Ster-Kinekor ‘Open Eyes’ Strikes A Chord At May/June Creative Circle Awards


FoxP2 was awarded a first in the Digital Category and a second in the TV/Cinema/Online Video category at the May/June Creative Circle Awards for its Ster-Kinekor ‘Open Eyes’ campaign that reconnected South Africans with the magic of cinema through the eyes of a boy who had been blind for 10 years.

“With over 200 entries, and the last Creative Circle Awards before Loeries, the standard was very high. The jury found ‘Open Eyes’ a very moving winner,” said May/June Awards Chairperson and Ogilvy JHB Executive Creative Director, Marianna O’ Kelly.

The ‘Open Eyes’ campaign’s Creative Circle results build on its selection for Work To Watch and Best Of Reel by IDidThatAd judges Tseliso Rangaka and Pepe Marais. Says Ogilvy CT Executive Creative Director Tseliso Rangaka, “This is one of my favourite pieces out there at the moment. It has an honest simplicity that doesn’t overplay the heartstrings harp. I also commend Ster-Kinekor for stepping back and letting this heartwarming story take the lead. It’s a great way to remind people of the magic that is cinema.” Joe Public Founder and Chief Creative Officer Pepe Marais, says, “Those who know me know I have a soft spot for work that makes a meaningful difference. The Open Eyes piece for Ster-Kinekor is not just noble in its intent but is also magnificently executed by Dave Meinert. An idea that gives vision to a young man – now what can beat that?”

‘Open Eyes’, an idea two years in the making, started gaining momentum as soon as a suitable candidate for a double cornea transplant was found. That candidate was Philani Twala, a humble young man from Katlehong in the East Rand who had been blind since the age of five.

FoxP2 Creative Director Michael Leese-Rolfe shares: “We first went about documenting Philani’s story through loads of interviews with him, his family and friends. This helped us gain trust and allowed him to be open about his feelings around his disability. There was also extensive research done around his medical condition, the surgical logistics and production constraints. We spent twelve months documenting his life, eventually cutting down the footage and audio interviews into two, three-minute web films as the centerpiece for the campaign and the platform from which the call for South Africa to make recommendations on his a first movie experience ever went out. Due to our director Dave Meinert’s documentary approach, Philani comes across as his genuine self and that’s why the campaign has resonated on a scale we couldn’t have imagined.”

“The response from the public was simply amazing,” says Bradley Knowles, General Manager of Marketing for Ster-Kinekor Theatres. “Philani’s story touched hearts all around the country as South Africans embraced the campaign, posting their suggestions on our Facebook and Twitter pages. It proved to be quite a task collecting all the suggestions. While movies such as Star Wars and Fast and Furious 7 were popular choices, the clear winner was Avatar – and we can understand why.”

The integrated campaign executed across multiple mediums saw Ster-Kinekor cinema attendance exceeded targets by 17% over the campaign period. The campaign recorded 50 million online impressions with an earned media figure of over R14 million, more than twenty times the campaign budget. Philani was featured on the front page of The Star newspaper and even appeared as an interviewee on SABC news. Donations to Vision Mission increased by a staggering 60%.

“This has been the most rewarding project I’ve ever worked on. To see two years’ worth of commitment from client, agency, director and production house culminate in these kind of results, it reminds you why you got into the industry in the first place” says FoxP2 Executive Creative Director, Justin Gomes.

It was a strong Creative Circle Awards showing for FoxP2 all round with its National Geographic Kids ‘Stickers’ campaign being recognized in the press category, along with its ‘HIV Kills’ campaign for WeTheBrave. FoxP2’s ‘Just Enough Energy For Teens’ Dairy campaign was also awarded in the TV/Cinema/Online Video Category.

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