Surfing in the Amazon


When Investec Asset Management asked Ireland/Davenport to come up with a truly unique and captivating concept for a campaign and to look for something genuinely beautiful and out of this world, they found their answer in the Amazon.

The seven-year-old Johannesburg-based advertising agency was tasked with creating a commercial for Investec Asset Management. The core creative idea was developed around the fact that Investec Asset Management, with its unique perspective and heritage, is able to find investment opportunities in places where others may not even think to look. Understanding this ethos, Ireland/Davenport was motivated to find an opportunity for Investec Asset Management that encapsulated just that.

They found one. Every year, a remarkable event occurs in the Amazon jungle. As the tides in South America change, a tidal wave makes its way up the Amazon River from the ocean. The Pororoca wave is formed by the battle between the river flowing toward the ocean and the ocean tides pushing upriver, creating every surfer’s dream – an endless wave.

“We realised that such a rare natural occurrence can be connected with what Investec Asset Management is doing for its clients – finding opportunities in the most unexpected places. We knew that we had to shoot the Pororoca wave,’ comments John Davenport, executive creative director at Ireland/Davenport.

“The concept was incredible but the challenge lay in actually shooting the ad. Not only does this wave occur in the Amazon (over 9,000 kilometres from South Africa) but it only happens once a year, for three days.’

The team flew via San Paulo to Macapa (a tiny town on the banks of the Amazon) where they met the director and local production company. After gathering some footage on the ground, they hopped on a rather dilapidated old wooden boat for a 13 hour trip to reach the perfect location to shoot the wave.

“The experiences on the boat were challenging. We slept in hammocks on the deck under the stars surrounded by mossies, the monsoon rain and shared one bathroom with close to 40 crew but it was an unbelievable experience,’ says Ursula Van Zyl, Business Unit head, Ireland/Davenport.

Shooting the wave was by no means a simple task. The team needed to organise three speedboats, a jet ski, three Zen surfers, the camera crew, helicopter cameras with various lenses, boat pilots who couldn’t speak English and everything in between – such as dealing with the rain and the heat – all the while knowing that they only had one chance to shoot the wave.

“It was nerve wracking but we were thrilled when we finally got the footage we needed. It was a true privilege to see this untouched part of the world and experience it with such amazing people, while being part of such an exceptional project,’ continues Davenport.

The commercial highlights some of the most beautiful characteristics of the Amazon jungle, from the pink dolphins, to the people who live there and of course the diverse wildlife and unscathed scenery. Featuring Sergio Laus (world champion Pororoca wave surfer), the ad documents him truly enjoying the beauty of the Pororoca wave and surfing this never ending wave to his heart’s content.

“Huge credit goes to every single person who was involved in putting this phenomenal commercial together. It would not have been possible without the dedication from our teams, the trust of our client and the foresight for this idea,’ concludes Davenport.

The commercial can be found online by visiting The view is to feature the ad on TV and in cinema in the New Year. The credit list includes art director Gina Anderson King, copywriter Anthea Weber, director Andrew Kyriakou, producers Liesl Karpinski and Rob Neuhold and client service managers Ursula Van Zyl and Ryan Livie.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here