Ogilvy and SAB Celebrate 50 years of Friendship

JOHANNESBURG, September 20, 2011 – Ogilvy and the South African Breweries (SAB) today celebrate 50 years of friendship – a true rarity in today’s transient business world. This friendship, which started in the early 1960s, has evolved into one of the most successful client/agency relationships in South Africa.

As Ogilvy South Africa’s CEO, Nunu Ntshingila, puts it: “If there was an Olympic category for long-term business relationships, the 50 year engagement between SAB and Ogilvy would always be in medal contention.”

SAB first began working with VZ, the predecessor to Ogilvy, in 1961. In 1984, VZ merged with Rightford Searle-Tripp and Makin, which later went on to become Ogilvy South Africa.

Over the years, Ogilvy and SAB have worked together on a range of iconic brands, including Castle Lager, Carling Black Label, and Castle Lite.  During their 50 years together, Ogilvy has worked on more than 25 SAB brands across the African continent. Many of South Africa’s most famous brands, and most iconic and memorable campaigns, have been as a result of this enduring partnership.

SAB chairman and MD, Norman Adami, says Ogilvy has helped SAB to build many celebrated brands over the years and shared a wealth of successes. “As rich as our shared history may be, I believe the most important days of our relationship are ahead of us. We have substantially increased our marketing support of brands since 2009, and our key brands have asserted themselves with increasing relevance and excitement during this period.

“We believe that the best marketing companies and the best agencies prove their greatness by showing the creativity and resolve required to keep their biggest brands growing year after year. In the coming weeks and months, we are going to write some of the most impressive chapters in the history of the partnership of SAB and Ogilvy.”

Beer consumption and the beer category have reflected the significant societal transformation that South Africa has undergone over the last 50 years. SAB and Ogilvy have been a part of this transformation throughout their time together: sometimes following, and sometimes leading society’s perceptions on South Africa’s changing social landscape.

From friends gathered at the Rand Show to commemorate Charles Glass in 1978, to a group of South Africans celebrating their heritage on the rooftop of a New York skyscraper in 1998, to an open-armed welcome for tourists travelling to South Africa for the Soccer World Cup in 2010 – the iconic ads have reflected the best of South Africa and South Africans for five decades.

“We believe that trusting in great ideas and creativity can be the cornerstone of a successful business, and there is no better example of this than SAB,” continues Ntshingila. “But to truly stand the test of time requires more than good strategy and inventiveness. It is about trust and it is about the space that is created for genuine dialogue. Building valuable brands requires frequent and no-holds barred communication. This is only possible in an environment where there is history, trust and familiarity.” 

In every sense, SAB and Ogilvy can genuinely claim to have a partnership that has stood the test of time. 

Notes to editors
To commemorate the last five decades, Ogilvy presented SAB with a gift in the form of an advertisement that looks back over the companies’ shared history, celebrating some of the most iconic work that the partnership has created together. The commercial will be screened on a selection of DStv channels for the general public on both the night of the celebration, and in the days following it. You can see it here: http://vimeo.com/29361575.

Follow us on @OgilvyJoburg and @OgilvyCT or visit www.ogilvy.co.za. To keep abreast on comments and happenings, follow the #SABOgilvy50 hashtag on Twitter.

For further queries, contact SAB head of media and communications, Robyn Chalmers, on (011) 881 8679 or 082 924 2267 or Ogilvy PR’s Maja Rode on 011 709 9609

Contact: Lauren Woolf
Date: September 20, 2011
Office: Johannesburg