our single-minded idea truly live on all those different platforms?"

Dyeshana joined Joe Public in 2006 as creative director. He was chairperson for the Loerie Awards in 2014. He believes the industry has been changing things up for a while, but there is still much to be done. "We need pieces of work that look at old mediums in new ways and address the reality of South Africa, such as the Coca-Cola Rainbow campaign."

"If you look at the reality of SA - as much as the digital side of things is picking up - traditional media still has its space, but it's competing with a whole lot more. Hence we need to evolve how we look at everything and ensure that we are always resonating and engaging."

For 2015, Dyeshana wants to see more of: • More people-centred digital solutions: "We are still grappling with overwhelming technology. We are not seeing enough of how technology enables humanity. We are missing storytelling on those channels, missing those connections. We start to put the technology before the idea, rather than the idea before the technology."

• A truly South African aesthetic: "For a while now, our work has lacked a truly South African aesthetic - it wasn't based on truly South African insights, or solving South African challenges. I am finding we are now doing work grounded in insights that are uniquely South African. The net effect is that our work starts to have an identity, much like South America or India and I hope we go on to define that even more in 2015."

Dyeshana's advice to industry for 2015: "I think for me this will be the year of survival of the most innovative. We have to, now more than ever, be pioneering in our thinking, no matter which medium we are using. We need to give our clients more bang for their buck. For my peers and colleagues, hopefully this will be the year of calculated risk taking that leads to breakthrough business solutions."

His advice to clients this year: "I feel that to a large extent, what has transpired these past couple of years, because of trading conditions, is that marketers have become extremely cautious and a lot of the work we are seeing is extremely logical and there is very little magic coming through. That goes especially for the bigger mediums like television."

"In this economy, the only way to stand out and to make people fall in love with your brand is to bring back the magic. Because when that is there, even price becomes a secondary factor, just look at brands like Apple. Clients need to allow us to do groundbreaking work and be brave enough to buy it."

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