Less is more


New Cape Town ad agency, Derrick, isn’t named after that gritty, German detective series that was dubbed into Afrikaans in the 1980s. Reminiscing about that show with the agency’s three partners certainly shows our age.

These guys ’aint new to the game. Each has had a long and successful career so far combining loads of gongs with extensive experience on many great brands. Add the guts needed to manage a completely independent agency with the aim of getting people to actually consume less and you have the team of Myles Hoppe, Livio Tronchin and Mark Stead.

As experienced as they are, the team’s thinking and ideals are very fresh indeed. Derrick works with clients to achieve sustainable outcomes to benefit business, consumers and the globe. High ideals, but they stand by them. In fact they recently turned down a sure fire money-spinner because the brand’s values weren’t completely in line with their own.

Derrick’s office in the old Castle Brewery is testament to their ideals. Most of the furniture is salvaged. One whole wall is made from the remnants of Stead’s old ceiling and plastic bottle crates serve as tables, shelves and storage.

The small size of the agency allows for intimate communication with clients. There are no layers here; no hoops or hierarchy. What you see is what you get: three communication specialists who don’t just talk it but live it.

The name Derrick is really inspired by that simple yet revolutionary invention, the single axis crane. It’s symbolic of a lever – a hoist upwards – and they are actively playing that role. Nine months after opening their doors they are working with PETCO to communicate the importance of recycling PET plastic and a new campaign is rolling out for the City of Cape Town educating consumers on the importance of conserving electricity.

By Hoppe’s own admission: “what’s most nerve racking is that the results of the campaign can be conclusively measured through actual energy consumption.’ No thumb sucks here. No biased opinions. But if the megawatt reading from six million people shows a substantial shift in consumption, my guess is they’ll have one of the most admirable case studies in the business. All for getting people to consume less.

With the importance of sustainability and the growing awareness of our responsibility as consumers, Derrick is bound to play a vital role in the communication industry. After all, to quote another German legend, architect Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more.’


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