Better than Gold


Selinah, Ogilvy Joburg’s TV ad for the Topsy foundation, was recently chosen by TED as one of this year’s Ten Ads Worth Spreading. TED is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that brings thought and industry leaders together to share their knowledge with the world. Their scope goes far beyond the acronym that stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and the talks, which can be viewed online for free, are in the least inspirational, and at best world changing.

For a public service announcement (PSA) like Selinah this is a far greater accolade than any Cannes Lion or D&AD, the most important aspect being that the ad will now be shared with far more people around the world than could be expected from a typical PSA media flighting. Says one of the Selinah creators, Stephanie van Niekerk: “It is an incredible honour to be acknowledged by people outside of the advertising industry.’

TED is seeking to reverse the trend of online ads that are forced on viewers. As well as winning thousands of dollars worth of exposure on YouTube and Facebook, the selected ads will be flighted after the online TED Talks. According to TED: “We want to nurture ads so good you choose to watch.’

Even before the TED endorsement, the Selinah ad had spread extensively online and is being used by other health organisations as an educational piece. It is less an ad and more a documentary with a vitally important message at its heart.
Directed by Kim Geldenhuys and filmed over three months it documents HIV/Aids sufferer, Selinah, and her recovery day by day while taking ARV medication. The effect is startling because it is real.

During the process the crew and creators became close to Selinah herself. “When we went back to show Selinah the clip, we hardly recognised her,’ says van Niekerk. “She was strong, glowing and healthy. I think when she saw the clip she hardly recognised herself. She started to cry. It made it very real for her how sick she really was and how far she had come. She could not believe how gaunt and frail she was three months earlier. It was an incredible journey; a miracle. Her tears were tears of shock, but also of gratitude. She is an incredibly brave and humble woman.’


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