Monthly Archive:June 2016

Not just another Brexit article. We are South African – hear us.

Written and published on The South African Magazine: 27 June 2016.

For the first time since 1993, I felt a certain rumble in my belly this past week. It wasn’t the the dodgy butternut soup I’d had at lunchtime, but rather an old familiar friend which I thought I’d buried a long time ago. The friend that tugged at the hearts of so many South Africans in the early 90s when we were all faced with 1 big change ahead.

  • Some decided that their fear of potential in-fighting, economic ruin, threat of personal safety and cultural disarray was too much to bear and headed for greener pastures abroad.
  • Many welcomed the very change that was resulting in fear of the unknown to others, with singing and dancing and true innate excitement.
  • Many were indifferent to the huge potential for change that lay ahead and just carried on with their day-to-day routines.
  • And then there were others who felt the fear, and felt the concern – but who decided to keep their heads down, roll their sleeves up and give it one last shot because they believed in a greater cause. They wanted to make a difference – despite their circumstance.

So how ironic to sit here – a South African expat now living and working in the UK – contributing to this economy, this culture, this commercial growth plan – and to once again, feel the same unease that we felt all those years ago – when faced with something so big, something so unknown – that despite what the media reports, and the politicians falsely promise – almost puts us right back to where we were in the early 90s in South Africa.

Make no mistake – I never left South Africa for a better life. I didn’t choose to leave because I’d had enough. My life path ended up this way due to a very happy cross-cultural relationship.    But so many of my friends living in the UK, did. They left out of fear. They left out of circumstance. They left for a better life.  And now – we all sit with the same unease.  Brexit. 

Amongst subject conversations with fellow-South Africans this weekend, were those of leaving for Canada, weighing up a Zuma-nation vs a Non-EU Britain and hopeful petitions for a second referendum.   There are couch-politicians name-calling those who didn’t vote in the same way and referring to them as racist, idiotic nazis.  There are others who didn’t bother voting, but are now signing petitions to u-turn a result of a democratic process simply because they don’t like what they are hearing. There are those who, after they had voted, started to research and clarify what the EU actually was.

We know that change isn’t easy. And there are many of us who may feel disappointed, frustrated, even angered by the results of this ‘process’ – but there’s one thing that stands firm for me.

We are South African. We are, each of us, born with a culturally-rich desire to do, desire to achieve, desire to succeed. We are overcomers of turmoil – we are problem-solvers and fixers. We get the job done, and we know how to live – no matter of location, circumstance or standing.  Yes – we may already be packing our bags, heading for the hills – or we may be burying our heads in the sand until all of this fuss blows over – but whatever it is, there’s something inside each one of us that instinctively reminds us that we can do this.

The sun will still rise tomorrow.  That deadline that’s looming, will not move. The beer you have in the fridge will still be cold ready for that braai you’re planning.

So get busy doing.

Three contra adverts that you may have forgotten about

Who doesn’t love a good contra ad? You know the sort – those adverts that slowly start to unravel a strangely familiar and coy bubbling in your stomach as you watch and realise the gently aggressive contra-message they’re trying to broadcast.

There are so many of these out there – many that often go unnoticed because you haven’t seen the original.

But we’ve found just a few that you may not already know about.

Mercedes vs BMW

When Mercedes Benz brought out this 1991 advert of a car smoothly zipping around the infamous coastal road in Cape Town, South Africa, those who saw it were left speechless with a sense of awe and wonder at not only the storyline, but the warm-hearted, loyalty-rich advertising that sprung out of it. The background to this advert is that a chap had been driving along this road, naturally in a Mercedes Benz, but had lost control of the vehicle and plummeted over the edge and onto the rocks below at the edge of the sea. He miraculously survived – and thus a major advertising campaign was born.

Here’s the advert:


However – as always, in good tradition – BMW wasn’t to outdone – and soon released an advert showing a BMW making its way along the same piece of road – but instead of going over the edge, maintains its pace and stays en route.  Of course, they just had to throw in the tagline at the end, which signalled the start of a new type of brand war.


Mercedes Benz vs Jaguar

But it would appear that it wasn’t only BMW who was hot on the heels of the Mercedes Benz marketing team. We may all recall the more recent advertisement that Mercedes Benz released where they used hens to demonstrate their “magic body control”.

Here’s the advert


And no sooner had we fallen back in love with that Diana Ross song (but this time only associating it with chickens), but Jaguar decides to release their contra-ad showing that they, too, aren’t scared of a bit of brand rivalry.


John Lewis vs Aldi

Rivals of a completely different nature – and not necessarily the types of rivals we’d expect – but, and we must admit, a bolshy move from Aldi.  As most of us are aware, the fight for the best Christmas advert comes around like clockwork – where retailers battle it out to create the most evocative, thought-provoking, tear-inducing advert possible, which instintively are shared (laboriously) all over social media where again, we reap all types of opinion, love, emotion, frustration, and in my case, irritation. It obviously works – because what they have released, causes some type of reaction, making their brand stand out – and therefore we buy (usually).

But in 2015, we saw a different set of rivals come to the fore.

John Lewis is always synonymous with their beautiful Christmas Adverts. And in 2015 they launched the #ManInTheMoon campaign.

Here’s the advert:


Not too long afterwards, and a little more understated than what you’d expect from someone going up against a retailer like John Lewis, Aldi (the budget chain retailer) decide to show that marketing skill and expertise has got nothing to do with the price of the products you sell.

Here’s their version:


So – it does leave one to ask. Who’s the real winner here? The one that came up with the follow up or the one who is being followed?

We leave that to you.




Content isn’t only RAH RAH RAH – sometimes it’s just a plan.

When we speak about our “Content Services” – people often think it’s this blanket statement that covers mostly marketing blurb, and self-proclamation. But here’s a little fact that you probably didn’t know about us.

Fresh Brew’s founder, Katy Roberts, also has extensive ESL Teaching experience – having lived in Taiwan for a couple of years, teaching English to learners of all ages and all abilities – from A-a-Apple through to business negotiations in a bank.  Just recently, Katy was asked to pitch for a project where the purpose was to create a set of lesson plans for ESL teachers and to come up with new and interesting ways to teach a vocabulary set, a specific grammar structure and to enable learners to be equipped in real-life conversational scenarios.

Fresh Brew is not just about creating what we think works – but very much about creating what you need, to drive business, towards YOUR business.

So – in the interest of sharing and caring –  here’s a lesson plan (LessonPlan_BookingAHoliday ) she drew up a few years ago for a specific class looking to develop their conversational ability in a particular situation.

Along with the lesson plan, she also created the comprehension test, recorded an audio interview and created the vocabulary test cards required.

If you have a specific content requirement – but just don’t have the time – get in touch. Whether it’s a white paper, or a blog, an invitation or a Press Release – we can help create that for you.

I bought my Likes and I liked it

No – I didn’t buy my likes or followers, but now that I have your attention – I’d like to share some Social insight with you. It may apply, or it may not – but hopefully – if you’re not already aware of the pitfalls of ImpSmeedFigs (Impressive Social Media Figures), then hopefully I serve as your beacon of light today.

So – today I saw this:


Buying Twitter Likes and Followers


I’m not in the business of naming and shaming, so I won’t.

But what I will do is point out the less-than-obvious.  Unless you’re someone remarkably well-known, or a startup brand taking the world by storm – the chances of having follower and like stats demonstrated above are, as my dad used to say, “not impossible, but highly unlikely”.

Allow me to give some background. This particular chap’s profile is just a website address, to an online clothing store. There is no location information. There is bio information. His profile or cover picture is nothing profound – and yet, he proudly boasts over 14,000 followers, and over 80,000 likes. Unlikely.

So – before you get completely stuck on analytics and influencers – and before you are led down the wrong path by people with impressive influence – remember: These stats can be completely inaccurate, fictitious and…. BOUGHT.  What you want to look for to identify a true influencer is:

  • Whether the account has a reputable cover image / profile picture
  • Whether the account has a website link – and if you click through to it, is it accurate?
  • Whether the biography in the profile has been professionally written and thus would warrant this type of following?
  • Whether the user’s tweeting behaviour (amount, tone, engagement) warrants this type of following (if their fame / infamy isn’t the cause of the following).  ie: 187 tweets are unlikely to yield that amount of popularity. That’s 79 new followers per tweet on average.  If his tweets are really as good as that, then I’ll hang up my hat today and take up a job in the local bakery.

Keep your eyes open.

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

Find the real influencers – become a real influencer – the old-fashioned way.  Through integrity and hard work.

Open Letter to all the self-employed superheroes out there. I salute you.

Almost 2 months ago, I left the corporate life. The corporate world of which I have been a part for over 13 years.  More than my entire school career.  So, pretty much  the biggest chunk of my life so far.

I took a risk and decided to do something brave. I decided to give it a go. With one hand in my husband’s I took a leap and decided to dedicate myself, fulltime, to Fresh Brew Marketing.  And here I am – still going.

Sitting at my desk, while pondering my short journey so far, in between Social Schedules and event plan layouts, I, for some strange reason, started scrolling through my friend list on Facebook and it dawned on me just how many there are of us who have taken the same leap of faith – and given it their best shot. Believed in a cause so much, that they dedicated their lives to it.

Some made it. Some are making it. Some didn’t quite get there.  But that wasn’t what caught my attention.  What had me pausing over my cup of Alta Rica, was the fact that we’d all done something so brave – which many people never, in all of their lifetimes, get to attempt. Who cares if we make it, or if we don’t? Who cares whether we become the Next Big Thing or not. What matters is that these people have stood up and said, “I believe in myself enough to put my life into my own hands, and give this a go”.

And so for a minute, I was filled with such pride to be among peers who have demonstrated bravery, determination and a sense of self-belief that has taken them to the other side of the employment table. For a minute, I was completely overwhelmed by the strength that we as an unintentionally-united group share, and I realised the power that I hold in my hand – to be able to share, spread the word, encourage and support – these brave men and women who are not making a fuss, but just getting on with life and doing what they have dedicated their lives, and some the lives of their family, to doing.

So – next time you see one of us share a blog on our Facebook wall, or a photograph of what we’re getting up to, or we ask you to “spread the word” – know that it’s not just something we say to sound hip and trendy. We genuinely want you to help us grow and develop. We genuinely want you to tell people about what we do. We genuinely want you to think about how YOU can help US in your own business.

And to those amazing customers and clients who have believed in the ability of Fresh Brew Marketing, and the ability of Katy Roberts – I am forever thankful.

So – in the spirit of sharing and spreading the word – next time one of your mates shares a post from their business blog – just click share.

To all you self-employed superheroes, my hat is suitably doffed.