The Story behind Digital Edge 2015

2015’s Digital Edge Live was focused on storytelling; especially in the digital space. Our own storytelling champion (and Quirk’s Executive Creative Director), Fran Luckin, was there to share some of her best-loved stories, and offer some words of wisdom to the keenly listening audience.

Touching on how stories in the digital space don’t necessarily need to be expensive, and how it is a great way to get your audience to participate in co-creating your story, Fran reiterated the fact that “If you aren’t trying to create a great narrative, your audience will do it for you”.

What it comes down to for Fran is not just filling the digital space, but actually making it come alive. How your story unfolds depends on how you pull people into it.


Read the rest of Fran’s explanation here.

Where Cultures Meat

Text: Michelle Marais

Although the day itself has been of significant meaning to the Zulu for a number of years, Heritage Day is a fairly new holiday to the South African public. Before 1995, the 24th of September was celebrated in KwaZulu-Natal as Shaka Day; a day honouring the legendary Zulu king Shaka who played an enormous role in uniting the disparate tribes of South Africa.

When the South African parliament was considering the bill of public holidays, Shaka Day was omitted. But following protests by the Inkatha Freedom Party (which had a large Zulu representation), a compromise was reached and the day was renamed Heritage Day and included in the bill with the purpose to encourage South Africans to celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions.

In 2005, a media campaign sought to rebrand Heritage Day as National Braai Day but the name was short-lived and was replaced with Braai4Heritage in 2007. On 5 September 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Emeritus Archbishop Doctor Desmond Tutu was appointment as Braai4Heritage’s patron. The initiative also received the endorsement of South Africa’s National Heritage Council (NHC). On 2 September 2008, whilst cooking steak at a Braai4Heritage launch event, Tutu said, “Countries with strong social cohesion become strong nations. This is why it is important to celebrate our common national heritage through truly South African features. And what is more South African than shisa nyama?”

Both Heritage Day and the subsequent Braai4Heritage initiative have played a big role in motivating South Africans to celebrate their diversity as well as their common roots. We asked a few of Quirk Cape Town’s brave, curios minds what Heritage Day means to them, and why, whether they’re having a braai, shisa nyama or ukosa, it’s important to cherish this tradition.

In celebration of Heritage Day this year, Cape Town’s Quirkstars went back to their roots by dressing up in cultural attire and sharing some traditional cuisine with each other. As judged by our office presidents Matt Willis and Anne Pao, the prize for Best Traditional Outfit went to Account Director Nikki Depene who proudly wore her German dirndl, while the prize for Best Traditional Treat went to Front-End Engineer Kapeesh Manilal who delighted with his Indian snacks: mithai and samosas.
Heritage Day

Here’s to Nelson Mandela, Dr. Christian Barnard and Steve Biko,
to the Drakensberg, Wittenberg and Table Mountain,
to the oceans, Atlantic and Indian,
to the Karoo, the Kalahari and the Kruger,
to rugby, cricket and soccer,
to biltong, bobotie and koeksisters,
to all eleven official languages and the people who speak them.
Here’s to many more years of celebrating Mzansi’s magic.


We all lived in a yellow submarine

It all began with a simple request.
Client “We need a new website”
Quirk “Deffo, but why?”

It was true, the Savanna Cider site was outdated, the brand had a new look and feel, new markets and variants had emerged, they were on the verge of launching new packaging and, well, it was 2015. Totes legit, but of course we needed a solid strategy to guide the project. And so began the process of unpacking the brief, workshopping with the client and internal stakeholders and the development of a strategic summary framework that used various considerations to inform objectives and ultimately allow us to create a vision for the website.

At the end of the day, we knew that we needed to upgrade the look and feel, enable RM, create an overarching channel hub, create excitement about and launch the new bottle, reimagine the website (but make sure it was mobile focused) and cater for a bunch of different markets – not a small task.

But this post is less about what we developed and more about our approach to developing it. At Quirk, we’ve learnt that complex projects need focus, a solid strategy and clear KPIs, an agile approach and clean communication lines. So a core team comprised of an art director, designer, front and back end engineer, UX specialist and copywriter moved into a war room fondly referred to as the Yellow Submarine.


Over the next few weeks we filled the walls with scamps, inspiration, timelines, to do lists, questions and art direction. But how we would decide to use technology to aid our development was the most exciting part for me. From the start we decided that the need for a front facing CMS would be integral as we required a really simple way for all of the different parties responsible to produce and publish content for Savanna’s content across various regions. We also knew that we weren’t interested in templates per say, but rather pieces of functionality and content that we could pick and choose to use where we saw fit. So we developed a range of widgets based on the site goals and art direction. The vast majority of the site is built using these editable widgets which makes future development or changes exceptionally easy.

This approach meant that the typical process of developing a spec, getting wireframes, writing a copy deck, then designing, then building, then testing (and all the rounds of feedback that come in between each one of those steps), then iterating was eliminated. Being physically close (sometimes a bit too close) gave the team focus and allowed for discussion, heated arguments, iteration and ultimately a better product.

Every morning we had a stand up meeting with fly by visitors from strategy, project management and client service where we reviewed what we’d done the day before, what we were doing that day and what was holding us back. Our client also came in weekly to review what we’d done and answer any questions. Because by the end of the project our client had been so close to work, client feedback was minimal and the internal team testing feedback (aka the biggest ball ache of any project) was almost zero.

At the end of the day, we’d produced 14 websites (one of which was in Portuguese), launched a pack upgrade campaign and walked away, not only having not killed one another, but with a deeper understanding of each others specialties and some serious knowledge to take into future projects.

But enough about that, check out the work:


But what of the results?

  • The website is building strong loyalty among consumers, the retention rate has increased by 209%.
  • There’s a very strong sign up conversion rate on the site – 39% higher than on the old site.
  • Share of sessions on mobile devices has increased from 19% on the old site to 27% on the new adaptive site that was built to be mobile first.


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