Behind the Selfie Profile South Africa

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#BehindtheSelfie with... Doug De Villiers, leader of Deloitte Africa's advertising portfolio

This week, we go behind the selfie with professor Doug De Villiers, Deloitte Consulting's Africa advertising, marketing and commerce leader, as well as #NedbankIMC2020 speaker.
De Villiers and daughter, Hayley.
De Villiers and daughter, Hayley.

1. Where do you live, work and play?

Live: Bryanston.
Work: Woodmead/Cape Town/New York.
Play: Dullstroom/anywhere in the bush/South Coast/San Francisco…

2. What’s your claim to fame?

I built Africa’s leading brand consultancy, and am now building one of the world’s fastest-growing agile integrated marketing agencies within Deloitte Digital in Africa.

3. Describe your career so far.

Not boring! I have 30 years’ international marketing experience and have lived in Spain, Sri Lanka and Switzerland, but worked in well over 30 countries worldwide.
I also have 10 years of pro-bono marketing academia. I am an Associate Professor of Practice at JBS, have lectured as a “Visiting Prof” at Strathmore Business School, have run panels at Harvard Business School’s Africa week and once joined Trevor Manuel at Oxford Said Business School.
I also sit on the board of the New York-based International Trademark Association, and co-chair the special taskforce on brand valuation – it’s an amazing organisation and great to be promoting the brand narrative beyond marketing.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

Being around a fire-pit in the bush with my family, playing guitar in (arguably) SA’s finest blues rock band – Bunk Girls Motor Cycle Club (OK, so not everyone/anybody thinks we’re the finest, but we do!), and watching my three kids growing up into amazing young adults.

5. What do you love about your industry?

The value created through the alchemy of logic and magic.

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

I have an early start of 6:30am pretty much every day, and crush 50% of my email whilst in Uber – I use Uber pretty much every day, and have done for two years now.

This is followed by a review of active client projects, planning discussions with various team members for new client projects, multi-disciplinary team sessions for practice building and new methodologies’ asset creation).

This involves lots and lots of flying across SA, Africa and the globe. Ideally I’m home by 6pm to spend some time with family, cook and play a little guitar/piano/drums with my kids.

7. What are the tools of your trade?

Really smart passionate people!

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

It’s a split between digital data-capable consulting firms and small creative hot-shops.

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

  • Lack of true digital understanding beyond “digital campaigns”.
  • The massive waste of money as a result of the perpetuation by traditional advertising agencies of big mass-media campaigns that no-one pays attention to, believes or acts upon.
  • This also results in the marketing profession not being taken seriously by business leadership, due to the limited ROI measurement capability.

10. What are you working on right now?
The future of marketing – agile, integrated, impactful and immediate.

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

Hey, I work for the world’s leading consultancy, so no sentence is complete without including leverage/optimise.

My personal favourite catchphrase describes the traditional agency modus operandi, of “spray and pray”.

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

Every moment of every waking day. Deloitte is simply the finest pool of innovation, so I am surrounded all day by a multitude of idea drivers.

Although 24-hour flights to San Francisco do provide some quality quiet time to consolidate ideas.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

I’m a mean acoustic guitarist and master of the pizza oven!

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


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

About a million photographs, mobile numbers for one Baroness, two Sirs, one President (no, not him…), pretty much every business leader in Africa, and a couple of SA’s leading blues musicians.

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

Ensure that you have a basic but good understanding of business in general. This gives you the right to be as strategic and/or creative as possible.

Simple as that. Follow De Villiers on LinkedIn and Twitter; follow Deloitte SA on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; and follow the Nedbank IMC on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the Nedbank IMC press office for the latest updates. The Nedbank IMC Conference 2020 takes place on 19 March at The Galleria, Sandton. Click here to book your ticket!

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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