Recently appointed President of Loeries 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.
Picture provided. Recently appointed President of Loeries 2022 – 2024, Sibusiso Sitole, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Odd Number
“The last two years have been a quagmire – affecting even the level of creativity in the industry, 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’s a sense of positivity all around.”
This extends to customers. “Suddenly there is more land. Unlike the past two years, when many customers were holding back, waiting to see what would happen.
This has led to many nerves in the industry. “But now the industry is bouncing back and people are excited to be together again,” he says.
Re-inspire disillusioned creatives
But the past two years have had an impact on the industry, and one of the most severe impacts has been the reduction in the length and width of creatives entering the industry.
He says this because often senior creatives leave the industry out of disappointment. “It’s not an easy career to be creative,” he admits.
“The main challenge we face now is getting quality creatives back into advertising and then nurturing them. It’s going to be a journey, and it’s working hand-in-hand with creative agencies and clients.”
And he adds that this is something customers need to understand. “Clients need to appreciate the power of great creativity.”
This is where the Loeries come in. the awards ceremony with their creative agencies.
He thinks the awards also go a long way in ensuring we retain great creatives. “Many leave because they feel they are working hard, but not producing great work.”
Therefore, prices are important, he says, but he points out that they matter because creativity matters and has a real impact on economies. “It’s what helps shape our company and Loeries celebrates that, not so much as an award, but as a benchmark for quality work.”
“It’s the Loeries who need to show that creativity is a viable industry, in South Africa and across the continent and the Middle East,” he adds.
Great work ahead
This year, after the last two years of calm, he predicts that we will see great works rewarded.
“We got a taste of it at the recent Cannes Lions Awards. After judging myself in Cannes and seeing the level of quality of the work, I expect the same quality at Loeries.
What excites him is the work that comes out of the Middle East. “The beautiful thing about it is that it challenges the continent to up their game when it comes to the job.”
He adds that what drives 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 ideas and letting their voices be heard.
“It gives us such a diverse selection of work. This is also where the creativity goes – towards work that displays diversity and showcases local nuances.
Creativity can no longer be generic, he says. “It has to be based on real insight, and it’s the audience that demands it. It should be authentic to where you come from, and while it may be innovative, it should be fresh and insightful. This is the kind of work we want to celebrate.
Looking at the continent, he says African music and fashion have a real impact on the world. “Continental advertising must do the same. And it will be, I firmly believe. It needs more work, but we’re starting to see sparks of brilliance coming from Africa.
Coming together as an industry
Loeries is also about the power to come together again as an industry. “It’s exciting for me, to see people come together, share insights and lessons from the past two years, enjoy some great creative work, and celebrate that.”
He adds, “With all of District 6’s Creative Week this year, everyone from all over the world can come together in one space.”
Another thing he is looking forward to is the student exhibition and awards. “Inspiring young talent is one of my passions and something I want to emphasize in my role as President of Loeries.”
“Other than that, I want to see the fun put back into advertising!” he declares.