Behind the Selfie Interview South Africa

#BehindtheMask: Manuela Dias de Deus of One-eyed Jack

At the helm of entertainment marketing and lifestyle agency One-eyed Jack, Manuela Dias de Deus and her team have scooped significant awards for media relations, sponsorship and reputation management; predominantly within the live eventing space. As a concept house for marketing campaigns that culminate in a live event, One-eyed Jack cracks the big idea and executes to fruition, handling the PR, influencer relations, media buying, digital and design components too.
#BehindtheMask: Manuela Dias de Deus of One-eyed Jack

You're the founding member and co-director of One-eyed Jack. Could you briefly explain what your role entails?

Whilst One-eyed Jack’s a full-service communications agency, I head up the live events area of our business. New ideas and innovative campaigns inspire and energise me, so my role is to procure new business and conceptualise exciting events, which I then hand over to my team to execute.

You actually founded One-eyed Jack in 2011. How did this come about?

I qualified in PR and then spent 12 years working in the music scene in London. When I returned to South Africa I joined Ogilvy to strengthen by strategic foundations, but I missed the rock n’ roll lifestyle.

A good friend of mine highlighted a niche for me to assume, my sister helped design my CI and another friend named my business, and there you have it. A need, an idea, collaboration and relationships, and that’s how One-eyed Jack was born.

What’s really behind your mask - literally and figuratively speaking?

Literally; a mom with a Koki pen smear on her cheek. Figuratively; a creative, competitive, forward thinking and fun entrepreneur with her finger on the pulse.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

The front women in a band, naturally.

How did you end up in the entertainment marketing and lifestyle industry?

I started my career working for industry stalwart Johanna McDowell, during which time worked on the Kora All Africa Music Awards. That was a defining moment, as I realised that entertainment marketing was totally my vibe.

I packed my bags and headed for London to hobnob with the stars and set my sights on becoming the agency for brands that want to play in the entertainment and lifestyle space.
If you love what you do, you don’t feel like you’re working right?

What excites you most about the industry?

The competition and collaborating with them.

Our industry is typically supportive, we celebrate each other’s achievements.

Whilst some agencies want to keep their clients close, instead, we reach out and involve like-minded agencies in our campaigns to ensure that our ideas are always fresh and that our net is broadened.
This is how we win business. Collaboration = awareness = referrals = reciprocation.

What's a typical work day routine?

Routine? Who has routine in this industry in lockdown?

Where are you based during lockdown?

Vibey Tamboerskloof in Cape Town. I hit a luck moving here just before lockdown, so got to spend my time enjoying this new space and all that the inner city has to offer.

When you're not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?

I somehow seem to have the party house that close friends congregate at over weekends. That’s totally fine with me as, as long as there are good tunes, sunshine and Musgrave gin, I’m happy.

What's your theme song for 2021?

Gerry Cinnamon - Where we're going.

Are you watching any series? Reading any books at the moment?

Just finished the French series Call My Agent, I loved it. The actors featured in each episode are actual French stars, and the agents’ commitment to their clients remind me of why I got into this industry in the first place.

Books: I have just finished Educated by Tara Westover. It’s deeply moving (and a little disturbing) whilst being beautifully written.

What is the first thing you plan to do - if and when the lockdown lifts?

Personally; buy tickets to the first outdoor concert or festival.

Business wise; ensure we’re at the forefront of our clients’ minds when they want to brief in new marketing campaigns.

2021 has just begun. What's next for you?

We’re excited to see how businesses, ours included, can start opening up again, and what that will mean to the industry. We have clients ready to do events as soon as they can, so our aim is to produce the best, and safest ones that we can. We want to grow, and there is some fantastic talent out there at the moment, people who have lost their work due to the pandemic. We’ve earmarked the key players and will be bringing them into our family.

Watch this space…

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