Adnet, Johannesburg, RSA

The first thing that struck me as I walked through the door of Adnet’s office in Douglasdale was how chilled everything was. Granted the aircon was at max, but sitting directly in its flow was Paul Hanly, one of two brothers that run the place, and he was laughing and joking with his colleagues when I walked in. I was quickly involved in the joviality and made to feel at home immediately. These people like to have fun while they work … and why not? They run a successful agency and they’re at the top of their game so they have a lot to laugh about.

Paul himself runs the business side of things at Adnet, but the company was actually founded by his brother Ant in 1993, following the success of the agency in California prior to that. In the fifteen years that have passed, the company has grown steadily and organically and now ranks as one of the premiere agencies in South Africa with strong local and global ties. Ant Hanly himself has won 11 international awards and as creative director he’s well placed to bring out the best in his expert team.

With clients as world-renowned as Pricewaterhouse, Canon and Nestlé there clearly is a serious side to Adnet and I quickly became aware of the quality of their work as I looked through their portfolio, covering all aspects of advertising, marketing and communication both above and below the line. Their web experience is also extensive and executed and maintained in-house, with the aid of up-to-the-minute data from Mindshare and their own detailed databases which provide feedback both for themselves and their clients as to the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Creatively daring yet well aware of budgetary and branding boundaries, Adnet tend to offer a number of potential marketing solutions to any brief they receive from a client, working closely with the customer and garnering as much of their input as possible before presenting their proposals for approval. Once finalized, the campaign, in whatever medium required, is then costed out and purchased through the buying power of Mindshare, allowing them to make considerable savings.

Adnet’s philosophy is “to produce creative and meaningful advertising”, and there is also a very strong emphasis on value for money. They look at all aspects of a client’s business, from conception of a product or service and target market research and analysis, through production, packaging and distribution, as well as brand development and communication through a variety of media, and longer term strategic projection. In short, they will look at your business from every angle and then work out the best way for you to market it both in terms of creativity and cost. Saving money is as important as creating sales in their eyes and with the likes of Pricewaterhouse on board, you can see they know what they’re talking about.

What really blew me away though is the actual end product. They have originated some of the best campaigns I’ve seen in Africa and coupled with the fact they use some world-class talent in the form of the various designers, photographers, AV studios and event organisers in their extended family of talent, as well as SADA repro-house of the year 2006, Hot Dot Print, the results are truly stunning. You’ve seen them already, probably every day, but to find out which check out their website at

As my time at Adnet came to an end, I cast my mind back to my own first stumbling steps as a junior copywriter in London and recalled how much fun we had back then coming up with ideas – some of them outlandish in the extreme – then actually seeing them come to life and being born as advertisements, marketing campaigns or promotional events. “To think, I actually get paid for this!” was what passed through my mind every day … and for a fleeting second I wondered if they had any jobs going …

It’s a great business to be in and Adnet are among the best at what they do : making your business their business.



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