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Portfolio Night

Portfolio Night | The Creative Directors Pt. 2

Portfolio Night


Portfolio Night is a global, annual event where aspiring young advertising copywriters, art directors and designers meet with several renowned advertising creative directors in a fast-paced evening of career-shaping advice, networking, and for some, recruitment offers.


The first ever South African Portfolio Night takes place in Johannesburg this week, hosted by advertising agency McCann. We’re quizzing some of the participating creative directors in the lead up. Read part 1 here.


In this instalment we hear from Rui Alves, executive creative director at Y&R South Africa.


What’s the best ad/campaign you’ve made? 

Well it’s hard to pick out a best but one of the more significant and fun and maybe even effective ones I ever worked on were the first and second Nando’s campaigns to come out of Hunt Lascaris. It set the humorous, tactical, topical, irreverent tone for everything that followed and the brand still speaks with the same voice today. The ads picked on things that were socially and politically red hot. Nothing was taboo and the work expressed what most people were thinking but were not saying openly. It obviously got lots of complaints.


This is one of those early ads that pokes fun at the genre of infomercials which pretty much swamped all TV channels in the early nineties and were just plain boring and annoying.



What made you want to be in the advertising industry in the first place? 

I could draw. I could write. I could use my imagination. It was the closest I could get to films and animation locally. And it looked like it was more fun than any other job.


What’s the one piece of advice you wished you’d received when you were starting out at the beginning of your career?

Use every hour of every day to push your portfolio forward. Don’t waste time. Stay hungry.

I also wish someone had told me to pretend I couldn’t draw. I enjoyed drawing very much and it got me into my first job, but I soon began to resent drawing and redrawing and redrawing storyboards. It also became the only kind of work I was given which slowed down my development as an art director working on briefs with a writer because it was all consuming. In those days Art Directors also had to do time in the studio. I remember pulling three all nighters in a row before pitches in those days just relentlessly rendering storyboards and print visuals, it was pretty much the norm. In my 2nd job I pretended I couldn’t draw.


What’s more important: a perfect portfolio or a personality?

I believe both are equally important. They tend to go hand in hand.


Find out all about Portfolio Night and how to get involved here.


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