James Cloete

Executive Creative Director - M&C Saatchi Abel

James Cloete
From an early age James’ interests revolved around ideas, sport, art, nature, friends, girls, making things, breaking things and TV.  He was also a dyslexic and a slow reader, which meant he had to spend more time with books than everyone else.  So it was only natural that he became a writer. 

After he discovered that backpacking around Europe doesn’t pay very well, he enrolled for Art Direction at the AAA School of Advertising… and somehow was accepted. Then he discovered something called ‘copywriting’ which turned out to be much cooler than it sounded, so he changed course and graduated with a Higher Diploma in Marketing and Advertising, majoring in copywriting.

James then went on to work at Sonnenburg Murphy Leo Burnett, Network BBDO, Metropolitan Republic and the Jupiter Drawing Room, before joining Draftfcb as Executive Creative Director in 2009. In 2014 James became Creative Partner at 7dks, a branded content agency. In 2015 7dks went through a merger; resulting in the formation of Pangaea Ultima, which was subsequently sold.  James then went on to serve as Joint Chief Creative Officer of the Wunderman Group, South Africa.

Today James works as the Executive Creative Director of M&C Saatchi Abel’s Johannesburg office.

Over the years James has worked across multiple blue chip brands, both local and international, creating some of South Africa’s most loved and awarded advertising and content for companies like Coca-Cola, MTN, SABC, ABSA, Old Mutual, Childline, Cell C, MTN, Vodacom, Frito-Lay, Tiger Brands, Danone, Nando’s, Toyota, Lexus, General Motors, DHL, Clover, Boehringer Ingelheim, The Little Green Beverages Company, Nampak and Standard Bank to list but a few. 

He’s enjoyed some luck at Cannes, D&AD, One Show and Clios over the years, as well at South Africa’s premier shows; The Loerie Awards, The Eagles and The Pendorings. Luckier still, James has also been invited to judge at various shows, both locally and internationally, including Cannes, The New York Festival and The Loerie Awards. 

James’ other achievements include: a beautiful wife and two children, a couple of kids’ books and an Atlantic crossing – and he once caught a fly in his sleep (seriously).