A familiar face returned to the QuirkStation!

Daniel Becker, CEO of No Danger Diaries presented to us at University of Quirk last Friday.

No Danger Diaries shared all their adventures and accomplishments, and inspired us QuirkStars to have fun and bring some joy to someone else’s world!

Watch No Danger Diaries’ inspiring and fun-filled presentation here:



New African clients and the lessons we’ve learnt

There is a shanty town in Lagos called Makoko. There are over a hundred thousand people living in huts on stilts suspended above the water on the Lagos Lagoon, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean. They have no running water and no electricity. But there are estimated to be a few hundred TV satellite connections run off battery power.

In East Africa, Kenya has a smartphone penetration rate of more than 60% by some estimates. This, even when the cost of the average smartphone in the country (~$80) is greater than the average monthly salary of a Kenyan (~$70).

Kenya also has a mobile payments system the envy of the world, MPESA, where over 30% of the Kenyan GDP flows through it – more than 67% of the adult population in fact.

In Uganda we were privileged to work with a client that ran a USSD campaign and achieved over 2 million registrations.

In Zimbabwe we are building ecommerce sites, despite the socio-political woes.

We have a pan-African client that delivers  a music library of 1.7mn songs via mobile phones.

While we are privileged to have such exciting clients and to have had opportunities to gain these insights, they are by no means, rare. In fact, lots of these kinds of campaign and technology breakthroughs are blossoming across the continent.

Justin Spratt running capability training in Mozambique

Justin Spratt running capability training in Mozambique

Who says Africa is behind technologically? At Quirk we have been lucky enough to do business across the continent and from where we sit, we simply don’t agree with this. Sure, on some levels it is true: Internet access is lower and access to computers far less than the developed world. But mobile penetration rates are almost as high as the West and it only takes small decreases in data costs to see demand for Internet data explode. In fact, we have done some rough math at Quirk and as a percentage of mean monthly income, African’s spend more on data than most parts of the world. Africa is a continent that loves to communicate.  And despite low incomes and high data costs, we are still building banking systems on mobile networks, we still demand content media in large supply despite the prohibitive costs,  we are still collecting revenue from the internet and we have learnt to build very large customer databases using old-school GSM mobile technologies.


I would say Africa, in some respects, is ahead of the world technologically. I’m incredibly excited to see Africa’s future unfold.


A word from our agencies

Cape Town – by Conn Bertish

Quirk Cape Town has had a big year…. A three thousand two hundred and nine meter-squared, big year (figure not including the 2.37m stacked tower of awards also won during 2014).

We moved, thank goodness, from our Boulevard favela to our new 3 story+ Babylon hanging rooftop bar, canteen hugging, coffee shop wrangling, craft beer infused, skate park bedecked new building at the center of the world: a mere 500 meters from Cape Town’s infamous Salt River Circle of love: The QuirkStation.

ct office

We channeled the lotus flower, fanning brand teams across the wide expanse, peppered with hipster wooden rooms-within-rooms and the chic lean-too vertigo inducing boardroom window. We were home at last, for even Matt D and Scott G had a place to play- an experimental tech lab. Taya too was in heaven, listening through the walls of her new user-experience lab to the whoops and explosions of cheer as we won three birds at the Loeries, a gold at the Smarties awards and a quiver of Assegais, at the Assegais.

It’s seems our new clothes are fitting, and things look up.

Quirk Cape Town is in the hood.

Jozi – by Simon Lloyd

You know it’s been a long year when you look back and you remember 12 months filled to the brim with client pitches and hard graft. Wrestling the balance of creating great work for your existing clients, whilst working on pitches is a tough but necessary process for all agencies.  A really tough year is one filled with back-to-back pitches and no wins. A galvanising year is when you secure some great new brands to work with and feel like all the hard work is paying off.

Quirk Jozi celebrating the McDonalds win

Quirk Jozi celebrating the McDonalds win

Quirk Jozi has the pleasure of leaping into 2015 with McDonalds, Airtel and Sasol under our belt. We are really excited for what next year holds and as I reflect on 2014, my overriding feeling is pride in our team who have worked their bits ‘n bobs off, I salute you and all our clients.

Durban – by Neil Vose

Despite a rather bumpy start to the year (due to the loss of a key account), the first full business year for Quirk Durban has witnessed a huge amount of positive change across the agency; new QuirkStars, new clients and a burgeoning profile locally.

Notable successes include the development of key relationships and brand campaigns across Unilever and RCL Group, plus a string of project work for the likes of Mr Price and Earth Touch – all achievements that the entire Durban team deserve credit for.

Neil Vose, Durban’s MD, taking the keynote slot at Durban Digital Day

Neil Vose, Durban’s MD, taking the keynote slot at Durban Digital Day

It is clear that opportunities for client growth happen mainly because brand owners gravitate towards people with passion, professionalism and commitment to digital results. Quirk’s Durban Stars have all of this, in spades, and the pipeline this provides us for 2015, is very encouraging. I’d also like to recognise the support that Durban receives, from the other Quirk agencies, that enables this growth. Thank you all, without your assistance, we could not do what we do.

We are excited about the opportunities that 2015 will afford us, specifically across four areas:

  • Solidifying our digital retail shopper credentials
  • Developing razor sharp consumer behavioural insight
  • Creating stunning always on content assets
  • Helping companies navigate across their digital transformation agendas

Lastly, as well as celebrating our current team, I’d also like to remember that 2014 saw the passing away of one of us. Our thoughts are with her family over this Xmas time.

Ngibonga and Ukhisimusi Omnandi.

London – by Carlos Menezes

The need for digital literacy has been present and evident for many years now (indeed, a lot of Quirk London’s work to date has been in building capability in this space), but 2014 was the year where it has truly solidified as a strategic initiative for global brands.

Having partnered with a number of exciting new clients, Quirk London’s Capability offering has seen the team engage in full swing with a number of fascinating projects. From training in Poland, to coaching in Cambridge, consulting in Jamaica and helping to centralise a global business, the team have remained as focused as ever on increasing our clients’ digital capabilities.

Live stream Justin Spratt from Quirk South Africa for Social Media Week in London

With the combination of commercial and digital skills in greater demand than ever before, I am thrilled to say that we have been able to grow a team of truly remarkable industry stars. It is their hard work that has brought praise from our clients and made an undeniable impact on their businesses.

The team here believe that embedding knowledge in our clients’ organisations is the best way to drive forward momentum and – in the face of such positive change – it is a delightfully rewarding pursuit to harbour.

As we look ahead to 2015, I am conscious of how lucky I am to work with a group of individuals that combine such vision and determination and have delivered such tremendous results.

Our clients are certainly looking to further evolve their businesses, and we look forward to partnering them into yet another exciting year.


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