All posts in News

Connecting champions with Carling Black Label

Brand specialist agency Mann Made Media and South Africa’s most awarded beer, Carling Black Label, joined forces with South African men to form a team of champions through an interactive Carling Black Label taste challenge activations campaign that broke all targets and reached almost 20 000 consumers.

Building up to the third annual Carling Black Label Cup clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on match day, the activation mechanic allowed South African sports fanatics to represent their favourite team and compete against one another in successfully identifying the award-winning champion beer in a blind taste test at taverns across the country.

“The Carling Black Label Cup leverages a unique insight of fans wanting to ‘be the coach’ and we are glad to have empowered them and given them a voice for the game of soccer. The approach from Mann Made Media to driving engagement at the moment of truth was unbelievable,” said SAB’s Carling Black Label General Manager, Vijay Govindsamy.

Mann Made Media led 175 activations nationwide in May, June and July 2013, reaching almost 20 000 people through a unique approach involving an online app offering live reporting features – with each team being provided an iPad to facilitate the ability to login and keep track of the scores at any time and from any location.

“The Carling Cup is the one of the most innovative and unique campaigns in South Africa and we were so proud to be a part of it and work with South Africa’s best-tasting and most loved beer brand, Carling Black Label,” said Mann Made Media executive producer, Mic Mann.

“The synergy between a champion brand team and an agency with the creative edge and logistical on-the-ground experience led us to a hugely successful result.”

Breaking boundaries with Barloworld

Brand experience agency Mann Made Media teamed up with Barloworld to create a visual smorgasbord of mirrored surfaces and a deconstructed cube theme for the company’s annual Global Leadership Conference to shift perspectives in its senior managers.

“Inspire continuous innovation and creative thinking in senior management.” It may seem a broad brief, but coming from an established and respected company like Barloworld for its annual Global Leadership Conference, it got the Mann Made engines revving.
It couldn’t be just another conference, it had to jump out and make these global leaders want to push their personal and business boundaries and extend the company’s competitive advantage.”Most of the people working at Barloworld have been there for their entire careers. There is a real sense of family and team spirit in the business that ironically has very separate business operating units. It was a privilege to see first hand. The culture at Barloworld is alive and kicking,” says Mann Made Media’s managing director, Shayne Mann.Deconstructing the conference’s existing cube logo by breaking it apart and experimenting with its dimensions – as a sign of changing perspectives – was the first step in the process.

Neuroscience, genetic algorithms, flocking, the systems theory, emergence, the Fibonacci sequence and optical illusions formed the foundation of the cube. An online teaser campaign explored the six-sided cube and the Fibonacci sequence’s lessons on potential for growth, as well as the link between logistics and the evolving patterns in nature.

Registration was completed on a multi-platform mobile app that could be loaded onto delegates’ smart phones and tablets in sticking to the high-tech theme.

Mirrored surfaces, a floating cube over the seating area and a custom-built projection mapping surface that showed off the deconstructed cube were worked into the venue design to make the delegates feel they were at the centre of this futuristic landscape. Innovative videos, presentations and even stick fighters took the exploded cube even further.

Videos illustrating how shark skin was the muse for the design for a new anti-bacterial surfaces for medical applications, how cities have been designed like mangrove swamps to counteract rising sea levels and how oil pipeline routes optimised by mimicking the route-finding behaviour of ants worked into the brief to expand the imagination of the delegates by moving away from formulaic thinking.

Run-of-the-mill Powerpoint presentations were scrapped and reconfigured to fit the theme and stick fighters performed a dance of intersecting planes of light, with shadow pieces to play tricks with perspective.

The tea and lunch break areas also boasted interactive “infinity box” installations that used internal mirrors to reflect kaleidoscopic graphics that created an optical illusion of a box that was bigger on the inside than the outside. It was custom-built and also acted as a remote-controlled photo booth that generated pictures for delegates to take home.

With the thread of the cube woven through the conference from start to finish, the result was an event that delivered a shift in perspective.

“[Last] year Barloworld hosted our most successful global leaders conference to date, thanks to the outstanding professionalism of the Mann Made team. From the pitch process, to pre-event planning to the actual execution, the experience was smooth and seamless. I rate the team very highly and give them a 10/10 for service,” says Barloworld communications and marketing manager, Thirona Maharaj.

Mann Made Media, inspired by The Lunchbox Fund

topaz“There are millions of pictures of food shared on the internet everyday,” says South African-born Topaz Page-Green, founder of non-profit organisation The Lunchbox Fund, which is committed to feeding thousands of orphaned and vulnerable school children in townships and rural areas around South Africa.

She is using this statistic to leverage support for the organisation’s newly launched Feedie app that allows its users to become “humanitarian foodies” by turning photos of the meals they are eating into real lunches for children who desperately need it through partner restaurants.

Brand experience agency Mann Made Media has thrown its weight behind the campaign in support of the good work Topaz and her Lunchbox Fund team do at nine schools in Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape after she visited the company’s office in September.

Her visit formed the first part of an “Inspiration at work” series started by Mann Made Media management to help employees find deeper meaning in their own jobs and inspiration through the work other people are doing to uplift communities.

“Topaz is a breath of fresh air. She is the real deal. After spending ten minutes with her, you quickly realise that you are with somebody really special. The work she is doing is beyond inspiring and we feel proud to be associated with her in any way we can,” says managing director, Shayne Mann.

Topaz’s visit certainly made an impact. “Wanting to help our communities and making it happen without thinking twice about it was what inspired me most,” says head of events for Mann Made, Adele Engelbrecht.

“I would love to help within communities.”

The provinces the Lunchbox Fund currently assists are Gauteng, Western Cape, and Limpopo and Eastern Cape, with the organization looking to expand in Kwa Zulu Natal early next year.

Started in 2005 as a split-second decision based on Topaz’s personal reaction to the hunger she saw in schools on a township visit with an old school teacher just prior to her return to New York, she vowed to make a difference.

Expecting an endless struggle to raise the first $5 000 necessary to get the organisation on its feet, she was surprised to find she beat this target by raising over $6 000 after standing up in front of a group of strangers in a class she was taking.

The Lunchbox Fund has grown exponentially since then, but Topaz says she is no stranger to obstacles and “banging [her] head against barriers”. It’s been a long road pitted with potholes, and there are many miles to cover and mountains to traverse before the 4 million+ students unreached by South African government nutrition programs are helped, but the Fund has certainly made strides with the 240 000 meals it currently provides annually.

Under the motto “feed a child, nourish a mind”, The Lunchbox Fund works with a school-based support team, school principals, small local businesses and entrepreneurs to provide these students with healthy meals consisting of protein-rich peanut butter sandwiches and a piece of fruit or soups and vegetable-based stews or enriched porridge with soya mince that enhances brain activity and academic performance.

The diet the children receive is nutritionally balanced and designed to get optimal results. “The kids eat what I eat, it’s healthy and I don’t believe in any artificial ingredients,” she says.

The Lunchbox Fund also works on a 90:10 total expense ratio – 90% of incoming funds go towards feeding kids, and 10% go to admin costs – which very few non-profit organisations can boast.

What also sets The Lunchbox Fund apart is its progressive Feedie app, which was developed pro bono by Tribal Worldwide and Media Monks,  and released a few months ago with renowned chefs Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver and South African Peter Templehoff as spokesmen.

This is how it works: a restaurant signs up as a partner of The Lunchbox Fund. It currently costs an annual donation of $500 to sign up (R2500 in South Africa) and that money is credited to the restaurant’s account. Each time a customer eats at a participating Feedie restaurant and simply takes a photo of their meal and shares the photo on the app, The Lunchbox Fund feeds a child in South Africa and 25cents (R2.50) is deducted from the restaurant’s balance. Analytics on a restaurant’s profile, as well as the user’s profile show how many meals have been shared.

A hundred percent of all funds raised by Feedie feed school children.  You take a photo, you feed a child.

Feedie is available worldwide, with restaurants signed up across the USA, South Africa, and presence developing in Europe as well.  Feedie is a very special concept. “It’s not geo-politically limited,” she says. “It doesn’t take energy, it gives energy.”

This could also be why it counts some famous names like Elton John, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, Charlize Theron and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu among its patrons and supporters.


Feeding a school child The Lunchbox Fund way – the facts right now:

  • R2.50 can feed a child for a day
  • R100 can feed a child for a month
  • R1 200 can feed a child for a school year
  • R50 000 will provide tools and equipment required to implement an organic garden into a school
  • R75 000 will provide tools and equipment required to implement a kitchen into three schools
  • R100 000 can sponsor a school for an academic year

Creatively tackling alcohol abuse

In partnership with SAB, brand experience agency Mann Made Media is tackling a pressing issue facing our society today – alcohol abuse – using a creative combination of multimedia and industrial theatre.

With the primary goal of educating South Africa’s tavern owners about the impact of alcohol abuse, and their power to make a positive impact, Mann Made Media developed compelling, real-world characters to illustrate the pivotal role that taverners play in the every day lives of their customers.These colourful characters were the centrepiece of the SAB Responsible Trader Mass Education Programme, which embraced the use of industrial theatre to spread its message. Examples of characters were S’bu (the ‘main man’) a popular and aspirational character with business savvy, and Ma Miriam – his friendly competitor from around the corner. These personalities were already familiar to SAB audiences, as they had been successfully used in previous communications – providing a solid foundation from which to enhance engagement.

“The aim of this roadshow was to help SAB lead the fight against alcohol abuse and create awareness about the harm caused by alcohol abuse and the role of the trader in changing community behaviours,” explains Mic Mann, executive producer at Mann Made Media.

“By using a contemporary theatrical style of storytelling, we were able to simultaneously entertain and educate influential community leaders across the country and foster more responsible attitudes towards alcohol use,” adds Nick Warren, creative director at Mann Made Media. “Every aspect of the roadshow was tailored to reflect the atmosphere and social dynamics of local taverns and included a series of highly interactive game show sessions that rewarded traders for their participation.”

The innovative programme proved to be hugely popular, engaging audiences and reaching around 16 500 SAB customer partners during the campaign. “This programme has been an important aspect in the journey towards the sustainable development of our customer base. The industrial theatre format was the best way to communicate such emotive subject matter. We were ecstatic that our customers realized the power they have through this programme. They can be a positive force in our communities. We have been excited at how it has impacted their day to day actions,” added Hepsy Mkhungo – head of Enterprise Development and Community Partnerships at SAB.

The team also created a vivid documentary that combined all the creative elements, and told the story of the SAB Responsible Trader campaign in a series of edits of varying lengths. The video incorporated emotive video inserts shot in high quality documentary style – which gave voice to the experiences, the attitudes, and the aspirations of real taverners and their customers.

In order to keep the message fresh and top of mind following the campaign, Mann Made Media created a series of posters and a comic book that featured the main characters and outlined the key story elements of the theatre. The print campaign also included valuable hints and tips on how to practice responsible trading, and contact details of organisations that support and promote responsible drinking and trading.

“The SAB Responsible Trader campaign has proven to be a great example of how creative storytelling can have a truly transformational and long-lasting impact on communities,” adds Mann.

This article was originally published at Marketing Update.

Capturing the King of SA Comedy

vlismasWhen local comedy hero John Vlismas turned 39, he refused to let the experience of maturation pass without commentary or provocation. In true Vlismas style, he chose to celebrate with “38′ Special”, a two-hour comedy special at The Lyric Theatre.

Mann Made Media, a leading brand experience agency, was tasked with capturing this comedic feat on film. The mandate was to take the entire live experience and translate it into a 90-minute comedy special that would air on DStv’s new Comedy Central channel.

“The challenge was in heightening the atmosphere and creating a flow out of the evening’s proceedings that would entertain audiences viewing it at home,” explains Youri Licht, of Mann Made Media.

The first step was to engage with Vlismas and get a feel for his ‘off-stage’ personality in order to tap into his persona on a deeper level. This would give the audience insight into what was to come, in terms of tone, and present the idea that this was not humour by itself, but something significantly more personal – delivered with real craft and considered intent.

Viewers were taken behind the ‘fourth wall’ into the backstage environment – allowing them to see what is usually hidden: the monitors, the empty seats, the instruments belonging to the band K.O.B.U.S, the heavy metal outfit that would open the performance. In addition, viewers would see Vlismas in his room backstage, writing notes, studying his mind maps, getting dressed and putting on his war paints and jewellery – focused on the task ahead.

“The seriousness and humour of the man are then paralleled as our video illustrates the solemnness with which he prepares, dressing himself, while the words ‘Dick Jokes’ get superimposed on the cut,” says Licht. “Seeing this gives us a sense, that perhaps, this is a man, who takes laughter quite seriously.”

Mann Made Media captured all of this in one day, using a multi-cam shoot that would include five-camera set-ups (including one on a jib) that would pan over the audience and auditorium, visually covering the distance Vlismas’ jokes would travel.

Each movement was carefully considered before the performance, and Mann Made shot all the requirements for the opening video before the curtains rose.

The result was a final product that seamlessly captured the raw genius of Vlismas, the delight of the audience, and the transformative power of great comedy.

“Like Mr Vlismas himself, it helps to take funny a little seriously,” adds Licht.