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DURBAN – The normally staid headquarters of Unilever South Africa were captivated by the antics of a young child yesterday after precocious tyke Dylan Thompson, an art-director with advertising agency DF&B, hilariously lectured Unilever marketing director Gloria Sibisi about branding and marketing. Thompson, 23, was with colleagues Neil Davies (copywriter) and the agency’s long-serving client service liason Susan Bredenkamp to present Sibisi with drawings and pictures they had prepared for a new shampoo campaign.
Sibisi, marketing director for Unilever in Africa and the Middle-East, picks up the story. “It was soooo cute! I pointed out that they had missed an important aspect of the target demographic in Africa – that the shampoo needs to be seen as nourishing and good for women’s hair – when Dylan suddenly pouted and folded his arms. I have two little boys of my own, so I thought, aww somebody’s about to throw a tantrum!” Sibisi’s colleague, regional marketing director Richard Brindle, admitted that he had to stifle a smile as an increasingly whiny Thompson spoke out in a halting approximation of marketing speak. “Dylan puffed out his chest in the cutest way – I think he had a t-shirt with a Lego man on it – and he started to tell Gloria about how brands are conversations and that people’s brands are conversations too. Or something like that.” Sources say Thompson’s conniption stemmed from a campaign he had conceptualized with Davies wherein they would fill fountains with shampoo and then get models to tweet pictures from within the foam as they washed their hair. “I didn’t spend a year at advertising school to be told my rad idea is wrong by some dinosaur,” said Thompson of Sibisi, a 21-year veteran of cut-throat FMCG branding across the continent who completed an MsC in marketing at the London School of Economics. Said Sibisi, “Shame the two of them were so adorable. Dylan’s hair was all messy and I think his little friend was dressed as a lumberjack. He had this really serious look on his face when he was trying to argue with me. Bless.”
It’s not clear yet what Thompson and Davies will do, as Sibisi insisted the agency still meet her approval deadline of next Tuesday. “They’ll be fine. Children are remarkably resilient,” said Sibisi. Bredenkamp, 47, was spotted smoking a cigarette in her car and was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.