Is Africa the Dark Continent when it comes to the advertising industry?
On the contrary, says Alan Edgar, Regional Creative Director, Ogilvy Africa and one of regional judges for African and Middle Eastern categories at this year's Loeries. It's alive and vibrant, but in dire need of world-class tertiary training institutions to tap into that potential.
You mention in your bio that Africa was a bit of a culture shock when you first arrived, in what way? A year ago, whilst working at Ogilvy Johannesburg, I was offered the position of regional CD for Africa. I was blown away when I heard what the job entailed but it had just one snag... I had to start within a week. I'd never even visited Kenya, nor ventured much into Africa. In one week I had to sell our home and cars in South Africa, get married (seriously) and then immediately move north (to Ogilvy's HQ in Nairobi), leaving my wife and daughters to pack up the house, and leave their jobs and schools to start a whole new life with me. Amazingly, we did it but I wasn't quite prepared for the culture shock.
In your own culture you understand the language, the customs, the who's who and the where's where, what's in and what's out... you know what I mean. But in a new country, let's be honest, you're clueless. Literally. Now take that knowledge gap and times it by 29 - because I have 29 completely different countries in my portfolio. THAT was the shock. Thankfully I had the most incredibly supportive people, across our African Ogilvy network, who fast-tracked my learning and immersed me into these vastly diverse, rich cultures - helping me understand the fascinating African nuances and freeing me to have fun in my new role.
How does advertising in Africa differ from the rest of the world, or even from South Africa?