Three questions for… South Africa’s Number 1 Art Director

Boomtown Creative Director, Thule Ngcese

Boomtown Creative Director, Thule Ngcese, was ranked as the Number 1 Art Director on the 2021 Loeries Official Rankings lists, released late last month. We spoke to him about what this achievement means, and his creative plans for the future.

What does your 2021 Loeries achievement mean to you?

I have never been one to speak of my achievements, but somewhere out there is a black kid who grew up like me and who will read this and be inspired to do what I have done, so it’s important.

To see the hours, days, months and – in this instance – a process that’s gone in for nearly two years come to life and receive the accolades we have received is proof that there’s a place for great creative ideas that incorporate the use of tech to live in our country.

Winning my second Loeries Grand Prix and a couple of Gold Loeries for work (Nissan Shwii) that addressed a human need is always meaningful for me. And the Number 1 ranking for me is just validation for the hours I have put in throughout my advertising career. But, my job is just starting.

What are you focusing on now?

Right now, I am focusing on mentoring young talent – talent that could conceivably be ranked in that Number 1 spot in the future. I am also working with my team at Boomtown to build an agency that sees what others overlook and believes in building in better. Not just better brands, but better work, work that makes a difference in people’s lives.

Can you provide an example or two about how Boomtown is tackling this ‘better brands’, ‘better lives’ objective?

Of course. We are already on a good path having bagged 1st place in the Creative Circle Ad of the Month (November 2021 awarded in January 2022) in the Radio & Audio category for Ricoffy. As part of Nescafè Ricoffy’s 50th year campaign, we celebrated our South Africanness our way when we encouraged people to submit their favourite Mzansi words.

When the country responded, we created the MzanSay Keyboard app that suggested user-generated South Africanness words every time we texted. As a nation filled with diverse languages and cultures, it’s no myth that sometimes things get lost in translation.

Since our South Africanness is a language that we all understand, it makes for a perfect solve to a miscommunication dilemma. We created a radio campaign where we use our South Africanness to clear up the confusion in our daily interactions, proving that sometimes it’s only our South Africanness that’ll do.

I am super proud of this work. To see our young creative team – Musawenkosi Nhlapo, Obakeng Rapoo and Mongezi Xhoma – win their first place in Creative Circle Ad of the Month has been such a great highlight for me so far. And to see this inspire them to create more and be recognisable for their work is so exciting to see and I can’t wait for the world to see what these kids have been doing.

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