In Conversation With Our Number 1 Art Director

Thule Ngcese
Our very own Creative Director, Thule Ngcese, was ranked as the Number 1 Art Director in South Africa when the 2021 Loeries Official Rankings lists were released in January 2022. We managed to take him off the piles of briefs he’s working on to grab a cuppa with him to discuss his achievements and his creative plans for the future.

What does the title Number 1 Art Director in South Africa mean to you?
I have never been one to speak on my achievements, but somewhere out there is a black kid who grew up like me and will read this and be inspired to do what I have done. To see the hours, days, months and – in this instance – a process that’s taken nearly two years come to life and receive the accolades 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 (Nissan Shwii) for work that addresses a human need is always meaningful for me. The Number 1 ranking is just validation of the hours I’ve put in throughout my advertising career, and this is still just the beginning.

What are you focusing on now?
My focus now is nurturing and mentoring young talent – the talent that could conceivably be ranked in that Number 1 spot in the future. I’m also focused on building us a better Boom and an agency that sees what others overlook and believes in building in creating better work that makes a difference for brands and ultimately a difference in people’s lives.

How have you tackled this ‘better brands’, ‘better lives’ objective since joining us?
Well, for starters, we bagged 1st place for the Creative Circle Ad of the Month (November 2021 awarded in January 2022) in the Radio & Audio category for Ricoffy. Also, as part of NESCAFÈ RICOFFY’S 50th-year campaign, we encouraged people to celebrate their South Africanness by submitting their favourite Mzansi words.

As a nation filled with diverse languages and cultures, it’s no myth that sometimes things get lost in translation. So, when the country submitted their words, we developed the MZANSAY Keyboard that suggests user-generated South Africanness words to use when sending a text so you can avoid the miscommunication dilemma.

We also created a radio campaign that helped 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, and to see our young creative team – Musawenkosi Nhlapo, Obakeng Rapoo and Mongezi Xhoma – win first place for the Creative Circle Ad of the Month is a great highlight for me so far. Seeing them eager to create more and get recognised for their work is exciting to see. I can’t wait for the world to see what these kids have been doing. Ilali iyabulela.
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