I’m a conceptual copywriter with decades of demanding experience - nine of them as a dedicated freelancer servicing ad agencies, and 10 years of running my own agency.

My background

I graduated with an Industrial Psychology and Economics degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg); followed by a post-graduate Higher Diploma in Journalism from Rhodes University.

I cut my copywriting teeth at Ogilvy in Joburg in 1984, under the inspirational Robyn Putter (who went on to become Executive Creative Director for the international Ogilvy Group).

In 1987 I moved to Botswana to avoid military conscription in SA and opened my own ad agency called The Write Stuff. After four years I moved to Amsterdam for three thrilling years until returning to South Arica in 1993 to experience the rebirth of a country.

Freelancing

I freelanced for the next five years in Joburg and Cape Town – focusing on locum work, pitches, and specialist projects for a number of the biggest agencies in the country – including Ogilvy, FCB, DDB, J Walter Thompson, The White House, Bates, Young & Rubicam, McCann-Ericsson, Publicis, Berry Bush and King James.

In this period I won a number of awards (both local and international); landed a number of high-profile accounts; and did some occasional lecturing, mentoring and skills development work for emerging copywriters.

Finding a home

In 1998 I launched a niche ad agency in Cape Town called Ethos Advertising that specialized in IT and business-to-business advertising. After 5 years the dreaded dot-bomb hit, and Ethos got cocooned for 3 months of navel contemplation… only to re-emerge in 2003 as BrandsHatch: a boutique agency specializing in launching new brands into markets, and incubating them.

Copy on Tap HQ

In 2007 my design partner got headhunted to a studio in the UK; and a year later my managing partner followed his heart (and his wife) and joined the film industry.

I used this as an opportunity to walk placidly away from the monthly routine of paying staff, non-paying clients, spreadsheets and leave applications - to pursue a solo career once again as a freelance copywriter.

Lost the staff but kept the office. Turned it into a creative kibbutz - sharing the space, expenses (and occasional projects) with other freelancers and self-employed creatives.

I now spend my days writing, researching, emailing, chatting, brainstorming, drinking coffee, and focusing on what I do best.

  • UPDATE: After 11 years I finally moved out of Wale Street, and into a new studio in Woodstock - 202 Side Street Studios, 48 Albert Road. Instead of a bottle store next door, I now have a bakery and sorbetiere downstairs - don’t know which is more dangerous. Thanks for reading BTW.