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#NewCampaign: You have got to be Mal

Mike Schalit, co-founder of Net#work BBDO, has introduced a new 'Wear it Forward' range of t-shirts and caps with Marlboro Originals through the agency's non-profit Mal Foundation.
#NewCampaign: You have got to be Mal

The name 'Mal' stands for the foundation's slogan: 'MakeALiving. MakeALife.' and is a play on the Afrikaans word for crazy, because, it believes, you've got to be a little bit nuts to make a difference through creativity. Schalit says the campaign is about a new way of thinking for SA and the world. "In a nutshell (and yes, there are a few nuts involved), Mal is a new age ideas collaborative on a mission to make a difference through creativity, based on the premise, "we 'MakeALiving' by what we get – we 'MakeALife' by what we give", we use our living (which is creativity) to make lives."

In so doing, Mal has collaborated with men's fashion brand Marlboro Originals to make a difference to the community through the garments it manufactures and sells. "Mobilising consumers (the haves) to wear it forward and help 'MakeALibrary' for the underprivileged communities around us (the have-nots)."

Proceeds go to 'MakeAnotherLibrary' in underprivileged schools (Mal is opening its 15th library, near Marlboro Originals’ factory in Salt River, in January). In addition to this, every garment is sourced and produced locally, creating jobs and enhancing lives at all levels across the community.

Schalit and the team have also started collaborating with several designers, brands and retailers to create more ranges for good.
Purpose lies at the heart of every single Mal collaboration. We make a living by what we get, yet we make a life by what we give. This is a blueprint, if you will, for privilege to engage with poverty, for the haves to empower have-nots, to liberate a new way of life whereby giving back is not simply a patronising unsustainable charity or CSI, but more effectively and positively a hand up rather than a handout.
Schalit tells us more about the campaign…

BizcommunityWhat was the brief, this time?

To build upon and try quantum leap, the t-shirt drive created last year. It was so successful that it has already culminated in partnering the launch early next year of a library at an underprivileged school near their factory in Salt River.

And so, (drumroll) please allow us to introduce: ‘Wear it Forward - Season 2’.

BizcommunityHow did you come up with this idea?
At the heart of this kind of thinking, is the notion of paying it forward, harnessing a better consciousness through the clothing you buy and wear.
So, hey, how about literally wearing your heart on your sleeve as we try to inculcate the spirit of wearing it forward, to push a more sustainable agenda for society; leveraging the kind of duality that South Africa and the world needs more than ever, whereby the privileged and connected enable and empower the underprivileged and disconnected.

Season 2’s theme plays provocatively and boldly off discriminatory societal and lifestyle issues in a fun, graphic, humorous manner, offering a new extended range of both caps and tees with loads of outrageously colourful, suitably mal colours and designs. There is also a striking window display at the flagship V&A Waterfront store.

#NewCampaign: You have got to be Mal

BizcommunityHow does it work?

Quite simply, channelled via a key part of our offering, the non-profit Mal Foundation, a meaningful portion of the income from every garment in the new range goes back into 'MakingAnotherLibrary'. So, hopefully, the compelling benefit for customers is: “Hey, I get a cool tee - and someone less fortunate also gets something cool, ultimately a library. Wow, now that is Mal!”

In essence, you get as good as you give, and vice versa, specifically designed for their flagship store in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, plus also Menlyn Park and Woodhill in Gauteng.

BizcommunityWhat is the objective?
Not just another commercial enterprise but adding soul and gees to society beyond just designing or selling cool stuff.
An act rather than an ad. A mobilisation call for a new generation of consumers.

The Mal track record speaks for itself. This duality model has fuelled the design and build of 14 libraries in township schools across South Africa and now with this project, the transformation has already begun in Salt River as proceeds drive the launch of the 15th, providing a strong case, in turn, for inviting more sales and interest.

Everything is packaged to give the consumer the feel-good factor, from the striking window display to the fun wear-it-forward stickers, plus a tailored shopping bag that reads: “I bought a tee - underprivileged school gets a library”.

BizcommunityWhat has the response been?

  • Phenomenal. In the first week, sales were double that of Season 1, which, as outlined above, was a huge success in its own right;
  • passing traffic at the V&A are literally stopped in their tracks by the boldly provocative window display, many doing a double take and a U-turn;
  • loyal Marlboro customers and destination shoppers have also been inspired to broaden their purchases to include this range; and
  • social media has triggered and stimulated great conversation, likes, comments and forwarding.

BizcommunitySo, what’s next?

Hold onto your hats (and your slinky shoulders) for Season 3 - an even more explosive and complete fashion range. Plus, a fully integrated digital shopping experience beyond to, which will broaden the appeal and nail more sales.

Mal as a new lifestyle concept store is also finalising some amazing new ranges:
  • Malhuis stretches from table runners to napkins to planters to a glowing array of children’s lamps called 'aniMalamps' that literally spread light in your home and the community.

  • Malwear includes art earrings, totes, beach bags, t-shirts, caps, etc.

  • MMMal is currently experimenting with a range of 'mmmouth-watering' local craft foods like 'Chocs4Good', 'Mmmayonaise', 'MakeALager' craft beer and the ultimate kickback, 'Muchos Gracias' karoo tequila.
We are also now be exhibiting and selling at the popular Oranjezicht Farmers Market in Grainger Bay, V&A, on the odd weekend from 15/16 December.

With a big shout-out challenge and mobilising call to like-minded creative entrepreneurs from street artists to designers to craftspeople to musos to architects to retailers to brands to NGOs to anyone who feels the vibe and wants to collab with Mal to make a difference through creativity. The sky is the limit. How mal do you wanna be?

You can get Mal Foundation’s ‘Wear it Forward’ range at Marlboro Originals stores at the V&A Waterfront, Menlyn Park and Woodlands, as well as at Mal Foundation’s stand at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay. Follow Mal on Facebook and Instagram.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram

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