Media Moves: Xtend launches AI ad-engine in SA, new MD for Meta Media’s Cape Town office, SANEF mourns death of two journalists | #daitngscams | #lovescams

The Media Online’s weekly round up of people, account and business moves in media.

This week’s BIG move: Xtend celebrates South African launch of AI ad-engine with ecommerce partners 

Xtend, a provider of futuristic marketing technologies, has announced the launch of a world-class AI-first retargeting engine designed to enhance the reach, conversion rates and customer engagement capabilities of leading ecommerce organisations.

Built on a large-scale AI model, Xtend provides an algorithm that makes predictions based on typical user profiles instead of usual marketing funnels and allows organisations to anticipate user preferences and brand engagements and reimagine the user journey and experiences. The solution is designed to help companies overcome challenges around cart abandonment, tightening privacy regulations and lowering marketing budgets by streamlining the user process and creating engagement funnels that keep users within the ecosystem.

“We are excited to debut amid a new AI generation, given every part of our engine and workflow is heavily integrated with AI, bringing efficiencies onto the table,” said Karam Malhotra, CEO of Xtend.

People moves

Meta Media welcomes new managing director for its Cape Town office

Meta Media, a dynamic full-service media agency, has announced the appointment of Andrea Leeuwner as managing director for its Cape Town office.

Leeuwner brings over 20 years of experience in the media and advertising industry, having worked in various roles and disciplines across different agencies and categories. She has a proven track record of delivering strategic and innovative solutions to clients, as well as leading and developing teams.

“I am delighted to join Meta Media, a young agency with incredible potential. The agency prides itself on being agile, adaptive, and accountable, and on delivering measurable results for its clients and I am excited to be part of this amazing team,” said Leeuwner.

Leeuwner will be working closely with Meta Media’s group managing director, Kagiso Musi. “Andrea is a highly respected media professional with decades of experience in this industry. We are excited to have her onboard to contribute to the agency’s growth and success,” Musi said.

Juliette Verhoog promoted to account director at Tribeca

Juliette Verhoog has been promoted to account director at Tribeca Public Relations (Tribeca), having joined the agency in September 2019. Her promotion recognises her commitment to maintaining a standard of excellence in client service, as well as exemplary team management over the last three years, particularly in her mentorship her team members.

She has provided strategic consultancy to some of Tribeca’s largest accounts, including LEGO™ South Africa and Logitech, conceptualising and executing award-winning campaigns and earning international recognition and awards for her clients.

“Juliette’s promotion is so well deserved. She has demonstrated excellent leadership qualities through her dedication to client service and experience, her patience and empathy towards her team and colleagues, and the positive energy that she brings to the agency. We look forward to watching Juliette excel in her new role,” says Davina Malan, managing partner at Tribeca.

Point Group Appoints Dermot Latimer as CEO, Paving the Way for Unprecedented Growth

Point Group, a marketing solutions provider across Africa and the Middle East, has announced the appointment of Dermot Latimer as its new CEO, effective 1 April 2023.

With Point Group’s remarkable growth journey expanding beyond print management to encompass complex digital solutions and creative campaigns, Latimer’s appointment as CEO marks a strategic milestone for the company.

In 2014, Latimer founded the Iconic Collective business; by 2020, it was acquired by the Point Group. Since then, Latimer has spearheaded the revitalisation of the company’s creative and digital divisions, generating sustainable revenue streams and opening doors to new value-proposition opportunities with traditional print management clients.

Latimer aims to lead Point Group through unprecedented growth in his new role, leveraging the organisation’s unrivalled expertise and unique marketing investment partner solutions.

Film critic celebrates 10 Years of Talking Movies on Fine Music Radio

As of last week, Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling has been resident movie critic and presenter of Talking Movies at Fine Music Radio for 10 years running since May 2013, having broadcast over 500 consecutive episodes of the weekly film review programme without fail. A much-loved film radio feature, which regular listeners have described as “erudite”, “succinct” as well as “fresh and spontaneous”, it’s been an on-going passion project for Spling.

Being one of the only dedicated movie review radio programmes in South Africa, Spling says it has been his mission to enrich the understanding of cinema and expand his audience’s love for the art form”. Aiming to establish a conversational tone to keep his reviews accessible and relatable without downplaying the writing, Spling adds that he’s “tried to keep listeners informed, entertained and inspired”.

The 10-year anniversary and 500+ consecutive weekly episodes milestone is a significant achievement, having not missed a single week’s broadcast on arts and culture hub, Fine Music Radio. Described as a “national treasure”, “our generation’s Barry Ronge” and “South Africa’s answer to Roger Ebert”, Spling realises he has a responsibility not only to his readers and listeners, but to empowering the local film industry.

A significant milestone achievement on his bucket list, Spling has also recently crossed off another item having published a book called ‘The Essence of Dreams: An Anthology of Film Reviews’.

SANEF mourns the death of stalwart journalist Enoch Duma and community Cape Town Daily TV journalist, Athule Mazula

Athule Mazula

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is saddened to learn of the deaths of stalwart journalist and anti-apartheid activist Enoch Duma (88) on Thursday after a long illness, and Athule Mazula, a young community media journalist working on Cape Town TV’s Cape Town Daily news show.

Veteran journalist, Ike Segola, described Duma as “a stalwart of black journalism” in this country. He said Duma was among a band of trailblazing black journalists of the bygone years who truly put a stamp on the ability of black newsmen – who operated under overwhelming odds.

“Duma can be remembered as one of the pioneers in the former The World and The Golden City Post. He was among the first black journalists to work for the newly launched Rand Daily Mail Extra and later The Sunday Times Extra editions. His reports always featured prominently in these papers,” said Segola.

SANEF is also distraught to hear of the passing on of young community media journalist, Athule Mazula, at the age of 32. According to her sister Zintle, she was taken to a hospital complaining about stomach pain. “On Monday they took her to Tygerberg hospital, she passed away on Wednesday.”

“She was a mother to us as we grew up without parents, she was a hard worker,” said Zintle.

Siphiwo Nkonki, news manager for Cape Town Daily said: “The Cape Town Daily news team and Cape Town TV are devastated by the loss of someone so young with so much life and living ahead of her. May her soul rest in peace.”

SANEF sends condolences to the families and colleagues of both journalists. Their deaths are a great loss to the media fraternity and will be sorely missed.

Business moves

 FCB Africa welcomes back Bonitas Medical Fund as a valued client

FCB Africa has confirmed an account win with Bonitas Medical Fund, a leader in the medical scheme sector in South Africa. This win marks a significant milestone for FCB Africa, as it will showcases the agency’s expertise in the health category.

“We are excited to welcome back Bonitas into the business. Re-establishing this partnership will redefine how marketing can create a continuous performance for clients within the health segment and keep the brand ‘top of mind’ for consumers. Bonitas’ return to FCB reiterates our position as business that strives to deliver timeless and timely brand communication solutions that not only people but brands love.  Beyond this, we are excited and look forward to the prospect of working closely with Bonitas as a client under FCB, while also pulling on the strategic expertise in creating impactful work,” said Reagen Kok, acting MD at FCB Africa.

Over the past few months, FCB Africa has remained resilient through changing market dynamics, by delivering value for its clients.

Celebrating mothers of influence in the first-ever Mamandla publication

Embrace, the Movement for Mothers launches its first publication in celebration of Mother’s Day.

The Power Trip tells the stories of mothers of influence and highlights the ongoing work of Embrace Mamandla fellows and their impact beyond the fellowship community. Embrace will launch the publication at the end of May, which the movement has christened the ‘Month of Moms’.

Mamandla fellows are Embrace ambassadors and represent mothers’ interests within their communities.

The fellowship is a year-long programme and the only one of its kind that identifies, develops, and provides networking opportunities for mothers and mother-supporters from all walks of life, who are committed to advancing the rights of mothers and improving support for this important, yet undervalued, demographic.

“Most of us would agree that Mother’s Day is essentially a commercial holiday – an opportunity for supermarkets to up the price on slippers, chocolates, and flowers, but the world gives mothers this month and we want to make it count. So, we’ll be honouring mothers, as well as motherhood, and the influence of mothers in society, but more than that, we’re taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the bigger issues and concerns of mothers. We’re taking all the platforms we’re given to talk about the need for better wrap-around support, obstetric violence in our healthcare system, the need for improved social protection for mothers and pregnant women, practical breastfeeding support, as well as maternal mental health. We’re working towards transformational change for mothers in South Africa and we want South Africans to partner with us to amplify this message,” said movement leader, Julie Mentor.

Hook, Line & Sinker: The PR Agency That Defied the Pandemic and Emerged as a Global Player in Just Five Years

In the midst of a global pandemic that caused economic turmoil and business closures, PR agency Hook, Line & Sinker (HLS) has successfully managed to defy the odds and become a rising star in the media and marketing industry. After formally registering in 2019, the company turned Covid-disruption into a business opportunity and secured local and international clients, established global agency alliances, quadrupled clients and staff, and has managed to scoop a couple of industry awards along the way.

HLS was only registered three years ago, and the last 36-months have been challenging for both HLS and the PR industry, says Hunter. He has learnt that while the exciting world of tech and digital was an integral component to the agency’s success journey, brands must understand that it creates a divide and a noise that only highly specialised and targeted campaigns can bridge. “For HLS, this is done through delivering a great ‘sinker’ which is what keeps us innovating and adapting to the challenges that digital presents.”

In addition to the agency’s unique name, signature yellow branding, and strong employee culture, Hunter explains that the exponential five-year growth is attributed to three factors:

  • Global brands think local services are lekker
  • Tech client uptick
  • Growth driven by digital comms

The Video Cartel turns 10 & launches post-production suite

The Video Cartel has been shooting, producing and editing video, TV commercials, documentaries, music videos, brand stories, experiential installations and digital experiences for a decade. In that time (along with winning multiple awards) they’ve seen video go from nice-to-have to imperative.

“When we started, the film industry had been turned on its head,” said founder and creative director Peter Verster-Cohen. “There was a noticeable shift from the prescribed template of massive crews, slow-moving sets and unwieldy cameras. Anyone who could operate a hand-held device was now out there shooting content. It seemed a good idea to form a collective hub for some of the country’s finest videographers, directors and editors, a community of talent. At the time video was a smaller media add-on to an already formulated social media campaign. That’s all changed. Now it leads.”

Rising demand for The Video Cartel’s services sees them celebrating their 10th anniversary with the launch of a new post-production suite and in-house editor.

“Bringing post-production in-house was a crucial step for us. This is the phase of the job to really craft the work and make magic. We’ve always wanted our headquarters to be a hub for creativity. Having clients and creative teams spending time together, in our space, is why we started the business in the first place,” said Verster-Cohen. Peter.

Carol Groenwald will be senior editor and head up the Post Studio, which services both Video Cartel work as well as outside produced work.

AIB launches new artificial intelligence vertical for members

 The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB), an organisation representing broadcasters worldwide, has launched a ground-breaking working group dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) in TV and radio newsrooms across the globe.

The AIB has long been at the forefront of fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing within the broadcasting industry, and the creation of this specialised group marks another significant step in its commitment to empowering its member companies with the latest technological advancements. With AI rapidly transforming the media landscape, the AIB recognises the urgent need for broadcasters to comprehend and effectively harness the power of AI in newsrooms to deliver high-quality journalism and enhance audience engagement.

Key areas of focus for the working group will include:

  • AI-driven content generation
  • Audience analytics and personalisation
  • Fact-checking and misinformation
  • Ethical considerations

AFPS to launch a ground-breaking platform to combat fraud

Traditionally, South Africa has been a popular country among fraudsters looking for every opportunity to try and find their next victim. Statistics from the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) point out that there was a 600% increase in incidents reported by their members in 2022 when compared to 2018.

“The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), in its role as the South African custodian of fraud prevention, has decided to take decisive action to tackle the problem that scams are posing to our economy,” said Nazia Karrim, head of product development at the SAFPS. “We need to establish a proactive approach to combatting fraud and scams.”

Karrim said the SAFPS is developing a product called Yima. Once launched, the product’s website will be a one-stop-shop for South Africans to report scams, secure their identity, and scan any website for vulnerabilities related to scams.

 Making moves

IMM Graduate School to host BRICS webinar

The IMM Graduate School’s Research Hub will be hosting a webinar panel discussion on the opportunities for business in the BRICS and African Continental Free Trade Area, on Africa Day, 2023. This webinar panel discussion will reflect on South Africa’s chairing of BRICS and its hosting of the 15th Summit under the theme from 22 to 24 August 2023.

With the BRICS Summit in mind (which takes place against the backdrop of significant patterns of change in the global economy and emerging patterns of conflict), the webinar panel will focus on key global economic, market and geopolitical dynamics impacting on the outlook of both developed and developing economies.

The webinar panel will discuss the progress the African Union has made with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, as well as the successes of the BRICS – looking back at the past 15 summits.

The webinar panel will interrogate what this means for the BRICS, and what opportunities, if any, it holds for the BRICS, South African business and academic inquiry at the IMM Graduate School.

  • Date: Thursday, 25 May, 2023
  • Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm
  • Venue: Virtual (to be streamed live via the IMM Graduate School LinkedIn page)

Speakers inclue:

  • Dr Petrus de Kock – Moderator
  • Ms Busi Mabuza – Chair, BRICS Business Council and Industrial Development Corporation
  • Dr JJ Tabane – Broadcaster, political analyst and Professor at University of South Africa
  • Adm Robert Higgs (ret. SA Navy)
  • Ms Helen McIntee – President, African Marketing Confederation
  • Mr Elvin Harris – Chairperson: Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (South Africa).

Google Celebrates Africa Day with Immersive Art, African Music and Stories.

As Africa gears up for Africa Day, an event that marks the founding of the African Union and celebrates the continent’s quest for unity, Google is unveiling a range of programmes and activities to celebrate Africa’s diverse cultural heritage and provide opportunities for people all over the world to experience and engage with the creativity and richness of Africa.

Among the programmes is the addition of six new pocket galleries on Google Arts & Culture, curated by esteemed partners from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, these pocket galleries offer an immersive experience of virtual exhibitions, providing a 360-degree view of artworks and artefacts, effectively allowing people to step into the heart of Africa’s cultural scene from wherever they are.

In previous years, YouTube Music has held the Africa Day Concert, showcasing present and next-generation African music talents. This year, YouTube Music will unveil an AfricaDay playlist, featuring popular and trending songs from various African artists. This initiative will also involve the public, who will have the opportunity to submit their favourite African songs via YouTube Shorts for a chance for it to potentially feature on the playlist.

The celebrations will also highlight African storytelling traditions through the “Stories and Storytellers of Africa” initiative on YouTube.

Speaking on these initiatives, Country Director for South Africa, Alistair Mokoena said, “Africa Day is a celebration of progress, unity, and the vibrant cultures that define the continent. We are excited that we can amplify these stories and experiences on our platforms. From exploring our rich artistic heritage through Google Arts & Culture, to dancing along to the #CelebrateAfrica playlist on YouTube Music, and engaging with compelling narratives on YouTube, we are happy to share and celebrate Africa’s culture with the world.”




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