Saatchi & Saatchi switches off


Saatchi & Saatchi has developed an emotive 60 second TV commercial featuring Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, for the 49M national energy efficiency initiative to drive awareness around the challenge of conserving electricity during the winter months.

“With winter electricity consumption across South Africa placing additional pressure on the country’s power grid, we needed to come up with a campaign for the 49M initiative that encouraged South Africans from all walks of life to come together and save electricity,” says Saatchi & Saatchi regional Executive Creative Director, Liam Wielopolski.

“We were briefed to do a talking head asking people to switch off and make a difference,” he says. “In the commercial Minister Gigaba switches off a light and doing so incites people across the country to do the same. This shows South Africans that every choice one makes, no matter how big or small, has the ability to make a huge difference to the country’s energy consumption.”

In order to make the commercial look as authentic as possible, Wielopolski says that the entire commercial was shot every night from 6pm until 4am for a week, with as many effects as possible being shot in camera.

“We selected locations and people throughout Johannesburg and Cape Town to ensure that we reflected all walks of life in places they can identify with,” he adds. “The director, Greg Gray from Velocity, played an integral part in ensuring that not only did the scenes look authentic, but beautiful as well.”

He explains that a lot of the commercial is about playing with light. “This was a huge consideration when looking at lighting, location and shot selection in order to ensure that the message of ‘switch off’ was clearly portrayed, yet the commercial still retained its integrity as a beautiful and emotive piece of communication.”

Since 49M’s inception in 2011, over 50 corporate partners have pledged their support. As the above-the-line agency to 49M, Saatchi & Saatchi Johannesurg has also made its pledge to 49M by installing energy efficient lighting and motion sensors within its offices.

Creative Director for the TVC was Alison Standsfield-Franks, Art Director was Steve Dirnberger, Copy Writer Kate Glover and Agency Producers Silke Gehring and Leigh-Ann Harris.

For more information, visit, or view the ad at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here