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Loeries Special Section

#Loeries2021: A new pier for SA ad industry peers

As a Capetonian having made our way to the Loeries at Sun City via every known form of transport bar donkey cart, to the realms of what was then Bophuthatswana, now Northern Province, seemed an eternally subtropical state.
Photo credit: Terry Levin
Photo credit: Terry Levin

Since those halcyon days, however, regardless of location, there seems to have been an unspoken and outspoken relationship between Loeries and weather.

For example, a year after the Loeries made the decision to decamp from Sun City to Margate in 2006, the very sturdy Moscow Circus tent in which the event was at fever pitch, got blown away by a tornado, leaving at least 1,000 industry revellers shivering on the sands with barely a feather boa to cover their flimsy evening wear or protect them from the elements that all but washed away the Margate beach.

Having survived three years of KZN South Coast’s monsoon season, in 2009 the decision was made to award the Western Cape as home to the Loerie Awards.

According to a Bizcommunity poll at the time, expectations for the Loeries at the Good Hope Centre venue were less than enthusiastic, but no one could have foreseen the torrential storms that would accompany the agencies to the awards ceremony. In those days, when many in the industry still dressed up in themed regalia, who could forget the sight of the hundreds of windswept but triumphant Jupiter Drawing Room team flying their jolly rogers under sagging umbrellas to ascend the 300-plus stairs from the open double decker bus that deposited them at the foot of Woodstock’s architectural marvel.

With the ensuing years spent trying to figure out how to waterproof their ball gowns, Durban, having recently been named #7 on The New York Times 2015 list of places to go, was announced as the creative solution to a new destination for Loeries Creative Week.

Durban beachfront may be known as the Golden Mile, but in 2016 when the taxi driver dropped Ann Nurock and me off to attend a post-awards agency party in the venue at the end of the pier, it was more like the Frozen Mile. Wading its 1,45km expanse in sodden stilettos may not have been a good look, but in retrospect it may be construed as a good laugh.

Cut to 2021. After a cold and lonely 2020 virtual Loeries, even Cape Town’s 70% chance of rain forecasts could not dampen the joy of the semi-hybrid, post-Covid-19 crowd who made their way from across the country, Africa and the Middle East to celebrate their deserving achievements to recognise and reconnect with their peers, at this year’s Loerie Creative Week 2021.

In South African culture, rain means luck, perhaps the ancestors’ way of giving us, the creative industry, its blessings.

And, anyway, with the warm, dry and all-protocols-observed marquee at the V&A Waterfront’s Granger Bay Grand Africa Café & Beach, the Loeries seems to have adapted well to climate change conditions. The beginning of a new pier for SA’s advertising industry peers.

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