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#BehindtheSelfie with... Nkanyezi Masango

This week, we go behind the selfie with Nkanyezi Masango, creative director at King James Group.
Caption: Much like the interview with Leigh, #nofilter…
Caption: Much like the interview with Leigh, #nofilter…

1. Where do you live, work and play?

I live in Cape Town, work at King James and play on the various mountain trails of this city – mostly Signal Hill.

2. What’s your claim to fame?

Not sure, but my goal is to make work that is famous, and to make the young people I work with more famous than I’ll ever be.

3. Describe your career so far.

It’s been an adventure so far. I started out in Joburg, then had a four-year stint in Hong Kong, now here I am in Cape Town – the best of all three. It’s no wonder the bulk of my career has been spent here.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

Watching Stephen Colbert on YouTube. Sunday breakfast at Kleinsky's – shout out to Joel and Adam – and going to Gugulethu to get inspired by the kids I work with at Blackboard.

5. What do you love about your industry?

We solve problems. That’s the essence of our industry. Our job is to provide creative solutions for our clients’ business problems, sometimes for the environment and our society.

The Sanlam ‘2-Minute Shower’ campaign by my colleagues is a classic example of that.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

The only consistent part of the day is a black Americano in the morning. The rest is unpredictable.

7. What are the tools of your trade?

A blank A5 sheet of paper and pencil.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

There are organisations that have mastered the business side of advertising and some that have mastered the creative side. The ones who are getting it right are those who excel at both, instead of compromising one for the other. It’s such a fine balance, but that’s what makes an agency great. There are very few companies like that; King James is one of them.

On the other end of the scale, there’s Mukondi and Nkgabiseng at Think. Two young trailblazers who are running a creative business. Symbolically, they inspire young women to be bold go-getters. I salute them for that.

9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

I think the industry needs to catch up with the pace of culture. The way we look at market segments and the tools we use to describe them are old-fashioned. That’s why a lot of ads look the same. Especially the ones targeting the so-called ‘emerging market’.

10. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a variety of exciting campaigns, which I can’t talk about yet. I’m also working on a library of design and advertising annuals at Intshukumo Secondary School, with the help of

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

'Content' is big right now. Everyone is dropping that word in every ad talk. 'Out of home' has replaced the good old 'billboard', even when people are actually just talking about billboards. I still like to call an ad an ad instead of a 'film'.

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

It used to be the shower. But since the drought arrived, I have to rely on my ideas coming to me when I’m trail running.

13. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

I’m more on the technophile side, but I like to mix it up. For instance, I love analogue watches more than an iWatch.

Not everything has to have Bluetooth or connect to Twitter.

14. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

Memes from my friend, Lebogang.

15. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Rejection is part of the creative game. Embrace it. If someone says your idea sucks or your portfolio is shocking, don’t let it get you down. Even at the highest level, you’re going to encounter rejection. So always get back up and try again.

Simple as that. Click here for more on the King James Group, here for more on Masango’s Blackboard initiative and follow these social media channels for the latest updates: Masango on Twitter | King James Group on Twitter | Masango on Instagram | King James Group on Instagram | Blackboard on Instagram | Masango on Facebook | King James Group on Facebook | Blackboard on Facebook

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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