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 www.kavonichone.co.za 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 gerard@kavonichone.co.za 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 www.localbitcoins.com 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 more@bitclubnetwork.co.za 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 www.blockchain.info 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 www.localbitcoins.com 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: www.localbitcoins.com, www.altcointrader.co.za and www.bitx.co.za

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 gerard@kavonichone.co.za 

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 more@bitclubnetwork.co.za 







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 www.localbitcoins.com, www.altcointrader.co.za  and www.bitx.co.za 

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 blockchain.info – 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 more@bitclubnetwork.co.za 




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 www.blockchain.info 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 http://www.coindesk.com/price/ 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 www.localbitcoins.com or www.altcointrader.co.za). 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 www.kavonichone.co.za He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See www.bitclubnetwork.co.za He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: gerard@kavonichone.co.za and more@bitclubnetwork.co.za





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 www.bitclubnetwork.com 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 http://www.coindesk.com/price/ 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: www.altcointrader.co.za  www.bitx.co.za and www.localbitcoins.com 

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 www.bitclubnetwork.co.za

Alternatively, you could mail me on more@bitclubnetwork.co.za    

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 www.kavonichone.co.za He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See www.bitclubnetwork.co.za He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: gerard@kavonichone.co.za and more@bitclubnetwork.co.za


How Is Bitclub Network Going In South Africa?

Bitclub office

Started eight months ago by a lady in Johannesburg who had heard of bitcoin (BTC) and was intrigued by it, BitClub Network South Africa is growing in leaps and bounds.

Whereas the first few meetings were (predictably) not that well-attended, these days there’s scarcely a seat to be had in the weekly BitClub Network presentations. This is partly due to the magnetism of the lady in question (the hardest worker I have EVER encountered) and partly due to the interest in bitcoin. Not that people understand it, of course….

Bitcoin is an interesting concept, and it’s one that people either choose to embrace or stay away from entirely. (Those that do the latter in all likelihood feel that it’s not something that they will ever quite understand, and if they can’t understand it, they’ll stay away from it. Which is all well and good. Some people are more open-minded than others and this will always be the case).

So what is bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin is the first decentralised digital currency that works peer-to-peer without needing a bank or central repository. It’s a global currency that uses a public ledger to record transactions being sent from one person to another. This all happens without the involvement of a bank and it’s not controlled by any government, regulating body or person. All transactions are completely transparent and thousands of copies of the ledger are kept across a distributed network of computers.

It’s a currency that nobody can control and it’s for this reason that it is generating the kind of interest that it is. Bitcoin works a lot like cash in that you receive it instantly when it’s sent and once you have it, you have it. This makes bitcoin a truly revolutionary peer-to-peer system that is designed to get even better as more and more people start using it.

Still confused? That’s fine. All you need to know is that it works, it’s legal and it’s the way of the future!

In the meantime, here are some of the questions most often asked:

Is BTC not used for illicit activity?

The answer is that whilst it has been used for sporadic illicit activity in the past (for purchases of drugs in the US, for instance), so too has the US dollar and other fiat currencies. The sad reality is that we live in a world of dishonesty, criminality and corruption and bitcoin’s ease of use is sometimes taken advantage of. On the positive side, a good 98% of bitcoin usage is ethical and honest.

Is BTC not MMM?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. (I put this in capital letters to knock this misconception on the head!!). Whilst MMM made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the only reason why bitcoin is sometimes associated with MMM is because MMM allowed payments in bitcoin. Bitcoin is a currency. It has nothing to do with MMM.

Where could one spend bitcoin?

If you were in the US, for instance, you’d be able to spend BTC in thousands of places, and for a multitude of things – from a coffee at Starbucks to an airline ticket to London. In South Africa, we’re at the very early stages. As things stand, you could make purchases on, for example, BidorBuy using bitcoin. And you could pay people, using BTC. In time, you’ll be able to buy pretty much anything. In fact, if you apply for a Visa Xapo card from http://www.xapo.com/ you could load your bitcoin onto the card and use the card for purchases from Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Edgars or wherever you want, right now.

There’s tons of information on bitcoin on the internet, so if it’s of interest to you, check it out.

But back to BitClub Network.

A global wealth-building platform for the digital currency market, BitClub Network allows people to earn profits from its shared mining pools. There’s also a referral program through which members earn by introducing other people and building their teams– network marketing, in other words (but NOT a pyramid scheme!!!).

It started about two years in the US and was then taken to Malaysia, where it just exploded. (In terms of people joining). From a post I saw yesterday, I see that it’s now taken hold in South Korea, and other countries in SE Asia.

Having met with the co-founder when he was in South Africa two months back, and due to my working closely with the person who brought it to South Africa, I know that the plan is to grow BitClub Network across South Africa, and then, to launch it into Africa.

Things will go (grow) quickly, and already, people are joining in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria and even Dubai.

BitClub Network South Africa’s offices open in Johannesburg next month. So, things are happening at pace, and people who can afford to, are joining in numbers.

The cost to join is US$99 and to buy a share in the cheapest mining pool is US$500. So if you’re interested, you’d need a minimum of US$599. A good investment, in my opinion. There’s more info on http://www.bitclubnetwork.co.za if you’d like to visit.

On my side, I’d be happy to meet with anyone interested – assuming they’re in Johannesburg, of course!

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 www.kavonichone.co.za He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See www.bitclubnetwork.co.za He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: gerard@kavonichone.co.za and more@bitclubnetwork.co.za



Advertising & Bitcoin. Two Sides Of The Same Coin?

Bitcoin logo

OK, I confess – maybe the title of this blog article is a bit too clever for its own good. The reality is that there’s no correlation between advertising and bitcoin, other than the fact that I’m involved in both – and passionate about both.

I’ve been in advertising for nearly 29 years, running This country’s smallest ad agency (in Johannesburg) and am an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects – whilst I’ve been involved in bitcoin for no more than a year. Bitcoin excites me. When I heard that bitcoin, blockchain technology and crypto-currencies could eventually be as a disruptive as the internet, it had my attention – and I began to delve deeper.

 There’s tons of information about blockchain and bitcoin on the internet, but what really got me interested was the fact that bitcoin was endorsed – and enthused about – by the likes of Sir Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group), Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and Al Gore (45th Vice President of the United States). See their comments below: 

Sir Richard Branson: “I have invested in bitcoin because I believe in its potential, the capacity it has to transform global payments is very exciting”

Bill Gates: “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”  

Al Gore: “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”

There are many other people who believe in bitcoin. The head of Google, for instance. (And if he believes in the potential of the currency, it’s worth listening, I’d say.) 

If people of this calibre were excited about bitcoin, I decided that I would be guided by them rather than by friends or family who told me that yes, they had heard about bitcoin, but that I should stay away from it as it was an “illicit currency used for illicit activity” and that it was too risky and a “fad”.

 A fad, it’s clearly not. Bitcoin and blockchain technology will be as disruptive as the internet. Yes, we may be a few years away from that, but there’s a high probability of this being the case. One only has to surf the internet to see how many blockchain-related developments there are currently around the world. 

(Closer to home, ABSA bank have announced their intention to look into blockchain technology – the first African bank to do so). Others will surely follow. 

Internationally, Japan has made bitcoin a legitimate currency, and whilst Russia was wary about bitcoin in the beginning, there are a number of signs that the doors are opening to crypto-currencies in that country. 

Malaysia? BTC is huge there.

Korea: Gaining traction in a big way.

India? Getting started…

South Africa? Judging by the growth of BitClub network here, and the number of people enthusing about bitcoin, it’s just a matter of time before it takes off here…and other countries in Africa. (BTC is already being adopted in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and doors are opening in Dubai as we speak..)  

It’s just a question of time before crypto-currencies – of which bitcoin (BTC) is the most widely-known and accepted – become mainstream around the world. Governments will be come more embracing of the technology, as will banks and other financial institutions.  

In the meantime, many people around the world are already interacting with BTC (paying each other, or buying goods), and if you’d like to see the transactions happening currently, go to Blockchain on https://blockchain.info/ and look at the transactions at the bottom left corner of the page. Blockchain is the public ledger, on which every single BTC transaction globally can be viewed as it happens.

At the time of writing, the price of bitcoin is around the US$585 mark.  See http://www.coindesk.com/price/ for the current price. 

As there can only ever be 21 million bitcoin in circulation, the forecast for BTC is undeniably upwards. Yes, there will be volatility and yes, the price could go down before it goes up..but the curve will head upwards for sure.  

Whilst no-one can say for certain, a number of analysts believe that the price of BTC could get to as high as US$10 000 in 3-5 years. 

Even if it gets to $1 500, I’m in. BTC is the way of the future and I’m by no means the only South African to think so.

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 www.kavonichone.co.za He is also involved in the launch of Bitclub Network in South Africa. See www.bitclubnetwork.co.za He can be reached on 083 444 9888 and on the following email addresses: gerard@kavonichone.co.za and more@bitclubnetwork.co.za


How’s Hollard’s advertising?

hollardAs someone who’s been in advertising a long time, and as a copywriter who considers himself to be reasonably creative, I take an active interest in the advertising put out into the South African market. One client’s advertising has caught my attention as of late.

That of Hollard Insurance.

For a company that has run some really nice work in the past, it’s advertising has gone south of late. In my opinion, anyway.

It’s not so much bad advertising as it’s boring advertising. It’s tired, devoid of creativity. Yes it gets its point across, but…

And then, it’s billboard headlined something along the lines of “Hollard. For people who are perfect and for those who are imperfectly perfect” featuring some guy with bizarre headgear on the R59 near Alberton takes the cake. Whilst a number of Hollard’s billboards elsewhere are OK (meaning decidedly average), the one mentioned is just silly.

This is not to say that the advertising of insurance products is easy. It’s not. But it should not be juvenile like the company’s Alberton board..

There is enough insurance advertising out in the market for most economically-active South Africans to know what insurance is, and to understand the need to have their property and possessions insured. (Especially in a country like South Africa where crime is an everyday reality). The goal is to produce advertising in this sector that stands out and communicates the product benefit succinctly: in a manner that is understood and acted upon.

Whilst the objective of the billboard in question is clearly to communicate that Hollard’s insurance is for everyone (something I get) surely there is something in the company’s s cover that is different and able to be expanded upon?
In short, there must be some sort of value-add. Something that could make the advertising catch the attention in a positive way?

Advertising is all about promoting a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). If a product or service doesn’t have a USP, then how about a perceived USP?

This particular billboard communicates nothing in the way of a unique selling proposition. Worse, it puts Hollard’s hand up in the air and says “I don’t have anything interesting to say, and there’s nothing that makes Hollard different, but please bear us in mind for any insurance cover you might need as we are here for all South Africans, not matter how perfect or imperfect you might be”

Harsh? Maybe. But knowing how much billboards on freeways cost these days – anything from 30K to 80K per month – it’s frustrating seeing good money spent on bad advertising.

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 www.kavonichone.co.za He can be reached on 083 444 9888 or gerard@kavonichone.co.za

Doing Business in Nigeria May Require Advertising In Nigeria

If Nigeria is unchartered territory and new to you, know this: it’s nothing like South Africa.

Despite being only two thirds of South Africa’s size, the country has a staggering one hundred and eighty million people – three times South Africa’s population. Besides being the continent’s most populous country – with one sixth of Africa’s total population – Nigeria is the largest economy with a national GDP of $574 billion (versus South Africa’s $350 billion) (2014 statistics at prevailing official USD exchange rate)

The GDP per capita is $6 100 versus South Africa’s $13100 although Nigeria’s middle income segment – the fastest growing on the continent – makes up for the reduced spending power through its sheer volume and growth. And it is this fact primarily that multinational and South African enterprises are targeting for growth.

But don’t drop everything and head for Oliver Tambo International airport just yet. Too many South African companies have set up shop in Nigeria thinking they’ll clean up and have left with their tail between their legs, having had their lunch eaten.

You need to do extensive homework and research before laying down a marker here and it is strongly recommended that you make contact with the South Africa Nigeria Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg (http://www.sa-ncc.co.za) early on in the process.

The organisation will prove invaluable in providing the information and processes critical to navigating the bureaucracy and kilometers of red tape typically encountered by companies and personnel wishing to enter Nigeria for business.

Nigeria is rich in culture, art and heritage where the people are genuinely friendly and helpful and communicate in some 500 indigenous languages. And know this: Almost all company management are degreed – at local and international universities and business schools – and are without doubt, more worldly than their South African counterparts. Nigerians are ardent travelers bringing their experience gained to the local market.

The cities are massive (Lagos has an estimated population of between 17 and 21 million where other cities have populations as follows: Ibadan (3.5 million), Abuja (3 million), Kaduna (1.6 million), Ogbomoso (1.5 million), Enugu (0.7 million), Ilorin (0.8 million), Benin City (1.4 million), Zaria (1.2 million), Jos (0.9 million), Onitsha (0.5 million), Oyo (0.6 million), Kano (3.6 million) and Port Harcourt (2 million) to name a few. Vast populations and choked traffic routes create commuter pressure. Peak traffic is from 05h30 – 09h00 and 16h00 – 19h30 with the average commute to and from work being as much as 3 hours.

Development in recent years – infrastructural, commercial and retail is enabling Nigeria to ‘catch up’ and, as evidenced by its fairly recent ranking as Africa’s #1 economy, is leapfrogging traditional competitors, like South Africa and Egypt. Improved living and working conditions translate into increased job opportunities that in turn fuel growth.

So who and where to target? Unlike in South Africa, in which disposable income is to be found primarily in a few major urban concentrations (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and to a lesser extent, East London, Bloemfontein and Polokwane), Nigeria’s economically viable LSMs are spread across a much wider footprint. But the challenges are not limited to geographical and language considerations.

From a media and communication perspective, too, Nigeria can be perplexing. Especially when you consider that there are:

More than 20 local TV stations in Nigeria – excluding DStv, which has more subscribers than South Africa.

100 mainstream radio stations in Nigeria

Approximately 45 newspapers in Nigeria with the weekend tabloids being considered ‘magazines’. Most international magazines are readily available on the street in major CBDs.

A great many outdoor media options available.

And that:

o   Nigeria’s digital landscape is vast with many opportunities to take advantage of.

o   Social media is enjoying exponential growth.

o   Nigeria has 70 million internet users in 2015 (growth >16% over 2014)

o   Nigeria has 53 million unique mobile phone users

o   80% of online access is from smart phones

o   25% of FaceBook users in Africa are Nigerian

o   The top 1 000 companies in Nigeria have websites

pic Nigeria

pic Nigeria1

Obviously, once you have a Nigerian business presence and have your distribution channels set up and your products in-store, you’ll need to support them with marketing, both online and offline. Compared to South Africa, where as a marketer, you already have the creative, digital and media resources available, the Nigerian market can be quite daunting. Exciting too, though.

With the weakening rand and a sluggish South African economy showing no signs of improving in the short-term, more and more South African companies are looking to Africa, and will be looking to Africa – with Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other key markets in the region being given attention.

Nigeria – and for that matter, Ghana and the other aforementioned countries – remain largely untapped and present a far better prospect than looking for the more expensive ‘1st world’ market opportunities. It’s imperative however that you understand the region and market that you’re considering.

A colleague of mine, Simon Willar, who worked in South Africa in marketing and communication for many years, is now based in West Africa and has extensive contacts in Nigeria and knowledge of the region.

Besides being able to advise marketers as to how best to tackle the Nigerian and Ghanain markets, he could also assist in – for example – locating office space, legal resources, banking partners and advising on key logistical matters.

Whilst he makes trips back to Johannesburg from time to time, he can be reached at anytime on simon.willar@icloud.com and I’d suggest he’d be a good call.

Knowing him as I do, he’d be happy to help. Even if it’s just to point you in the right direction  or answer any questions you may have.

In the meantime, here’s some Nigerian-related info you may find interesting, and handy:

Independence from UK: 1960

Government type: Federal republic

Transition to civilian rule:1999

Administrative divisions: 36 states, 1 capitol territory

Federal capital: Abuja

Business capital: Lagos

Official language: English.

Legal system: Mix of English common law, Islamic law (12 states), traditional law

Population: 185 million Inflation: 8,5% (2015)

Currency: Naira (Official buying rate: – N199/$1. Parallel market rate: – N308/$1)

Hotel room: Average, Lagos 02/2016: – $375/ZAR6000 pppn

Leased apartment: Average, Victoria Island, Lagos: +-$65,000/ZAR1,052,129 pa

Burger: Victoria Island, Lagos: N5,500/ZAR446

Transport: Uber and local taxi services

Telecomms: Landline, 4G cellular, data. Wifi available in hotels, coffee shops and mobile

My name is Gerard Kavonic of This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone and I can be reached on gerard@kavonichone.co.za and 083 444 9888. I’m based in Johannesburg and you can see what I’m about on www.kavonichone.co.za