Veg­etable soup

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

THERE’S NOTH­ING God­frey Mor­ley loves more than watch­ing cab­bages grow. And beet­root, spinach, pota­toes and brin­jals. And about 15 other veg­etable va­ri­eties he grew on an 80sq m patch in his Jo­han­nes­burg gar­den. It’s a far cry from the hurly-burly su­per­fi­cial­ity of the ad­ver­tis­ing world – but a wel­come es­cape.

Mor­ley, a bluff, like­able man, re­cently be­came MD of Draft­fcb Cape Town. It’s his sec­ond stint with the agency, af­ter his ap­point­ment as Jo­han­nes­burg MD in 2006 fol­low­ing a chance meet­ing with Draft­fcb’s then CEO Neil van der Weele on a game drive at Thorny­bush. But barely a year later Mor­ley moved on to the tourism divi­sion of Thebe In­vest­ments. Money was as­sumed to be the mo­tive, but Mor­ley in­sists the more im­por­tant rea­son was the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in the Soc­cer World Cup.

“It was an op­por­tu­nity I couldn’t turn down,” he says. “It will never oc­cur again in South Africa in my life­time – and prob­a­bly not in Africa. It was a won­der­ful learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

A Dur­ban BCom, most of Mor­ley’s ex­pe­ri­ence has been on the client side, with Cal­tex, SA Brew­eries, McDon­ald’s and Sam­sung. Wel­comed back into the agency world – “with open arms” – he’ll now be re­quired to put to good use the ex­pe­ri­ence he’s gained in a peri­patetic ca­reer. He’s en­joy­ing the chal­lenge. “The busi­ness chal­lenge is to get growth through in­creased pen­e­tra­tion in a shrink­ing mar­ket. There’s a drift to­wards non-tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing. With few big ac­counts on of­fer, you find your­self com­pet­ing more with small op­er­a­tions.”

Mor­ley has set him­self three main ob­jec­tives: to sta­bilise the agency and struc­ture it for growth, to build a ro­bust dig­i­tal ca­pa­bil­ity and to pro­duce work rel­e­vant to black con­sumers. “I’ve been get­ting the right peo­ple in the right po­si­tions and now we need to start chas­ing rev­enue growth. There’s an op­por­tu­nity in Cape Town to po­si­tion us as the agency that gets it right.”

And, at 44, he says it’s time to stop mov­ing.

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