Ask and you shall receive…. so here’s me asking.
I have got to get me a pair of these guys for Christmas!
Ask and you shall receive…. so here’s me asking.
I have got to get me a pair of these guys for Christmas!
After months of training for each discipline I finally merged the three and took part in my first triathlon. It was the Hartabeespoort leg of the BSG series. The distance is what’s known as a ‘sprint’ (600m swim, 27 km cycle and a 5 km run)
I hated the swim and almost got out the water after having a mild panic attack. It was my first open water swim, and having several hundred bodies crash into you, pull you down and kick you while you battle to breathe is very uncomfortable. I walked/breaststroked most of it. the cycle was brilliant and I loved every second – it also helps when the route is fairly flat. Pity about the no-road closure as I found myself waiting behind some slower riders at times. The run felt like I was walking backwards in cement shoes, but I finished in a decent time.
Swim – 15 mins
Bike – 57 mins
Run – 27 min
To overcome my fear of the water I’m taking part in another sprint tri this Sunday.
Less than 3 months to Half Iron Man!
Here’s an idea: “take this product and send this to some online influencers and get them to tweet about it.” Yes, that is a common brief to an agency, and no, you should not simply go ahead and get that done. Unless you’re the Reserve Bank and your product is money, simply sending stuff to an influencer is unlikely to achieve the campaign success you had hoped for.
This type of brief makes me wonder who thinks of of these promotional items, and how well they researched the recipient? It’s becoming an all too familiar scene on the ‘socials’, scrolling down your Twitter feed and catching a glimpse of a generic ‘thanks brand X for Y gift’ followed by a customary Instagram of said item. People can smell an obligatory punt from a mile away. It’s not uncommon for my timeline to be filled with repetitive brand mentions. I see them, and move on. Nothing about that sort of tweet would get me to stop to consider the product being mentioned, or make me want to go out and purchase/buy/drive/taste it.
It’s rare for a mention like that to connect with anyone but the recipient which defeats the purpose. There have however been many times when I have stopped to read a post, purely because the nature of the mention evoked some emotion in me. Take a recent incident for example: a well-known blogger tweeted about his beloved dog falling ill and a few hours later Vodacom had sent him a care pack for his beloved pooch. Something about that made me go all, “aaw, shame” and so I became engaged in the story. Turns out his dog recovered and most likely the gesture brought a smile to more than a few faces.
You could say it’s because I’m a hardcore dog lover, and that’s why it evoked an emotional response from me, but I believe it’s such a great story because the owner, clearly a dog lover himself, received an appropriate gift that would not only resonate with him, but also make his sick pup feel better.
I’ve experienced a few incidents of brand love myself. One of the most applicable being a few years back; it was a slow Monday morning at the office, the coffee machine was broken and I was nodding off at my desk. I tweeted how my day could really use a caffeine kick and about 30 minutes later a hamper of assorted coffee arrived on my desk. Very clever, very smart and very quick.
It’s the same principle as the Nordstroms ‘urban legends’. If you haven’t heard why this company is known for its killer service – read here. The reason this super store has got such a great reputation around customer service is because each and every one of the stories sound too good to be true. Yet, they aren’t.
Most of us in the media and communication industry have at one time been guilty of the ‘spray and pray’ method, whether it’s sending out a mass press release or generic gift to many in the hopes of catching a few nibbles. I would like to challenge us to change this mass approach. Firstly, cater your gestures to the individual, and secondly, when next targeting a person, take into consideration a bit more than their Twitter followers or Klout score. Look at who they are as an individual; identify their hobbies, likes, dislikes and environment. I can guarantee that an average person who is active on the ‘socials’, yet who is obsessed with food, baking and blogging would be far better suited to receiving a ticket to a food show, than a digital ‘guru’ whose hobbies include music, fast cars and woman.
South African agencies have a tendency to continually target the same people over and over again. Take dried up soapie actors appearing on most TV shows, radio DJs hopping from one station to the other and 20 online influencers receiving every free gift under the sun. Unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle, which only serves to exacerbate the problem – if these people don’t tweet about it, they dot get free stuff, so they do and the gifts keep arriving. Why not invest some time, take a step back and identify a new range of people to target – people who have passions, dreams, desires and a voice. Just because someone doesn’t have thousands of followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean that they have no voice.
Often it’s these stories that spread faster and wider because they’re more genuine than a simple product drop to the usual suspects.
*First published on www.cerebra.co.za
Not to go all Oprah on you, but stop it! If I have to drive infront/behind/next to (insert other preposition here) another idiot swerving off the road, swerving into my car, slowing to a crawl on the highway or wreaking havoc around him all while in a must-read-vital-bbm-update-or-I-will-die coma, I will physically drive your car off the road and high five you in the face. I will then take your phone and give it to the next homeless person I meet.
To be fair, I used to be one of those people, but I realised that it’s just not worth the risk while driving on our (already very dangerous) South African Roads.
By the way – this message applies to any driver who applies makeup, reads a paper, plucks their eyebrows, paints their nails or plays on their iPad while driving. How much of a doos will you feel like when you crash your BMW into a curb (or worse) simply because you just had to get that text message out.
If I’m not getting my point across., then maybe this video will. (Hey cynics, this actually happened in the UK)
Along with Miss South Africa and Tellyfun Quiz, Watching the Comrades Marathon was a South African tradition I grew up with. There was never a year that passed by by in our house when the TV wasn’t turned on early on a Saturday morning and all throughout the day we would glance up and see brave souls crossing the finish line, and some who didn’t.
I didn’t grow up in a running family so watching that race on TV was the closes I ever got to the actual race, until last year when we drove to Durban to watch a mutual friend run it for the first time. The experience was exhausting and crazy, and for my boyfriend, a challenge
This year he ran it for the very first time, along with his dad who ran it for the 13 th time, his brother in law who has a few under the belt our friend from last year and 10 of our running club crew.
Waking up at 2:30 am to drive the runners to the start set the tone for the rest of the day. Hurry up and wait. I admire Comrades supporters who pour through Pietermaritzburg in their thousands, complete with camping chairs, refueling goodies, skottels blankets and snacks. The role of the supporter is to arrive at a designated spot a few hours before, set up a station and then watch for their runner to come through, screaming and shouting for all the other runners as we do so, then move onto the next spot If I was nervous waiting for Barry to come through the points, I can’t imagine how he must have been feeling. Luckily, armed with woollies snacks and a crew of dutiful watchers, we found Barry and Pierre at all the stops and then headed off to kings mead stadium for the finish.
I can’t begin to describe the noise, the crowd and the vibe when you arrive. Runners.are.everywhere all doing the trademark ‘Comrades shuffle’. To watch a poor runner try and tackle the stairs after running solidly for up to 12 hours is quite a thing. Luckily we managed to find a spot on the crowded grandstand and wait for the guys to arrive. Barry was hoping for a 9 hour time which qualified him for a Bill Rowan medal, and when he hadn’t come through the finish at 8:50 I was in a state. When he did run under the massive balloon arch at 8:58, high giving everyone and smiling from ear to ear I was ecstatic! Our friend Pierre came in under 11 hours and I am happy to report both of them, although quite ‘eina’ and sore today, can live to tell the tale.
You often hear people refer to all athletes as ‘winners’ but when it comes to the Comrades I couldn’t agree more. To see you challenge yourselves in a run which most people believe to be impossible, and to cross/sprint or crawl across that finish line is a privilege. To all 180000 runners who took part this year – you are amazing.
Meet Amy, one of my oldest and best friends (more like a sister after all we’ve been through). Amy recently got married, isn’t she just lovely?
Amy also recently drank too many glasses of wine and agreed to do something she never thought she would do – run the 2013 Two Oceans Half Marathon. This is her guest post :
I’m all knee caps and elbows and big teeth.
I should have known that a sweatband and reflective running tights would make me look like the girl version of Owen Wilson. I should’ve pictured my knees knocking and skew shoulders flopping with every step I planned to take but, sadly, this didn’t even cross my mind when I typed out the words that sealed my fate: “Challenge accepted. Boom.”
Boom indeed. The sound of my almost-size-8 running shoes slapping the treadmill. The sound of that novice gym moment when you jump (okay, and scream) because you had no idea an iPod could be that loud in your ears. The sound of my heart smashing into the sides of my head after only 2 minutes of treadmill time. Running is hard man!
However, I do have to admit that it is rewarding. Although I’m nowhere near fit, I can already see my abs trying to reveal themselves and my ‘wobbly bits’ are less wobbly. I feel stronger and have even had my first pounding session like when hot chicks in movies take out their anger on a treadmill (except, I look less like Megan Fox and more like The Fantastic Mr Fox with running shoes).
I have gone from marathon book reader and cake eater to evangelist runner with iPod strapped to bicep in just 4 weeks. Will I be running the Two Oceans Half Marathon in 2013? Challenge accepted. Boom.
Cant wait to run with you in 2013 my friend!
This is not my article, it was written by a South African woman ‘The Frida Factor’ but I read it and found it so thought-provoking, relevant and important, that I had to share it with the readers of my blog. The original article is posted here Would love to hear your feedback.
A South African artist called Brett Murray has been causing a huge stir since his painting of South Africa’s president titled The Spear was put up in a local gallery. The ANC have worked themselves up into a total frothy about the painting and their biggest issue with it – It’s racist. ???????
Disrespectful, maybe. Rude, maybe. But racist???
That little word that has become the political whip with which the ANC work the masses up into angry mobs and riots anytime something happens that they don’t like. And it’s becoming really really tiring.
In South Africa, the word racist has lost it’s original meaning and now only get’s used to describe a white person doing something a black person doesn’t like. You never hear it used in any other context. You can’t say to a black CEO that he is racist because he won’t hire white people, no – he’s just making sure that only blacks get hired because of BEE. You can’t call a university racist because they won’t accept an application from a white student with straight A’s for 8 subjects – instead taking on a black student who barely passed matric. Nope, they’re not racist, they’re just correcting the wrongs of the past. But god forbid you do hire the white person or you do admit the white student, you’ll be branded racist by the government quicker that you can say “colour shouldn’t be the issue here” because how dare you choose a white person over a black person in a democratic South Africa.
Most of the time when you are a white person and you call your fellow countrymen to be held accountable for their unacceptable words and actions such as corruption, nepotism, fraud, theft, you’ll be branded a racist.
Today, I shouted at a taxi driver who pushed in-front of me nearly driving me into the curb with no regard for the fact that I have a child in the car – I must be a racist, because only racists care about road safety it would seem.
I complained to the manager of my bank because the woman handling my account is so incompetent and hasn’t responded to one email or message I’ve left her for over 2 months! Nevermind that my account is about to be shut down because of FICA. I must be a racist then because only racists expect service from a bank and stupidly think an organisation is going to actually do the job they promise to do in all their marketing material.
The other day my husband confronted a woman outside a shopping centre after she carelessly threw her fast food packet on the floor less than 10cm from a dustbin. Her response – “you’re just a racist”. Yes, you’re absolutely right, because only racists care about keeping their city clean and litter free.
I fired a lady who worked for me once because I caught her rummaging through one of my cupboards and she had taken my passport and other belongings which I found in her bag. Her only response – “you’re a racist”. Yes, yes I am. Because only racists think that stealing is a criminal offense and is done by people with no morals or conscience.
I swear being a white person in this country can be very bloody exasperating at times. The ANC has brainwashed the masses with this little word – racist – to the point that it’s actually completely lost its meaning and now get’s used totally out of context. Most days I just let it pass and I don’t go into effect of it. But today is not one of those days. Today I’m angry and today I’m sick and tired of it.
I’m not shouting at you because you’re black, I’m shouting because you’re a maniac on the roads who is a danger to society.
I’m not complaining to your manager because you’re black. I’m complaining because you’re an incompetent moron who is incapable of doing her job properly.
I’m not firing you because you’re black. I’m firing you because you’re a thief.
I’m not confronting you because your black, I’m shouting at you because you’re a messy pig who expects other people to clean up your mess.
Please get over yourselves and move out the way of the remarkably amazing black people who DO take total responsibility and who actually want this country to work for ALL the people who live in it.
If being a racist in this country means that I will stand up for my rights, fight for what is fair and true and hold everyone around me accountable for their words and actions, then I am a racist through and through. If being a racist means that I believe in freedom of speech and expression and that everyone’s point of view is relevant, no matter what colour, age or sex, then I will proudly announce to all who can hear that I am a racist. If being a racist means that I believe we should all be treated with the same rules and consequences and that no-one, especially not the President, is above the law and exempt from criminal prosecution when that law has been broken, then print me a t-shirt saying “I am a racist” and I will wear it in the streets. If being a racist means that I will not stand idly by while the few, corrupt pigs in the ANC rape this country for everything they can get with no regard for the poor and the homeless and the uneducated, then I’ll get I’m a racist tattooed on my back.
Mr Zuma and the ANC – you need to get a different vocabulary. Instead of shouting at someone like Brett Murray about a painting being offensive, maybe you should be asking yourselves why he painted it in the first place. Instead of wanting to take Zapiro to court every time he depicts the president & his shower head in one of his cartoons, why don’t you stop to realise that there is truth in everything he draws and that your angry responses are really due to the fact that he keeps hitting a nerve that’s a little too close to home.
Maybe, Mr Zuma, it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror. If you were honest with yourself you’d see that people actually have very little respect for you because you have lied and cheated your way through your Presidency. You have been involved with more seedy, corrupt criminals than Horatio Cane and you have abused funds for personal gain. You have raped, lied, stolen, protected evil men and weezled your way out of prosecution and you wonder why people continue to take the piss out of you in the media and treat you with utter contempt. Even the great Oliver Tambo’s daughter doesn’t think much of you based on what she had to say about the painiting: “He should inspire the reverence he craves. This portrait is what he inspired”
You Mr Zuma and your ANC are a bunch of CANTS!
CAN’T let go of the past
CAN’T operate in your life without breaking the rules
CAN’T find your integrity with a map and a flashlight and a tour guide (unless you pay them off).
CAN’T treat women with any kind of respect
CAN’T obey the laws of this country
CAN’T stop operating from a place of revenge and hate for what’s happened in the past
CAN’T find a way forward with no agenda or payoff
CAN’T stop putting family members in government positions for which they are not qualified
CAN’T stop the out of control corruption that is rife throughout every government department
CAN’T stop getting involved in shady, underhanded deals
CAN’T seem to get the education right in this country
CAN’T say goodbye of Affirmative Action and BEE which is ruining businesses across this land
But what do I know?
I’m just a white girl talking about a black man.
I must be a racist
In the spirit of finding fun things to do in Joburg (see my last post on Walkhaven) we decided to spend the weekend in the Cradle of Humankind for a little getaway. Just 30 minutes from Joburg, it’s a beautiful spot to be in especially in summer, and there is no shortage of fun things to do or see.
Our first stop was to a spot called ‘Bushbaby Monkey Sanctuary‘ which is just past the Chameleon Village outside of Hartabeespoort. At R200 per person I was very skeptical, but it proved to be the best money I’ve spent in a while.
The Monkey sanctuary is a sanctuary to monkeys which have been previously owned as exotic pets, and has been built on several hectares to closely mimic and resemble a monkeys natural habitat. The guided tour consists of a 3km walk (takes about an hour) with a brilliant guide, who talks you through the monkeys, where they came from and what differentiates the species.he also explains that, while being very cute, keeping a monkey as a pet is the equivalent of keeping a 3 year old in the house for 45 years. No thanks!
The entire walk is along elevated wooden platforms, so as not to damage the natural environment, and allow you to get closer to the animals. The animals are also free to roam where they like, and the humans are not fenced off, so its unlike any zoo experience you’ve ever had. All the walkways and barriers are sourced from unused rubble piles, and were carefully and laboriously put together by the people at the sanctuary.
The second you walk into the double enclosed doors, Sarah a spider monkey and Uppie, a Capuchin monkey greet you by either jumping on your head, your back, your shoulder, stealing your cellphone or jumping frantically from branch to branch. They are both hilarious, and as you carry on along the walk, Sarah chills at the entrance while Uppie happily jumps from one person to the other, enjoying the free ride. He’s a cheeky bugger though and tried several times (unsuccessfully) to steal the contents from my handbag which he sneakily unzipped when I wast looking. It’s no surprise these guys are trained as pickpockets in many countries.
The sanctuary currently has 75 monkeys, but has space for 350, and with all varieties and shapes lolling in the trees and running about, it looks like primate paradise!
The sanctuary also encourages breeding, but limits the amount so as not to worsen the problem of overpopulation. For those looking for a more interesting function venue, there’s also an exquisite venue set in the middle of the sanctuary, which can hold up to 200 people. I’m sure if you warned your guests beforehand, they wouldn’t mind a couple of monkeys bombing their photos. (Monkeys wedding, anyone?)
The Sanctuary is set on a beautiful property, with a coffee shop, bar and gift shop. Definitely recommended for a fun morning out!
Last weekend we hosted a rather unusual bachelorette for my bestie Amy. This was no ordinary bachelorette in that the amount of time it took for us to come up with an idea that wasn’t kitsch, cliched or (god forbid) club orientated was extraordinary. Amy has unique taste, and a style surpassed by none, so trust me, had we draped her in phallic objects and stuck a set of Playboy bunny ears on her head, we would have been fired form bridesmaids duty, and possibly never spoken to again. Thankfully I had a lightbulb moment (yes, it happens) and decided that a 1950s ‘un-perfect housewife’ theme would be fairly fitting for the bride-to-be. Thanks to Google, some talented designer friends, talented seamstress friends, talented ideas friends (you get the picture) a very patient boyfriend, some equally handy fellow bridesmaids and my skills with a tube of Pritt and some scissors, the day (and night) turned out to be a roaring success. Even Amy says so.Just ask her.
For the evening part of the event we all hopped into a taxi and went to a beautiful champagne bar and restaurant called ‘Amis’ (completely planned, of course!) With 19502 movies playing on the wall, gorgeous decor and a retro theme, it was just perfect. We ate too much, drank delicious bubbly and ended the day off on a perfect note.
Bring on the wedding!
Here are a few pics from the event, and some ideas if you’re ever planning a good old fashioned do.
Homemade party favours with a personalised poem made by Amys sister
I Googled ’50s images and strung them on ribbon with clothes pegs. Very effective!
Not everyone loved the photobooth props!
Again, I printed 50’s signs and glued them to skewer sticks, which I then placed all over the venue.
Red and white striped lollipops and 50’s slang wine glass tags. Amy got ‘Circled’ which back in the day meant ‘Getting Hitched’.
Amy doing a ‘down down’ the old fashioned way
I found this amazing old school wedding photo which I used as cheese labels. My best was ‘Something old something new something borrowed something blue‘ Get it?
Completely co-incidental that Amy’s dress (made by our very talented friend Ilona) matched the photo booth backdrop. FYI I bought a huge roll of wrapping paper and simply stuck it to the wall to make the backdrop.
Aren’t these signs the cutest?
All the guests signed a pottery bowl which we will glaze for Amy
My parents garden provided the perfect setting for a day of 1950s good ol’ fashioned fun!