Ads24 campaign brings together South African media players, futurists

By Marise van der Lith


Johannesburg, Gauteng, South African


While Ads24 was whipping up a campaign that would allow the world to see it as more than a media owner, the company quickly realised people were hungry for fresh ideas and insights. Media business owners don’t need more information about the world of media. They want helpful insight into the new business paradigm — what impact will technology, automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics have on the future of business?

As a highly creative company that prides itself on its pioneering energy in the South Africa media landscape, Ads24 wanted a campaign that was innovative and inspiring and would linger in people’s minds for long after the actual event.

We developed the “Food for Thought” campaign to give media industry professionals an opportunity to interact with top South African academic and technological futurists.

"Food for Thought" invited media professionals to take a break from everyday operations and meet with academics and futurists to discuss potential impact of technology, automation, robotics, and AI will have on our business.
"Food for Thought" invited media professionals to take a break from everyday operations and meet with academics and futurists to discuss potential impact of technology, automation, robotics, and AI will have on our business.

The campaign brought together editors and important people from the top South African media agencies and served up a one-of-a-kind multi-platform and multi-sensory experience that probed the future of business while offering clients an integrated communication campaign creating synergy across the following channels:

Digital: The tantalising introduction to the campaign included a digital invitation to an in-depth, interactive discussion on the latest technology, trends, socio-economic, and political forces shaping the world by well-respected experts in their fields, strategist and business leader Nick Binedell and futurist Pieter Geldenhuys.

Direct: This was followed by a physical invite that encouraged interaction of a different sort. A sweet treat was glued to a 3D cutout, which lifted opened up to reveal text below. The visual and sweet literally offered a taste of things to come.

Venue: The venue was an important consideration intended to inspire awareness. A decision was made to host the event at the luxurious The Venue Green Park in the heart of Sandton, Johannesberg’s wealthy business and residential district. It is a glaring contrast to Alexandra, an impoverished township mere kilometres away. The interior of the venue was decorated to highlight the contrasts between rich urban living versus the developing urban market, and rampant consumerism versus a sustainable future.

Cuisine: The idea was not only to stimulate ideas and insight, but also to challenge every sense. The menu reflected this with fresh and futuristic taste experiences: coffee and tea brewed on solar cookers; juice made from ugly fruits and vegetables served in recyclable, reusable glass bottles; and coffee-infused sausages for alternative caffeine kick.

Discussions: The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the discussions and ensuing debate. Renowned futurist, academic, and innovation expert Pieter Geldenhuys kicked off discussions with an exploration into the latest technology and argued that the only way to effectively predict the future is to create it yourself.

Next up was Professor Nick Binedell, founding dean of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, who looked into how current socio-economic and political forces are shaping the business of the future. This was followed by a Q&A session. All of the presentations were used to create video content, which was shared via press releases and Ads24’s Web site. 


The entire campaign was backed by a huge public relations push to amplify brand exposure via the media. We also cleverly encouraged participants to promote the event via social media: placards were made and delegates were asked to pick a single word to describe how they felt about the Food4Thought and share it via Twitter using the #Ads24FFT hashtag.

The results provided plenty of fodder for thought:

  • 60 top media executives attended.
  • Our top performing event tweet reached 20,000.
  • We experienced a 5% increase in Twitter followers and a 4.8% increase in social media engagement.

As an added bonus Ads24 achieved immeasurable gains in terms of brand building awareness and positioning.

About Marise van der Lith

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.