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The human face of mentorship, training and motivation in a pandemic

Claire Herman, Media Operations Lead at The MediaShop

It is customary to move into a new year with optimism and a heightened level of energy and excitement, but as we move more into 2021 we are reminded of the lesson that 2020 taught us so well – the only constant in life is change, and that we need to adapt and be flexible if we are going to thrive in this new world that we find ourselves in.

More and more companies are continuing to work remotely and I can’t imagine what it must be like to start a new job during these trying times, especially a first-time job… How do you feel welcome in such a distant and remote environment and how are you going to learn and grow to your fullest potential? For existing team members, how do we keep morale and optimism high so that we can continue to better ourselves and progress?

There is no doubt that technology has been the enabler in all of this, allowing us to carry on “business as usual” and giving us amazing platforms to engage, interact and learn in the process. But online fatigue is real, and especially in such a socially-driven industry as advertising, we need to acknowledge that we aren’t in this alone. There is something to be said about not forgetting the human side of things in all the madness, so when looking at mentorship, training and motivation there are three human layers that we can tap into – our leaders, our teams and ourselves. If we are going to achieve our best potential, we need to leverage off this human ecosystem.

The evolving role of leadership

We all know the common traits of good leaders – charisma, vision, influence, passion, confidence, accountability, honesty, the list goes on. But now more than ever we need our leaders to be agile, inspirational, empathetic and engaged. Agility speaks to speed and flexibility, knowing how to adapt and change to stay ahead of the curve – within days of Covid-19 hitting in March 2020 our teams were all set up and ready to work from home, and a new work reality was reimagined.

Along the way we have also had many team members having to deal with sickness and loss of family, friends and colleagues, as well as depression from being isolated and alone – being there to listen and to offer support, whether personally or in the form of providing access to councillors, has helped enormously and demonstrated sincere care for teams and employees. But most importantly, leaders need to regularly engage with all employees, from the very senior to the very junior, being accessible, communicating regularly, and providing forums to interact in a positive and motivating way.

The power of the team

A lot can be said for the power of the collective team – the sense of belonging it brings can be very powerful and that is why developing and nurturing team identity and togetherness is essential. Building on values such as support, connections and inspiration can only build the team up, and when the team does well, spirits are lifted and motivation increases.

It is also important to leverage off each other’s strengths and cultivate a team culture of sharing and learning. I often say that the most valuable training I ever received was on the job as opposed to formal courses and training programmes. Identifying “champions” that can mentor the more junior team members is invaluable – firstly, it gives the champions a sense of purpose and pride in being able to transfer their skills and knowledge, plus it helps to grow good leaders of the future. Secondly, it gives the junior team members priceless experience and helps them feel like valued members that make real contributions.

And yes, it is important to connect regularly. I’m not just talking about work, but also talk about what’s going on in our lives – bringing humanness back and creating a safe space to learn, grow and build each other up.

Self-motivation becoming an integral part of our DNA

The first step is ensuring that you are mentally in the right frame of mind, otherwise you won’t be able to function, let alone grow and thrive. The second step is to ensure you have good work-life balance, which is particularly difficult in the work from home environment, so a conscientious effort needs to be made.

Then you need to really and truly want to do better and be the best you can be. This takes proactivity and taking an active role in your development. It also requires a keen sense of curiosity and not being afraid to ask questions, work hard at finding the answers and getting your hands dirty by practicing while you learn new skills. Lastly, it takes optimism and courage – stay positive and be brave, and you will see the rewards.

So, as we contemplate what lies ahead we need to look to our leaders for clarity, guidance and inspiration, and hold them accountable for their role in our development. We need to integrate fully with our teams and play an active role in this world of give and take. And we need to hold ourselves accountable for our own career development and work satisfaction.

Wishing you all a productive, inspiring and happy 2021!

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Twitter Fleets, is Twitter giving us EVERYTHING except the edit button?

Reflwe Mangweta, Digital Campaign Manager at The MediaShop

Twitter has recently launched its version of Facebook and Instagram Stories called Fleets. As with all Stories, these disappear after a 24-hour exposure period so Twitter isn’t offering anything different on that front.


As someone who engages a lot on social media platforms, I noticed how my own patterns of consuming social media changed before lockdown – Instagram was my number one go-to! Then everyone was locked in their houses and, let’s be honest, there’s only so many pictures you can show of your house and selfies you can post so Instagram content became a bit dry. I switched and became more active on Twitter for the quick updates about everything news, reactions to world events, and to amuse myself in the shady streets of black Twitter. If I heard a rumour or something interesting my go to to verify this information is on Twitter first.

With the introduction of Fleets, many Twitter users feel that the platform is trying to conform to every other social media offering. Fleets is also on the back of Twitter having launched its audio feature allowing people to tweet in their voice, which could be argued as similar to WhatsApp’s voice note function. For brands, Twitter has also launched Carousels to help marketers reach new audiences and drive people to their website or app through multiple images or videos. This allows marketers to share a brand story, show off different products or highlight specific features – all within a single ad.


The reactions to Fleets have been true to Twitter form with people complaining that the platform isn’t unique anymore. Users are also consistently mentioning how Twitter continues to give us everything except the edit button! If you’re an active Twitter user, you understand the frustration of not being able to go back and change that dreaded spelling mistake on your tweet after you have published it. Others who, like me, enjoy Instagram are asking if they should keep Instagram seeing as though Twitter is offering them all that they have on Instagram and then some. Twitter is a very conversational platform and now with the addition of the imagery and audio function I think that many people may revert to an either-or situation.


So, what does this mean for brands?


Twitter may have also seen consumer behaviour changes during this pandemic and is now catering to a broader market, particularly when it comes to brands. The combination of Carousels and Fleets means that brands run some really cool campaigns, and that Fleets paired with great imagery and short-form video content can result in great brand awareness and engagement. The Fleets can be used nicely to launch new products by running teasers and then later a big reveal. They can also be great for a brand that is rebranding. In a nutshell, the Twitter space for brands is opening up nicely and challenging marketing teams to come up with some really great and innovative content to reach the wide audience Twitter has available.

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More drama as another local soapie gets canned!

Isabel Smit, Implementation Planner at The MediaShop

We all love a good drama.  Following our favourite characters, seeing them grow, falling in love and witnessing the newly created love triangles.  Discussing or more accurately, arguing with your friends and fellow soap lovers on how the latest plot will end.

Well, in line with the 2020 plot, here’s another surprise!  On the 16th of July 2021, one of the most popular and highest ranking TV shows’ plot will come to an end.  After 13 seasons, with the first episode that aired on the 9th of July 2007, Rhythm City’s last episode will be aired on

Not the plot twist we saw coming, or did we?

With the TV channels fighting to keep the audience’s attention, creative storytelling and new ideas are more important than ever.  We all know the phrase local is lekker and over the past few years, local TV productions have performed really well.  Not only do they fulfil language requirements but they also have to inspire and entertain jaded audiences.  Customers are more demanding and diversity of choice is reshaping the local drama and soapie categories. According to Futurefact 2019, 86% of South African adults agree that they “like to watch TV programmes where our social and cultural issues are part of the story”.  This is evident in the Top 20 programmes where 90% are locally produced shows.

It is important that producers and channels get local content and mandates right.  The SABC for example, have to serve both a public broadcasting service and a public commercial service mandate.  ICASA sets local content quotas of 55% for the public broadcast channels (SABC1 and 2) and 35% for the public commercial service (SABC3).  The SABC Annual Report of 2019 shows that all three channels exceeded the local content requirements.

Quality content is key, shows need to be able to continuously inspire and connect with the viewer. Audience ratings is probably the most basic test to a programme’s success.  Good ratings in turn draws advertising revenue.

Take Uzalo for example;  the most popular drama on SABC 1 with a viewership of 11.4 million people in April down to 8.8 million in October.  The producers of this show were told to come up with a more creative story line or stand the risk of being canned after it was criticized for being “boring”.  This seems like a Generations 2.0 scenario.

What started off as a three-month contract, Rhythm City has accumulated millions of viewers over the past 13 years and peaked at almost six million viewers in 2020.  As a local production, no doubt the impact will be felt on your TV plans, with one spot accounting for over 9% reach against an All Adults audience. It is consistently ranked in the Top 10 most-watched prime time soap operas in the country.

The show has taken us from a four roomed home, following the Generos and the Ndlovu empires in the entertainment space. Moving between the townships and the suburbs, filled with industry conflicts, backstabbing, love and pain, good and evil to winning the Best TV Soap award at the 2020’s Saftas. has given no specific reason for the cancellation, other than “part of a business strategy”.  Audience numbers were expected to increase over the lockdown period, but the numbers have gradually reduced back to almost 4mil.  This opens up the speculation as to why the show is being cancelled. Their managing director, Marlon Davids, said in a statement that “ continues to look forward to fulfilling its mandate of producing exceptional and relevant local content”.

What we do know is that it will be replaced with another locally produced show. Given the revenue that has gained for Rhythm City in advertising spend in October alone (over R35mill), we can expect that it must be something that they believe will drive not only viewership but also increased revenue. We will watch this space…

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E-Commerce is experiencing an accelerated process of change

Jarred Mailer-Lyons, Head of Digital at The MediaShop says that the future of e-commerce has arrived earlier than expected thanks to COVID-19 and that while this is good for brands that have an online presence, there is still a vast disconnect between brands and consumers throughout the marketing funnel.

As we begin to slowly transition from managing the pandemic to the recovery of the economy, it’s clear that the period of lockdown and a pandemic of this scale and magnitude is bound to have a significant impact on our lives. Of course, we will return to some sort of normality in the coming months, but there’s no doubt that much will change… possibly forever. Covid-19 has altered the way we think, behave and act in more ways than one.

These emerging changes can be seen across all spheres of life – from how we work through to the ways we shop. These shifts are having significant implications for brands and retailers alike.

I’ve always had a keen interest in spotting a fad that has potentially become a longer-term trend over time and when it comes to specific categories and verticals, we know very well that trends and fads tend to come and go. While trends tend to gain widespread momentum, fads appear in contained bursts sometimes only affecting or appealing to a smaller group. A trend is really just the staying power that’s brought upon through the change in behaviour.

We definitely can’t associate the current pandemic to a trend but the significance of life span is quite relatable. With the changes in behaviours that have been created as a by-product of COVID-19, many of the longer-term changes in consumer behaviour are still being formed, giving companies an opportunity to evolve and help shape the ‘next normal’.

Behavioural changes

Let’s put it into perspective – I am sure many can attest to making and breaking a New Year’s resolution. I’m the first to admit that New Year’s resolutions just don’t stick – for me at least! Putting your mind to something is simple enough to construct in your head but actually adapting to this new way of life is one of the most difficult learned behavioural changes – sometimes it’s even more difficult to break certain behaviours than to teach new ones.

Anyone who has ever made and broken a resolution can appreciate the difficulty of behaviour change. Making a lasting alteration in behaviour is rarely a simple process. We’re human beings and we crave a sense of comfort and are often unwilling, or resistant to change especially in the early stages of making such a commitment. It’s been well over eight months now since we went into our first lockdown and we can definitely start seeing the effects of a pandemic and how humans have naturally adapted. As the months pass on by and we continue adapting to the ‘new normal’, more behaviours are bound to emerge. However, in this short space of time we have definitely started seeing some of these subtle changes.

COVID-19 has certainly accelerated digital in what was predicted to take years to achieve and research is saying that consumers globally, have shifted their spending from in-store into the ecommerce space, some are calling it ‘compressing 10 years of anticipated digital growth into a matter of weeks’. Local channels and ecommerce sites are seeing significant lifts in audiences, browsing time on site, online purchasing spikes and bigger basket sizes. The future has definitely came early as consumer activities and preferences have somewhat shifted due to the shutdown of the economy but fear of catching the virus and spreading it onto those more vulnerable has really altered the way that consumers at least in the short term, transitioned from making purchases in-store to being forced into and becoming familiar and comfortable within the ecommerce eco-system.

But this type of behaviour change is not as linear as we think – let’s not forget about the New Year’s resolution example I spoke about earlier because the stickiness of this behaviour change or trend if you like, will really depend on the satisfaction of the consumer throughout their ‘new’ experience and that’s why it’s vital for ecommerce players to adapt and build their user journeys to cater to all users in that they’re simple and seamless – making that transition easier and enjoyable for the consumer in order to make sure that the ‘stickiness’ sticks!

Regaining trust in e-commerce

I’m sure like many, I’ve also had my fair share of online purchase and delivery fails but COVID-19 has re-ignited my trust in the ecommerce space. For me the fear of catching the virus when it was at its peak really spoke to the fundamental need for safety (Maslow’s law) which translated into me moving my regular daily shop in-store to a weekly online transaction regardless of the fair share of negative experiences I had in the past. The sense of fear diluted those previously constructed notions I had around the online purchase journey and what I noticed throughout this process of personal change is that brands, channels and retailers have come a long way in transforming this eco-system from click right the way through to live tracking and timeous delivery. For me, that fear led to an immediate short-term adjustment which has now become an instilled behaviour change thanks to the benefits and convenience of online purchasing.

Of course, I am a sample of one but I have no doubt that others are certainly experiencing the same outcomes and these changing consumer behaviours require brands, if they haven’t already, to start thinking about how they change their business behaviours because the future is now and if you decide not to adapt then you could very well become a case study of the past – much like Kodak did when digital photography took off and Kodak just wasn’t ready for it.

Digital is indeed revolutionizing how consumers learn about and engage with brands and how companies learn about and engage with consumers. If we look at the traditional shopping model – its inherently a social experience and with evolving technology, shopping is changing and becoming more social by placing commerce at the heart of where people socialise online.

I recently attended a Facebook short course facilitated through GIBS which really turned the intent-based purchase behaviour that we know on its head, in that with the growth in time spent browsing social channels, Facebook noticed a significant shift with their audiences globally from intent based purchases to a new world of discovery commerce – where products find people. With consumers today being constantly connected, browsing products on the go and comparing prices, it has most certainly become a place where FMCG brands need to look to position themselves and tap into this discovery phase.

The marketing funnel

The problem is that there is a complete disconnect between the top and bottom of the funnel. The top being that which the brands invests in media to drive a marketing objective and bottom of the funnel where transaction takes place on a partner’s retail ecommerce site. Because the brand and ecommerce site don’t necessarily talk to each other, there is a complete lack of data being transferred between the two which is like gold to the FMCG brand and therefore these brands are sometimes at the mercy of their ecommerce counterparts. Trying to understand sales funnel, drop off, loyalty and repeat purchase cycles are data points that FMCG brands may never come to know unless they take the plunge and build an ecommerce site

While there is sometimes opportunity in creating a category specialist ecommerce platform that caters to all brands hosted under a single stable, most shoppers see FMCG products as part of a wider shop, meaning they want the convenience of finding everything under one roof and not the hassle of having to visit a host of websites to buy each item. Which then makes FMCG brands question whether the ecommerce platforms they are partnered with are offering their customers value and benefit which of course also ties into the latest trends we’re seeing as an outcome of COVID-19.

While there are many predictions out there in terms of ecommerce trends that will stick beyond the post-COVID-19 world, we do know that if ecommerce growth especially in the FMCG space is set to continue at an accelerated pace then convenience, personalisation, seamless ordering and delivery need to become the key pillars in which to adapt to this changing market.

So while you may be an FMCG brand trying to understand what the future holds or just an ecommerce retail site that facilitates the transaction and delivery between the brand and the consumer – these are some key FMCG ecommerce category trends and insights to look like out for in the coming months and so you can have the right conversations, adapt to the times and ensure overall business success.

1.It’s about interrogating and understanding the individual shopper journeys and buying habits… because they have changed – through the refinement of this data, it will allow you to create personalised recommendations and even inform the creation of products which will in turn drive loyalty.

  1. By doing this we can also hopefully find ways to alleviate the issue that most ecommerce stores have with regards to online basket abandonment and find simpler and shorter paths to purchase.
  1. With economic uncertainty and the consumer’s looking to brands for value during a recession, targeted and instant redeemable rewards will help strengthen the brands quest to drive loyalty and win share of wallet regardless of whether this is done through the ecommerce channel or the brand.
  1. Let’s not forget that we’re a mobile first market and geo-targeting will play an even larger role pull in consumers in on the go or at least encourage impulse spend online.
  1. It’s about versatility, speed and convenience all round – from the consumer clicking to make a purchase right the way through to the delivery experience.
  1. Lastly, think beyond your traditionally digital owned channels. Social commerce is growing at a rapid rate and consumers are adapting their buying behaviours to new technology outputs like Voice Commerce, Conversational Commerce and Bots.

Thankfully as a country we’re adaptable and one of the most susceptible nations to change – I’ve seen and heard many local businesses owners changing their business model and adapting their product to the changing needs brought upon by COVID-19, and for FMCG brands to continue their growth trajectory, they need to remain engaged, agile and productive to sustain business growth in the long term.1It’s no longer the big beating the small, but rather the fast beating the slow.

–               Eric Pearson, CIO, International Hotel Group.

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The MediaShop: Most awarded at this year’s Assegais

On the back of being named Network Media Agency of the Year at the AdFocus Awards, The MediaShop has claimed victory again at the Assegai Awards, entering and winning five awards, making it the most awarded media agency on the night.

Originating in 1998, the Assegai Awards acknowledge and award Integrated Marketing campaigns that deliver exceptional results. According to its website, since inception, the DMSA (Direct Marketing Association of South Africa) Assegai Awards have striven to benchmark the South African Direct Marketing industry, to highlight best-in-class examples and encourage all players in the industry to work towards achieving greatness in their campaigns.

 Chris Botha, Group Managing Director at Park Advertising says that the team at The MediaShop can be exceptionally proud. “The team should be, and are, bursting with pride today. Winning awards on the back of solid, innovative campaigns that provide a real return on investment for our clients is extremely rewarding and confirms that the agency is consistently making a difference to our client’s bottom lines – by thnking differently.”

The MediaShop received four Leader Awards for clients Debonairs, Fishaways, DSTV and SA Tourism and one Silver Award for DSTV.

“Congratulations to the teams involved in these campaigns and a big thank you to our clients that continue to work with, and encourage us, to produce award winning and tangible results.”

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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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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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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