#BehindtheSelfie with... Wayne Naidoo

This week, we find out what's really going on behind the selfie with Wayne Naidoo, founder and CEO of Duke.
Naidoo captions this: “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

1. Where do you live, work and play?


I live in the ‘burbs in Cape Town – 10 years later and still the only non-white homeowner in a 2km radius – where road rage, #DayZero and news of Patricia De Lille almost getting fired has become our daily Groundhog Day.

Work and play is kind of the same thing – my job is to keep people happy. Client, wife, kids and family – all throw the stick and I run and fetch with a smiley jump in my stride. It’s a bit repetitive, but at least I’m busy and I get a belly rub when I come back!

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I’m Nino’s husband – she’s essentially the female version of Chuck Norris.

Co-founder of Duke, slave driver head of operations, mom to three teenagers (including twin daughters), an ultra-marathon runner who also enjoys cooking around four different meals a night whilst studying digital marketing and whose hair is straighter than Pocahontas’.

And she still thinks I’m that guy. (Poor blind bat.)

3. Describe your career so far.


The programmed GPS said ‘stick to the N1’, but the signal always dropped me and I ended up on dirt roads and picked up a few scars along the way. Should have worn a helmet. The wildlife was amazing, though!

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


At first, I thought it was popping a wheelie, but then I learned how to bypass the bouncers at the Galaxy nightclub at age 15, and I discovered what “boys’ night out” really meant. After that, it was getting my first R450 monthly pay cheque and being able to buy my own Levi’s and All Star kicks.

Next, it was being able to say: “I do,” to my childhood sweetheart and seeing my kids being born. A definite highlight was being asked to run one of SA’s best ad agencies and I pretended I could (fake it till you make it) and along the way we won a string of new business and loads of awards.

Duke's YPO Africa campaign drives membership on African continent

YPO is the premier leadership organisation for chief executives in the world. With over 25,000 members in over 130 countries across all industries and businesses, it is a global network that creates powerful connections to foster business and personal growth...

Issued by Duke Advertising 14 May 2018


All the work stuff made me realise I needed balance so I started boxing, running and doing CrossFit, all whilst gathering more Avios points than most pilots. Finally, I decided to really put the pressure on in my old age, and so I started Duke.

Wayne Naidoo

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By Louise Marsland 4 Feb 2015


These were a few of my favourite things.

5. What do you love about your industry?


It reminds me of my childhood on the Cape Flats – savage, but homely.

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


Most of my day consists of making s#it up. It’s a lot of fun, as each day has a new sunrise that brings all kinds of drama. We’re addicted to it and usually start off with, “What if we did…” Then we sell that to clients who think that we’re absolute geniuses – and we all pat each other on the back whilst trying to figure out how the hell we’re going to make it happen.

We’ve also come to the realisation that we’ll never be rich.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


We sell the emperor’s new clothes. And we need loads of different outfits for his wardrobe. We need to know what he wants, what he needs, what size he requires and when and where to get him dressed up.

To be that craftsman you’ll need a unique blend of intense curiosity and “What if’s” in your drawer – if you don’t know s#it, then you’ll be s#it.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


The clients. They are way ahead of the game and, in fact, are changing our game and dictating new rules. You see, we all chased the money and forgot that our currency is actually in ideas and not billing processes.

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


We should probably stop moaning and to grow some balls.
The victim card that we have played over the past 10 years is rather stale now – we need to become bolder, louder and way more opinionated.
We actually do have something amazing to offer, so let’s stop being so apologetic.

Time to own and hone the advertising industry

We have long lamented the draining of the skills pool in the advertising industry. And many people have made good arguments as to why we are experiencing the 'juniorfication' of the industry and what we can do about this. However, I think that unless we are able to address this issue holistically, on an industry-wide basis, we risk a further spiral.

By Wayne Naidoo 9 Jan 2012


It’s simply unacceptable in 2018.

10. What are you working on right now?


Mastering my delegation skills. I’m aiming to be crowned non-executive chairman of Duke whilst still having absolute power over everything, particularly the entertainment budget.


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


Mostly they go like this:
  • #Aaaaarrrggghhh
  • #TimeSheetHell
  • #PitchConsultantsSuck
  • #F@%&^*&*&^$

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


When I’m angry - usually when the playing fields are not level and I’m at a disadvantage.

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


I can speak like Donald Duck. Sober.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


I love everything new. Solana is a bit of a weird stretch though. Sies!

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


A couple of hundred WhatsApp groups. I have a chat group for everything, including one on laundry products. True story.

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


Learn, learn, learn – be a relentless student. Please don’t chase the dosh. Love your craft and become the best at it and the respect, fulfilment, fame and money will follow.

Simple as that. Follow Naidoo on the following social media platforms: Twitter | LinkedIn and follow Duke on these: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram and click here for more on Duke.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com and one of our Lifestyle contributors. She's also on the 2018 Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, was an #Inspiring50 nominee, and can be reached at ...
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