The name Haas immediately suggests something symbolic. Fast, nimble and street-smart, perhaps, as you’d expect a hare to be. The hare and the tortoise spring to mind. But, no. It’s actually what Glynn Venter, the agency’s co-founder, called his childhood toy, which now resides in the agency. Those hare-like attributes are not inappropriate, however.
A year since start-up, Haas Collective is the holding company whose umbrella is shared by Haas Advertising Collective and Haas Coffee Collective. The coffee shop, in their traditional Malay building in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap, has already established a formidable reputation. Serving up to 200 cups a day of such R100-a-cup specialities as Indonesian kopi luwak, made from a coffee bean that has been eaten and eliminated (undigested) by a civet, it has been listed by design mag Wallpaper as one of 20 reasons to be in SA.
“We want to build the Haas brand, which is more than just the agency,” says co co-founder founder Glynn Venter. Venter r. “The different businesses feed off and co complement omplement each other. Coffee is a relevant symbol. Good conversation happens over coffee. It keeps you alert and efficient. And clients like to see that you can manage your own business.”
Another speciality of the house is Francois de Villiers, the legendary copywriter who has made likeable advertising his home turf. (Millward Brown rated his “signwriter” commercial for Spur as SA’s best-liked spot last year.) “Yebo, gogo” for Vodacom and Klipdrift’s “Met eish” are other iconic ads of his. He and Venter have worked together as a creative partnership for 10 years at Draftfcb. At 60, De Villiers says he’s been rejuvenated by the move, the first time he’s set up his own agency.
In 17 years with Draftfcb, he was “the most loyal of the loyal”. But with retirement looming, “I had to think about my Plan B. I couldn’t just go and paint. You have to do what you are good at, and I had to do something for myself. And where I could make a difference. My work is my life.”
When Draft won the Wimpy account it had to give upu up Spur, opening the door for De Villiers, w who had worked closely closelyely with
Francois de Villiers