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Loeries Special Section

#Loeries2022: Sibusiso Sitole - Inspiring creativity across Africa and the Middle East

Recently appointed Loeries chairperson 2022 - 2024, Sibusiso Sitole, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Odd Number, wants to inspire creativity across the continent and the Middle East.
Image supplied. Recently appointed Loeries chairperson 2022 - 2024, Sibusiso Sitole, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Odd Number
Image supplied. Recently appointed Loeries chairperson 2022 - 2024, Sibusiso Sitole, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Odd Number

“The last two years have been a slough - even affecting the industry’s level of creativity, mainly because we were all isolated,” says Sitole.

But now he believes everyone is inspired again. “Many agencies are back in the building and there is a feeling of positivity all around.”

This extends to clients. “Suddenly there are more pitches. Unlike the past two years, when many clients were holding back, waiting to see what was going to happen.”

This led to many nerves in the industry. “But now the industry is bouncing back, and people are excited to be around each other again,” he says.

Inspiring disillusioned creatives again

But the past two years have had an impact on the industry, and one of the serious impacts has been the shrinking of the length and breadth of creatives coming into the industry.

He says this because often senior creatives leave the industry because they are disillusioned. “It is not an easy career being creative,” he acknowledges.

“The main challenge that faces us now is to get quality creatives back into advertising, and then nurture them. This is going to be a journey, and it works hand in hand with creative agencies and clients."

And he adds it is something that clients need to understand. “Clients need to appreciate the power of great creativity.”

This is where the Loeries comes in. “The Loeries do not only galvanise the advertising part of the creative industry, but it also invites clients to be part of it and witness what great creativity can achieve, whether they are part of the Masterclasses or attend the Awards ceremony together with their creative agencies.”

He believes that the Awards also go a long way in making sure that we retain great creatives. “Many leave because they feel they are working hard, but not producing great work.”

Therefore, the Awards are important, he says, but he emphasises that they matter because creativity is important and truly impacts economies. “It is what helps shape our society and Loeries celebrates this, not so much as an awards show but as upping the benchmark for quality work.”

“It is the Loeries that need to show that creativity is a viable industry, in South Africa and on the Continent as a whole and the Middle East,” he adds.

Great work coming

This year, after the past two-year lull, he predicts we going to see some great work awarded.

“We have had a foretaste of this at the recent Cannes Lions Awards. Having judged myself at Cannes and seen the level of the quality of the work, I am expecting that same high quality at Loeries.”

What excites him is the work coming out of the Middle East. “What is beautiful about this is that it challenges the Continent to up their game as far as the work is concerned.”

He adds that what is driving this great work, not only from the Middle East but also from various countries across the continent, is that they are tapping into their local insights and letting their voices come to the fore.

“This gives us such a diverse selection of work. It is also where creativity is heading – to work that displays diversity and showcases local nuances.”

Creativity can no longer be generic he says. “It must be based on a true insight, and it is the audience that is demanding this. It needs to be authentic from where you are coming from, and while it can be innovative, it must be fresh and insightful. This is the kind of work that we want to celebrate.”

Looking at the continent, he says African music and fashion are having a real impact on the world. “Advertising from the continent needs to do the same. And it will, I strongly believe that. It needs more work, but we are starting to see sparks of brilliance from Africa.”

Coming together as an industry

Loeries is also about the power of coming together again as an industry. “This is exciting for me, seeing people come together, and share ideas and lessons from the past two years and to enjoy great creative work, and to celebrate that.”

He adds: “With the entire Creative Week in District 6 this year, everyone from around the world can come together in one space.”

Something else he is looking forward to is the student expo and awards. “Inspiring young talent is one of my passions and something I want to highlight in my role as chairperson of Loeries.”

“Apart from that I want to see the fun put back into advertising!” he states.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.
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