The first job of advertising is to get seen and noticed. Otherwise, what’s the point?

With the South African economy being on the ropes as it is, many advertisers are faced with shrinking budgets and the added pressure of making their advertising work for them. When faced with this kind of pressure, it’s easy to look at digital advertising and social media to deliver the results as it’s supposedly “cheaper” and “more effective”.

But is it?

I’ve spoken with a number of advertisers recently – business owners and brand managers alike – who bemoan the fact that despite being active on social media, and spending money on online marketing, their ROIs have not been mindblowing.

As someone who has been in the advertising industry for a good 30 years, I’ve never been one to suggest putting all eggs into the digital basket and cling – perhaps stubbornly, perhaps even naively – to the fact that a strategic mix of advertising media invariably produces the best results.

I have always been a fan of conventional media – newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, TV advertising, cinema advertising, and OOH (Out of Home) advertising in the form of billboard advertising.

Whilst I am obviously aware that readership of print titles has dwindled, and that with the never-ending plethora of screens now fighting for eyeball attention, buying advertising on TV has become complex, I do not buy into the “digital and social is everything” mantra.

In my opinion, the best advertising results from advertising strategically across multiple media over time.

The last two words in this are important ie over time.

I have often met with clients who want to see immediate results. (Perhaps understandable in this tight economy).
Advertising very seldom delivers instant results – unless you have an incredible offer, or – for example – a clearance sale with hugely discounted pricing.

Your target market will need to see your advertising a number of times before acting on it, so a campaign rather than a once-off advertisement somewhere will invariably work better for you.

Then, with regards “multiple media”.

Armed with a decent advertising budget, and in-depth market research so as to accurately define one’s target market, a marketing manager, brand manager or business owner should always look to reach the people within an identified target market in as many ways as possible. Once you know a person’s media consumption habits and have an understanding of how, when and where he or she watches TV, listens to the radio and reads print titles it makes it relatively easy to plan an advertising way forward.

An old school advertising-type I may be – after all, I’ve been a copywriter in advertising for a good 30 years now – but I’ve always had a soft spot for conventional media, especially if used correctly.

A good TV commercial can work wonders. Yes even in this digital age.
An eye-catching magazine or newspaper advertisement can gain the attention of many a jaded eye.
And strong creative work on a billboard can sell like no other advertising medium.

On the subject of billboards: I work with an OOH (Out of Home) specialist and can, though her, ascertain billboard availability throughout Southern Africa, and get discounted pricing in many instances.

Billboard owners often have unsold inventory – especially in these tough economic times – and are more open to negotiating now than they normally would be. From their perspective, it’s a case of rather than having a client than no client.

As someone running an advertising agency in JOhannesburg (albeit a, TINY…advertising agency), I have four skills – both honed over the years:

Conceptualising of creative ideas

So not only can I come up with single minded and strong creative work, I can try to obtain pricing that as a client, you may be able to afford.

Billboard advertising, street pole advertising, maxi pole advertising, washroom advertising, bus advertising, train advertising, taxi advertising, newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, TV advertising, cinema advertising, radio advertising…I can do it all, and I can do it less expensively than a lot of the big ad agencies out there.

Social media? Online advertising? PR? Not my strengths, although I could put you in contact with specialists in these fields. People who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Yes, they’re that rare…

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for a good 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic if you’d like to add him.

Harro Pallin blog pic

How to advertise a low-interest category product?

As an experienced Johannesburg-based copywriter (I wrote my first ad a good 30 years back), I’ve conceptualised ideas and written copy for many brands across many industries and categories – automotive, confectionary, industrial, hospitality, financial name it.

The majority of brands fall into either the “high interest” category or the “medium interest” category, and by this, I mean that the product or brand could either be of great interest or moderate industry to its intended target market(s). There are of course also brands that fall in the “low interest” category – Eskom and electricity, for instance -although naturally when there are power cuts or loadshedding, they become temporarily “high interest” until the power is restored and they revert to being of “low interest”.

Insurance is another “low interest”category. This is not to say that insurance is unimportant. It is important, especially in our country with its high crime rate and appalling number of motor accidents, but it’s not a product category generally viewed as exciting. Insurance is a grudge purchase. We buy it because we need it, not because we WANT it.

The same holds true of security products. And fencing (I’ll come back to fencing in a bit..)

A high interest or medium interest type of product typically is not difficult to advertise, from a copywriting point of view, anyway. Because the interest exists our task as copywriters is simply to come up with creative work (with our art directors and designers) that converts that interest into sales. This is done by communicating – creatively -the product or service’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

An example of a high interest product in South Africa? Nandos: a brand that has become synonymous with good advertising. Over the years, Nandos has become the benchmark for creative advertising in this country. It’s topical, irreverent, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. As a result, it’s liked across the divide. Many a time have I been in briefing sessions when the client says “I want a Nandos” ie a campaign that gets noticed and talked about – surely, the job of all advertising?

Now, unfortunately, not all products and product categories lend themselves to a “Nandos style of advertising”.

Some products are just deadly boring.

Take the product I made mention of earlier: fencing.

When I met with a fencing manufacturer in Pretoria last year to discuss their advertising requirements, I confess to having had doubts as to the best way to go about their marketing. After all, fencing is much like insurance: a grudge purchase – unexciting. It’s important, yes, and takes on added importance the morning after one’s property has been broken into.

Doubt aside, I set out to create advertising that a) would show the various products in the range b) highlight he company’s experience and capacity c) create awareness of the company and d) get the campaign noticed.

Points a, b and c were not difficult to achieve. Point e – creating a campaign that would get noticed – was the most challenging. How to make fencing (a low interest category if there was one) interesting is not the easiest job in the world.

The campaign I eventually presented to the client comprised a print advertisement (it would have worked well as a magazine ad or a newspaper ad), online banner ads and a series of billboards. (The billboard shown at the top of this blog articles was one of a series).

With the target market being game farmers and rural folk, and also, property developers and trustees of residential complexes in urban areas, the media agency I worked with proposed various print titles for the print advertising side of the campaign, and a selection of strategically-placed billboards to target the farming and game farming community.

A common denominator across all identified target buyers was their typically South African love for sport, and particularly rugby. The game farmer in the Free State would be an avid Free State rugby fan whilst the game farmer in Polokwane would be a Bulls supporter for sure. They would have a friendly rivalry. Both might have a need for fencing and would have a shared passion for rugby. For this reason, the outdoor (billboard) component of the advertising campaign largely took on a rugby theme to boost its “talkabality”. Other billboards in the series promoted the company’s ability to install one’s fencing requirements speedily, and anywhere in the country.

The fact that the client didn’t buy the campaign was a pity. In my opinion as an experienced advertising person and ad hoc marketing consultant, it would have worked well as it gave the fencing company a “tonality” and “character” – two things that would set it apart from other fencing manufacturers and keep the brand uppermind.

As a copywriter and hands-on creative resource, I’m all for topical advertising and humour in advertising – and count this as a decent piece of work.

If there are any marketers in the fencing industry wanting to see the campaign, I’d be happy to forward it. Just email me on with “fencing campaign” in the subject line.

At the end of the day, a low interest product needs good impactful advertising to generate interest. The last thing a boring product needs is boring advertising. Taking a different approach often pays off. It really is that simple.

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic.

Blog Thatcher

What South African political parties need in the run up to the election is some seriously good advertising.

If there’s one thing one can say about the current South African political landscape is that it lends itself to some strong and hard hitting advertising, and I must say, I’d love to play a part in it.

Not that I’m overtly political or support any particular political party.

I’m an advertising person through and through, and if there’s one thing I really like doing, is writing and creating ads that get noticed and talked about.

Political advertising is a form of advertising that any good creative copywriter would yearn to work on, simply because one is given so much free reign ie one can produce the type of hard-hitting advertising that is often not possible with (for example) fast moving consumer goods. This can be seen in advertising produced over the years, on behalf of political parties in the UK and US.

One campaign that has always stood out for me was the advertising produced for Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party in the 1980’s. Whether one liked what she and her party stood for or not, it was powerful advertising indeed-advertising that got her elected, in three consecutive elections.

The ad agency behind her party’s successes? Saatchi & Saatchi, led by two brothers from Baghdad, Charles and Maurice, who were virtually unknown when their powerful advertising campaign catapulted Margaret Thatcher into power.

The Saatchi & Saatchi agency shot to prominence with a poster that will forever live in the memory of “adlanders” the world over. It showed a dole queue snaking out from an employment office and disappearing into the distance. The headline? “Labour isn’t working”. The copy below read, “Britain’s better off with the Conservatives”. It was simple yet changed the course of politics in Britain, bringing the career of Prime Minister Jim Callaghan to an end, and ushering in the Thatcher era and 18 years of Tory Government.

Such is the power of advertising.

The Saatchi political campaigns have become the stuff of legend, studied by aspiring politicians and aspirants looking to create their own pieces of advertising history.

What this campaign did was alter how politicians viewed political election electioneering. Ad agencies were never really appointed to handle campaigns for political parties before the 1980s. Suddenly, political parties saw that powerful advertising could sway electorates in ways never before imagined and went out in search of ad agencies capable of turning out really good work.

Today, there’s nary an election devoid of advertising.

Now, I’m well aware that South Africa is not the UK or the US and that what may go there may well not work here. Those countries are first world in every respect, whilst only a small section of our electorate are first world in their thinking (the higher LSM’s, across the colour divide). The vast majority of the voting public are not. Advertising a political party in South Africa is more challenging than it might be in a first world country.

From an advertising perspective, it’s a good challenge to have though.

This South African election will be an interesting one, for as much as the ANC are expected to have an easier ride than when Jacob Zuma was at the helm, there are several issues that could cause their normally loyal voters to think twice.

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I’m not overtly political but I AM politically and economically aware, and I do a lot of reading.

The Land without Compensation issue is one that will not lie down and die, in my opinion. It’s an extremely divisive issue that will become an even bigger one as the elections draw closer.

Then there’s crime. Corruption. Racism. Power cuts. High unemployment. And an incredibly sluggish economy.

How the ANC will tackle these, or promise to tackle these, will be closely followed by the electorate. And its opposition. In particular, Julius Malema’s EFF – Musi Maimane’s DA.

The Freedom Front Plus? Well, they will be weighing in for sure – as will Patricia De Lille of the new GOOD political party, Kenneth Mosheu of the ACDP, Mosieu Lekota of COPE and the leaders of all the other South African political parties.

It will be an interesting election for sure, and all the issues mentioned here absolutely lend themselves to good strong advertising.

Typically, election advertising in Africa makes use of billboard advertising, street pole advertising, maxi pole advertising, bus shelter advertising and other forms of outdoor advertising. This, backed by radio advertising – and in the case of the larger political parties with bigger advertising budgets, TV advertising. Bulk sms will also play a role. I’m sure that this coming election in South Africa will see the same advertising media being utulised – but with a sizeable chunk of the budget given to online marketing in the form of social media.

Twitter, facebook and You tube advertising will all put their hands up, and with good reason. It goes without saying that good, strategic online marketing can do wonders if done correctly.

What I’m looking forward to seeing is either powerful and bold “in your face” advertising or more subtle “makes you think” type of advertising from the competing political parties. Both approaches could work well, but will need to be tailored to the different groupings making up an incredibly diverse South African electorate.

For sure, those ad agencies fortunate enough to have political parties as advertising clients will have their work cut out for them coming up with messaging that not only talks to this electorate, but as importantly, is understood by this electorate.

There’s fun to be had though, and for a copywriter like me, I look forward to seeing a few clever headlines playing their part! I’m envious for sure.

Gerard Kavonic is a copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and aside from his interest and involvement in Bitcoin, runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for a good 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic.

KH pic for recession blog

It’s a recession. Do you use a big advertising agency or a small advertising agency?

A difficult question to answer, this. It depends how big your business is, and your personal preference.
There are merits to both large ad agencies and small ad agencies.

By having a large advertising agency service your business, you will likely have a team working on your account, so if one or more members of the team are unavailable at any time for whatever reason, there will always be someone you can talk to.

This may of course also be true of a small ad agency, although it depends on the size of the small agency.

There are of course other benefits to having a big agency. By having a team working on your account, you can have them brainstorm a variety of ideas. With a small agency – or really small agency – with likely only one creative team, this is not always possible.

Then, with a large agency, you will likely have access to different departments ie media, creative, research, production etc. With a small agency, certain of these functions would be outsourced.

If you’re an ABSA, FNB, Liberty Life, Discovery, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Nandos, Famous Brands, Kelloggs or Clientele Life ie a big marketer with a sizeable advertising budget, you’ll likely have a number of agencies service your account. If yours is a small business, or a medium-sized business, your requirements will be simpler and would be better serviced by a smaller agency.

There are a number of really good small advertising agencies in Johannesburg and in many cases, they’re breakaways from larger agencies… by people who have served their time in the big agencies and who have tired of working for others.

(I know the feeling: after 5 or 6 years being a copywriter in a number of top ad agencies in Jhb, I had had enough of working evenings and weekends only to make others wealthy). A good 25 years later, I can look back at those years as an employee and count my blessings that I left when I did. I’ve had my own small ad agency, Kavonic Hone, for years now, working from home, and enjoying every minute of it.

Some of these breakaway agencies comprise seven or eight people, but they’re typically all experienced advertising folk, having cut their teeth in a multitude of discliplines. When I started on my own (together with my designer and art director), we had two or three staff and ran a tight ship. A few years later, my partner emigrated and I took stock of things: did I in fact want, or even need, staff?

Being a copywriter with an appreciation of good design and art direction, and with a decent business acumen, I decided I could do everything on my own – a realisation that saw me closing my offices and building an office at home.

Hence, the birth of This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone.
All these years later, I’m still working from home. Doing my thing, servicing my clients hands-on, with no staff and no need for staff. I work closely with an experienced graphic designer and an experienced media strategist – and I’d have it no other way.

I have a close relationship with my clients, and they trust me to get things done. If a client has a requirement, he or she knows that I’ll be available either on my landline or my mobile, and that if a meeting is required, I’ll make myself available for whenever suits.

While I work unapologetically from home, other small agencies prefer an office environment.
Regardless, working from home, like myself, or a slightly bigger advertising agency working from an office, it’s all good – and as a small or medium-sized business in need of advertising, you’re sure to find a small ad agency that you’d be comfortable dealing with.

With a small or smaller agency, you can expect:

A better and higher level of service
Quicker turnarounds
Lower fees
Generally-speaking, as good a level of creativity as any large ad agency.

Clearly, not all small agencies are equal, and some will be stronger creatively than others and quicker on the uptake than others.

The most important thing is “fit”. The more comfortable you feel with the agency, the happier you’ll be.

Things are undeniably tough economically in South Africa right now, and advertisers – especially small advertisers – are looking for more buck from their advertising rands. The bigger marketers are not exempt: budgets are being cut and questions are being asked: are big agencies actually necessary? Can one not get better, or as good as, from a smaller agency?

If this is you, a small – and experienced – ad agency would be best suited to your needs.

It all starts with Google and googling “small ad agency Johannesburg” or “small advertising agency Jhb” – assuming you’re in Johannesburg of course..

Gerard Kavonic is a copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and aside from his interest and involvement in Bitcoin, runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for a good 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic.

The importance of market research

Why TV Advertising? And why Radio Advertising? And why Billboard Advertising? And why Print Advertising, for that matter?

In my 30 years in the South African advertising industry, the one thing that always intrigued me is the subjective way that some advertisers approach their advertising.

There have been many times where I’ve sat across a boardroom table to be told by a client that the decision has been made to advertise during a certain TV program, for example, MNET’s Carte Blanche. Now, I have nothing against Carte Blanche (in fact, I think it an interesting and well-produced program and watch it weekly), but it’s the REASONING behind advertising on the program – and folks, I’m just using Carte Blanche as an example to illustrate a point here – that floors me….

The reason provided? Because the client (and his family) watch Carte Blanche every Sunday and make a point of never missing it..

Now, that is not a reason to advertise on a program…not in my opinion, anyway.

I’ve always believed that advertising needs to be approached scientifically. There is so much data and so much research – across most media – available in South Africa, that deciding where, and on which channels or programs to advertise on, based on subjective criteria or a whim, is often criminal.

Now, clearly, more sophisticated marketers (the large advertisers like Pick n Pay, Checkers, FNB, Unilever, RMB, Nandos, Investec, Discovery, Toyota, Kia etc) will absolutely undertake research or be guided by their advertising or media agencies before signing off on any media buy or media schedule, but it’s the medium-sized and smaller companies that often base their advertising decisions on a thumb-suck or gut feel. (Not all of the time, obviously but sometimes).

Coming back to the Carte Blanche example and my meeting with the client: I explained that yes, whilst the company’s target market may well view the program – no guarantees – there were other programs that would deliver a far bigger audience, and at less cost per viewer. I eventually won my argument, but not without explaining to the client that it was really risky planning his company’s advertising around his personal and subjective likes or dislikes!

I have in my time seen this scenario play out on many occasions, and often times, it’s due purely to a lack of knowledge on the part of the client. Truth is, many business owners and marketers are just not aware of the in-depth advertising research and data available. In this country, we have highly skilled researchers, working in either market research companies, media planning companies or in research departments of advertising agencies.

Researchers who upon being briefed can quickly advise as what type of research would be needed, depending on the budget and marketing objective(s).

To use an example: your business wants to launch a pool acid to rival HTH. You believe that the majority of sales would come from pool owners in Gauteng. You expect sales to peak just before summer, and feel that if your pool acid was priced below that of HTH’s pool acid, sales would pour in. On this basis, you come up with an advertising way forward.

Hopefully…HOPEFULLY….the sales do pour in…..but you’d be pinning your hope on what exactly? Guesswork?

The sophisticated marketer would research the heck out of things before chancing anything.

He or she would want to know, for example, how many pool owners there are in Gauteng? Where are they? How loyal are they to eg HTH? How open they might be to changing their brand of acid? When might they typically buy pool acid? And from where? Do they consider HTH pool acid to be reasonably-priced? If not, what price would they consider acceptable for a pool acid? etc etc.

Now, these are important questions and need to be asked. The more information you are equipped with, the greater your understanding of things and the better your chances of success in the market.

Answers to questions like these can be provided quickly through telephonic research or, for example, through focus groups – and I know a number of good market researchers in Johannesburg who would be able to conduct them.

Commissioning market research (especially for a new and untested product) is essential in my opinion. It doesn’t have to be costly, and it can save you from making costly marketing blunders down the line.

Any good advertising agency, when being briefed on eg the launch of a new product or brand should insist on knowing as much about your product or brand as possible. Your target market(s) too.

Who are you targeting? Where do they live? Who makes the buying decision? When and where do they make the buying decision? What is important about your product of brand that your target audience should know? What are their pain points? How could your product help relieve their pain? Why should they buy YOUR product?

If you haven’t done the necessary research, how would you know the answers to questions like these? And how would you be able to brief your ad agency correctly?

Fact is, the better your brief, the better the agency’s advertising recommendation – and the better the advertising creative resulting…

It’s all about input and output…

Too many (small) advertisers skip the research process as either a) they think they know their product and the market b) they’re in too much of a hurry to launch.

Good solid research can give you the ammunition to go into battle and win.
It can show you when to advertise, to whom to advertise, and most importantly, where to advertise…

TV advertising? Cinema advertising? Radio advertising? Billboard advertising? Street pole advertising? Maxi pole poster advertising? Newspaper advertising? Magazine advertising? Bus advertising? Train advertising? Facebook or LinkedIn advertising?

Or maybe none of the above..

Maybe in-store advertising would work harder for you? Or activations in shopping malls?

Without researching the market, without knowing, you’d be putting the success of your new product at risk..

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for a good 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service to small and medium-sized businesses. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic.

Want to buy bitcoin in South Africa or other countries in Africa? Because it’s easy.


Readers of my blogs (not that I have the time to plough out tons of them) may know that besides having a passion for advertising, I have an interest in blockchain technology and a passion for bitcoin. Bitcoin is a fascinating and disruptive technology, and besides having the potential to make people seriously wealthy, could also change the way we pay for things.

With the growing awareness – and interest in –  bitcoin as a means of remittance and a creator of wealth, more and more people in more and more countries are looking to buy the crypto-currency, and asking how and where they can buy it. The fact is, buying bitcoin (or BTC as it is more commonly known) is easy. All you need to do is search online for eg “Buying and selling bitcoin in South Africa or ““Buying bitcoin in Nigeria and Ghana”.  A no-brainer, I know.

I typically buy bitcoin on but there are two other reputable platforms in South Africa that one could try:

The interest in bitcoin is spreading across Africa – most notably:

in Kenya, where the more popular and trusted platforms are:

In Uganda, where sellers and buyers of bitcoin include:

In Nigeria, where the most trusted platforms are:

In Ghana, where most people turn to:

Just make sure that you do your due diligence before deciding who to buy your bitcoin from.

Before being able to purchase the currency, though, you’ll need to open a bitcoin wallet – which you’ll do when you register an account. Next step is to place your order, indicating how many BTC  you want. Once you’ve paid the amount shown, the bitcoin will be sent to your wallet. And you’re done. The whole process should take no more than a few minutes.

Buying bitcoin is a simple decision. A far bigger decision is: what to do with your bitcoin?

Spend it? Hold on to it? This is up to you, but if you had to ask me, I’d say: DON’T spend it but rather put it away and forget about it. (Or buy into a bitcoin mining pool, so as to increase the number bitcoin you hold).

At the beginning of last year, the bitcoin price was US$380. Today, it’s over US$1 000. Next year, it could be US$2 000. And the year after that, US$3 000. Of course, no-one knows for sure….but the fact that there can only ever be 21 million bitcoin in circulation means that the price will likely go up and up. Making it one of the best investments around.

It’s something you may want to keep your eye on.

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects, running a small – tiny – advertising agency in Johannesburg. He is also an ardent proponent of bitcoin and is an active member of BitClub Network. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and emailed on His skype address is gerardkavonic











Kavonic Hone. The First South African Ad Agency to Accept Payment in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin logoHaving been inkh-logo the ad industry for a good 29 years, I’ve long had a passion for advertising. And since being introduced to bitcoin a year ago, I’m sold on this too.

Fortunately, I can indulge in both by announcing that payments for my advertising and design services can now be made with the crypto-currency.

Realistically, I’m not expecting a rush of clients to take me up on the offer though – for the simple reason that bitcoin is not widely known in South Africa, and not well-understood either.

In time it will be, but for now, it’s regarded by Bitcoin logosome as some sort of “fad” (which it definitely isn’t) or as a currency associated only with “illicit activity”. (A misnomer if there ever was one). 

So what is bitcoin?  

In a nutshell, bitcoin is a crypto-currency allowing for an incredibly inexpensive and quick way of transacting and making payments. All transactions are transparent and appear on the Blockchain – a global public ledger – as they happen. (You can see how many people are transacting in bitcoin as you read this, by going to and viewing scrolling transactions in the bottom left corner of the screen).

In the US, more than 200 000 merchants already accept payment in bitcoin, and one can pretty much buy anything with it – from airline tickets to sea cruises, and from a coffee at Starbucks to an ipad on Amazon. 

And how does it work? 

For bitcoin to work, people – or businesses – need to open a Bitcoin wallet.

Bitcoin wallets can be opened on a number of online platforms – of which is one of the most common. Once you have a wallet, you need to purchase bitcoin, which you can do on one of three sites in South Africa:, and

Once you have bitcoin, you can make payments from your wallet to another wallet at the click of a button. In seconds, you’re done – payment made. 

In South Africa, there are already a number of merchants accepting bitcoin – most of them online shops. They include:  

  • BidorBuy
  • Takealot
  • Raru
  • Gadgetshop
  • GrowGuru
  • Silver Bananas
  • Landmark PC
  • Appliance Online
  • Runway Sale 

In time, there will be MANY more. 

With the price of bitcoin set to soar over the next few years (that’s a prediction, shared by many analysts around the world), more and more businesses will start to accept it as the uptake of the crypto-currency increases globally. Huge growth is already being seen in the likes of India, Malaysia, China and South Korea whilst a number of countries in Africa – particularly Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria – are starting to embrace blockchain technology, and with it, bitcoin.  

As more South Africans become aware of bitcoin and its advantages (there’s lots of information on the internet), uptake will increase. That’s a given. 

Until that happens though, I’m not expecting a whole bunch of clients knocking at my door, wanting to settle their bills in the currency.

For me, it’s good enough right now that they know that the option exists – and that by paying in bitcoin, they could get an up to 15% reduction on their bill – depending on the requirement ie logo design, brochure design, website design, radio commercial, TV commercial, billboard, street pole posters etc.

(And yes, I’d be happy to forward my pricing to anyone interested, showing pricing in rands and bitcoin (BTC). Email 

In the meantime, if you need help opening a bitcoin wallet or have any questions relating to bitcoin – or for that matter, the soon-to-be-launched bitcoin payment gateway, Coinpay – my contact details are below.  

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects, running a small advertising agency in Johannesburg. He is also an ardent proponent of bitcoin and is an active member of BitClub Network. He can be contacted on 083 444 9888 and emailed on 







Bitcoin. A Fad Or The Future?

al-gore ben-bernanke bill-gates1 eric-schmidt richard-branson david-marcus john-mcafee marc-andreessen


Suddenly, people are starting to talk about bitcoin. It’s all over the internet – with articles that are ebullient and some, that for whetever reason, are less so.

You’re either a believer or you’re not. Is it a fad? Or is it the real deal?

I’m just an advertising guy (and a biased one at that, in that I’m an ardent proponent of the currency)  so what do I know?

Only the following, after spending some time this past week with a person who has a deep understanding of crypto-currencies, and who was in South Africa to meet with interested local parties  – the American co-founder of BitClub Network, of which I’m an active member:

Bitcoin is currently used by a minute percentage of the global population, but is already priced at around US$740 per bitcoin (BTC).

The price of bitcoin is projected to go a LOT higher over the next few years. (With a fair bit of volatility on the way)

Bitcoin is being kept an eye on by Governments and banks around the world, who are trying to understand the implications of a quick and easy means of payment between individuals that can’t be controlled.

Bitcoin provides an incredibly inexpensive means of paying another person.

It is already accepted by more than 200 000 establishments in the US.

It can be used to purchase anything – from a coffee at Starbucks to airplane tickets on Emirates to a castle in Scotland.

Transactions are all recorded on the Blockchain, which is a public ledger open to all.

Bitcoin wallets can be opened by anyone at any time and cost nothing to open. In South Africa, a wallet can be opened on,  and 

One can easily buy or sell the crypto-currency on any of these platforms.

Some people who DO know about bitcoin include:

Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson.

Founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

Ex US vice-president, Al Gore.

CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt

Venture Capitalist and founder of Netscap, Marc Andreessen.

Founder of McAfee, John McAfee.

Former CEO of Paypal, David Marcus.

Co-creator of Facebook, Tyler Winklevoss.

Well-known entrepreneur, Eric Voorhees.

Former Chairman of the US Federal reserve, Ben Bernanke.

Here’s what they have to say about bitcoin.

Sir Richard Branson “Virgin Atlantic is a bold entrepreneurial technology. It’s driving a revolution and bitcoin is doing the same when it comes to inventing a new currency”                              “

Bill Gates “Bitcoin is a technological tour de force”                                           “

Al Gore  “I think the fact that within the bitcoin universe, an algorithm replaces the functions of Government, is actually pretty cool”                                       “

Eric Schmidt “Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value”                                   “

Marc Andreessen “At our venture firm, we continue to see an escalating stream of fascinating new bitcoin uses, cases and applications from entrepreneurs”      

John McAfee  “ You can’t stop things like bitcoin. It will be everywhere and the world will have to readjust. World governments will have to readjust“

David Marcus   “I really like bitcoin. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger. It’s a great place to put assets”                                                  “

Tyler Winklevoss    ‘We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error“

Eric Voorhees “Economists and journalists often get caught up in this question: why does bitcoin have value? And the answer is very easy. It’s useful and scarce”.

Ben Bernanke “Bitcoin may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system”                                                          “

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take a cue from people of this calibre than a broke next door neighbour who tells me that bitcoin is a fad and that I should stay clear of it.

Another clincher for me is something the co-founder of Bitclub Network pointed my attention to on the site – the number of reputable global firms and institutions that are actively – and currently – funding blockchain and bitcoin start-ups. One of which is The New York Stock Exchange, which for the first time in its 200 year history, is putting money behind an entity that is NOT listed.

Now THAT is  interesting….

Naspers too.

Interesting again…

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects, running a small – tiny – advertising agency in Johannesburg. He is also an ardent proponent of bitcoin and is an active member of BitClub Network. He can be contacted on 083 444 9888 and emailed on 




First Bitcoin Office Opens In Africa

Bitclub office

bitclub-office-pic bitclub-pic BitClub’s new offices in Johannesburg

Last Saturday saw Bitclub Network’s bitcoin office open on Malibongwe Drive in Randburg, Johannesburg. 

While Bitclub has been in South Africa for a little more than eight months, the opening of its offices in Johannesburg heralds a milestone in that it turns any perception that it’s some kind of elusive or  dubious network marketing opportunity on its head. By investing in a smart new two story building, credence is given to concrete ie that BitClub Network is a real business that’s invested in Africa and is here to stay.

By all accounts, the launch was well received with more than 450 people attending. (Only 250 people were expected). Many people attending were either members of BitClub Network eager to see the new offices, people who had heard about BitClub or people wanting to know more about bitcoin, and how to profit from it. 

So, what is bitcoin?  

Often referred to as BTC, bitcoin is probably the best-known and most widely-used crypto-currency. It works a lot like cash in that you receive it instantly when it’s sent. So if you have a bitcoin wallet and I have a bitcoin wallet (opening a wallet is simple and quickly done), I can in seconds pay you in BTC instead of, say, via an EFT. It’s cheap, quick and is already used by many people around the world. Every transaction is recorded on a public ledger called the Blockchain, and if you want to see how many people are transacting using bitcoin as you read this, go to and take a look at the bottom left corner of your screen… 

But this is just the start. As more and more people around the world become aware of blockchain technology, and bitcoin in particular, usage will increase. It’s just a matter of time, in my opinion. 

Already banks and other financial institutions are eyeing blockchain technology to see how and where they can make use of it, and IBM has predicted that by the second half of next year, a good 15% of the major banks around the world will have incorporated blockchain technology into their businesses. Whilst not to say that banks will necessarily use (or promote) bitcoin, it’s likely that the growing use of the technology will have a positive spin-off for BTC, which will result in more acceptance of the crypto-currency, wider usage of the crypto-currency – and a higher bitcoin price. 

As things stand, the price of one BTC is around the US$610 mark. 

See for the current price. 

Predictions vary as to the price of bitcoin in the future, but most analysts feel that prices will go up – and that in a few years, could be as high as US$2000 or US$3000. (A few predict a price of US$10 000 per BTC, in which case, a lot of people will make a LOT of money!!).

That said, no-one knows for sure and it’s really a question of supply and demand. The fact that there can only ever be 21 million BTC in circulation is the catalyst behind the prediction of these extraordinary forecasts. That said, people are excited by the possibilities, and hence, the growing interest. 

And when people like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and former US vice-president Al Gore make comments like: 

“I’ve invested in bitcoin because I believe in its potential and the capacity it has to transform global payments is very exciting”

“Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and of course for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient” 

“I think the fact that within the bitcoin universe an algorithm replaces the function of Government is actually pretty cool. I am a big fan of bitcoin”  

people sit up and take notice.  

Hence, no surprise at the number of people who turned up for the opening launch on Saturday. 

BitClub Network is essentially a network marketing opportunity, in which people pay and earn in bitcoin. (If you don’t have bitcoin, you can buy the currency on platforms like or But it’s not just for networkers. Many people have joined as investors, in which they pay a once-off membership fee, buy into a bitcoin mining pool and do nothing further than watch their BTC increase over time. 

It’s far better than just buying bitcoin and leaving them in a bitcoin wallet… 

By all accounts, people are joining BitClub in increasing numbers – and not just in South Africa, but in neighbouring SADC countries and further afield too ie Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and even Dubai. 

The South African office will be the launching pad into Africa, and knowing the person behind the entry of BitClub into South Africa as I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if other BitClub Network offices are opened in the years ahead 

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing of projects. Based in Johannesburg, he runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: and





Is Bitclub Network Only For Network Marketers?


As one of the people behind the launch of BitClub Network into South Arica and Africa, I’m often asked whether we cater for network marketers only – and the answer I give is: no, not at all. BitClub Network is for anyone who has an interest in, or believes in, bitcoin as a vehicle for wealth creation.

Whist BitClub Network has a network marketing component built-in (which appeals to the network marketers out there), one can quite easily join purely as an investor. Fact is, there are many South Africans who have joined as investors with no intention of “recruiting” others. And there is nothing wrong with this. 

What they do is pay their once-off membership fee (US$99) and then buy into one of the mining pools – of which there are three (Pool 1, costing US$500), Pool 2 (costing US$1 000). Pool 3 (costing US$2 000) or the Founder’s Pool (costing US$3 500). The Founder’s Pool equates to buying a share in all three pools  and many investors prefer buying straight into the Founder’s Pool, without first buying into the lesser pools. 

When an investor buys into a mining pool, what they are doing is buying mining equipment to “mine” bitcoin. This said, it’s really not important for you to know the technicalities or to understand bitcoin “mining” (although you’ll find a number of videos on the website and You Tube explaining the process  if you’re interested). 

Bitcoin mining is done on the investor’s behalf and profits from this mining activity are shared amongst the investors in that particular pool. Investors can choose to be paid daily or can select to  “store” their bitcoin for the period of their choice. The latter option is generally preferred as it compounds one’s earnings over time. 

The difference between the mining pools (besides from the cost) is the percentage paid out and the percentage re-invested to purchase newer mining equipment.

(Another difference is the number of “club coin” given to you – but more about this in a bit). 

Investors pay in bitcoin – and get paid in bitcoin (BTC). 

With the price of bitcoin currently at around US$600 per bitcoin (BTC) – .  go to for the latest price – we advise that you purchase as many bitcoin as you can and hold on to them. For the simple reason that there can ever be only 21 million BTC in circulation. So it’s a question of supply and demand. 

There are many analysts and crypto-currency “experts” who predict that the price of bitcoin could get as high as US$10 000 in 3 years – whilst there are others who believe it could be even higher. The fact is, no-one quite knows. 

My take on things is that even if BTC reaches a – relatively conservative – US$1 500 in 3 years, this is not a bad return. In which case, the advice is the same: BUY BITCOIN. 

There are a number of platforms in South Africa from which you can buy the crypto-currency: and 

My preference is for the latter, but only for the reason that this is the platform I’m familiar with. 

Once you’ve opened an account and created a bitcoin wallet, you can either: 

Leave your BTC in your bitcoin wallet and forget about them 


Use them to buy into a mining pool, so they can work for you. 

By buying into a mining pool, your bitcoin will grow over time.

You’ll also be given BitClub’s own “in-house” crypto-currency (ClubCoin) – free and gratis – as a thank you (so long as you buy in before the end of December 2016). 

(Note that whilst ClubCoin can be traded on the open market as we speak, it’s best to hold on to them as they WILL increase in value). 

Whilst bitcoin is a relatively new concept in South Africa, and not widely understood, we’re happy to meet with anyone interested so as to expand on the opportunity. 

The minimum investment would be US$599 – US$99 to join Bitclub Network and US$500 to buy into Pool 1. 

If you’re interested,  I’ve just put up a local site

Alternatively, you could mail me on    

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing of projects. Based in Johannesburg, he runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: and