This year, there's added hype over which ads feature in the priciest TV slot across the globe - the annual Super Bowl Sunday, taking place this Sunday, 3 February - as SA's own Melusi 'Mloo' Mhlungu, now at David Miami, worked on one of the ads gaining traction on social media, ahead of the Super Bowl.
Melusi 'Mloo' Mhlungu of David, Miami.
Do you know Mloo? It’s hard to find an SA creative who doesn’t.
He was one of the two recipients of the Adams & Adams Young Creative Award at the Loeries in 2015, proof that he was ready to spread his creative wings and do great things elsewhere.
And do great things, he has. While discussing his successes, I noted he had pics with the ultimate thermometer of global creative success – not one but two Cannes Lions awards.
Mhlungu at Cannes Lions.
Mhlungu at Cannes Lions.
I asked, “Wow, what did you win the Cannes Lions for? Picking my jaw up off the floor!” To which he humbly replied, “Lol, just for some work I did for Budweiser and Burger King.”
You know. No biggie.
That’s just what happens when you work for an advertising giant like David, Miami.
And keeping things connected, you could have had a bite of a Burger King Whopper and sip from a can of Bud while watching Mloo's new Super Bowl ad ‘Food Porn’ by Devour Foods, from the comfort of your home, if you were so inclined.
See the minute-long ad here:
It’s clever, it’s funny, and it’s getting shared across social media at a rapid rate.
I slid into Mhlungu’s DMs for a quick cross-continental chat over Twitter about how his life-long dream of working in advertising in the US came true, with some tips for those looking to following in his hard-working footsteps…
Share a brief overview of your SA ad industry career.
I first started out at FCB as an art director, but a year into my career I decided to rather become a writer. I was at FCB for about five years under the guidance of Neo Mashigo and Brett Morris. When I left FCB I went to Ogilvy in 2014, where I was under the guidance of Mariana O’Kelly, Molefi Thulo and Sibusiso Sithole.
These are the people who helped shape my career in one way or another. I did everything to stay close to them, to learn and absorb as much as possible. I’m still learning from them to this day, even though we are worlds apart, geographically.
Yes, talk us through your role now at David in Miami…
Firstly, how did you get the job?
I got here by chance.
I always wanted to come to the United States to do advertising, it was always my dream but I didn’t know how and when it would happen. Then in 2016, I got a job offer from an agency in the States.
We were in the process of finalising everything, but when I went to tell Mariana O'Kelly about the opportunity, she said to me: “If you want to go to the States, you have to go to the best”. She put me in contact with Anselmo Ramos, founder of David. I sent him my portfolio, and here I am.
So when I say I got here by chance, I mean there were people willing to give me a chance, and when that chance came I took it and never looked back.
Amazing. What’s the biggest difference you’ve had to adjust to, living and working in the US?
The biggest adjustment has been not having my family around. It was hard to adjust to the fact that I moved so far away, to do what I love for the people I love.
On the work front, nothing was too much of an adjustment, I stayed true to who I am as a creative and kept doing what I know I’m good at.
On the flipside, what you love most about working there?
I love the fact that I work with such talented humans. I’ve always been a fan of most of the creatives I work with, so seeing them in action on a daily basis is a blessing. This helped me get better as a creative and constantly challenge myself, because the creative bar at David is very high!
That it is! Explain the specific highs of working on a Super Bowl ad.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to work in the States was the Super Bowl commercials. I use to watch these and think, “one day”. That dream went from: “Wow, I can’t believe I’m working on this,” to “Wow, I can’t believe I have a Super Bowl commercial!”
It’s always scary to work on something you’ve always wanted, because you are constantly scared you might f#ck it up. The biggest high was when I told my family I might have a Super Bowl spot; that first initial phone call with my mom when we heard client would make our idea.
I was the writer in the team that got the opportunity to work on this dream brief. Myself and my art director Sofie Rosell were the lead team, and we worked closely under the guidance of a creative leadership I look up to and admire.
Congrats again. Before I let you go, any advice for SA creatives looking to follow in your footsteps?
Enjoy what you do first, because passion in this industry is everything. When you start putting in that hard work and long hours, it won’t hurt as much. Nothing hurts more than putting your all into something you don't enjoy at all.
So when you start having fun, it shows in your work, and once it shows in your work it makes it dope, when your work is dope people will love it, and when people love it they will want you.
All you want to do is make your work good enough – not perfect – so that someone is willing to take a chance on you.
It also helps to be a dope person, because sometimes creative directors buy into people and not so much their work. They will always help you make your work better, but they can't necessarily work on making you a better person.
Excellent words to live by. For further insight, watch a few Super Bowl favourite hits and misses of years past below.
The Super Bowl draws 190m eyes, and brands pay the equivalent of R65m for a spot during the game. Of the viewers, nearly a quarter say the television commercials (TVCs) are the most important part of the event, and would rather go to the loo during the game. Despite this, 2017 was one of the weakest years in Super Bowl history for TVCs...
Even if you don't follow American Football, if you're interested in marketing, communications and/or advertising, come Super Bowl night you're probably also glued to your twitter feed, waiting for the ‘next big ad'...
You can show your appreciation too, by logging in to USA Today’s Ad Meter, to rate Devour’s ‘Food Porn’ and others, by 1am EST on Monday, 4 Feb – that’s 8am our time. Also tell Mloo himself on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
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