I have the immense privilege of crafting ideas into life through the art form of the moving picture. In selecting five pieces of work that stand out to me as exceptional over the last three months, I was confronted with an exceedingly large pool to choose from. We’re really blessed with an amazingly talented creative community in South Africa, and the work has been great so far this year. Certain trends have certainly emerged, and it’s clear that strong visuals, art direction and an energetic execution seems to connect best with audiences at the moment. There were so many great pieces that I had to leave out, but these were the ones that I consider in the highest regard...
McDonald's - 'Rewards'
Production: Arcade Content
Director: Imraan Christian
Everything about this spot feels like it was made for a contemporary South African audience - and that’s a tricky thing for such a global brand. There are two things in particular that drew me to this piece. The first is the art direction; I really love how the colour palette extends from the production design through to the wardrobe. It gives the spot a really distinctive look that feels totally motivated by the storyline. Secondly, the camera movement and match-cuts don’t feel heavy-handed and build a beautifully unique tonality. Easy to watch and well crafted.
MTN - 'With Two Feet, You Can Move the World'
Agency: TBWA\Hunt Lascaris
Production: Darling Films
This is probably my favourite spot of the year so far. The piece delivers so well on its central premise, and that’s clearly due to the masterful craft of the director, Slim. The energy is palpable, the cadence of the edit is perfectly paced, and the cinematography is incredibly inventive. I particularly like the way that the 9:16 framing has been worked into the 16:9 aspect ratio. We’ve seen so many examples of mixing aspect ratios recently - no doubt to include the vertical first feel of TikTok and reels - and this spot does it in such an original and dynamic way. Incredibly entertaining from top to tail.
Checkers - 'Sixty60 Swindler'
Production: Panther Punch TV
Director: Glen Biderman-Pam
It feels like there’s less and less strong comedic spots coming out of South Africa of late, but this one really made a dent. Drawing from the zeitgeist, the spot was swiftly conceived, produced and released as 'The Tinder Swindler' documentary on Netflix captured the attention of the country. The well-weighted script and pitch-perfect performance from Glen Biderman-Pam was the perfect piece of content to promote Checker’s Sixty60 app.
M&G Investments - 'Invest in Consistency'
Agency: Old Friends Young Talent
Production: Patriot Films
Director: Sam Coleman
Post: Deliverance Post
It seems increasingly rare to find a piece of advertising that is willing to build intrigue before showing a logo. This spot trusts the strength of its premise to keep the viewer watching to the end before revealing its hand. The simplicity of the piece, gorgeously captured through a oner, relies on blocking, timing and performance.
Johnnie Walker - 'Bold Steps DC'
Agency: TBWA\Hunt Lascaris
Director: Fausto Becatti
Artfully capturing the journey of our three protagonists, this spot exudes style and charisma. The bricolage of cinematic techniques works well with the energy of the performances, combining to make a spot that is hard to ignore. The attention to detail is what this concept is built on and it delivers beautifully.