Virgin Active ‘The Surfer’ TVC



‘The Surfer’, the new TV commercial for Virgin Active South Africa by M&C Saatchi Abel explores the idea, ‘Active makes you Happy’. By using a reverse timeline the ad tells the story of a boy who changes his life by taking one significant leap into the ocean. The ad follows on from their cycling-themed commercial flighted earlier this year, featuring an elderly man taking up cycling again which changes his attitude toward life. Richard Lamb-Hughes, Brand Director at Virgin Active says, ‘the new commercial emphasises the role that activeness plays in leading a happy life. We want to get South Africans moving and we know that our clubs play a role in unlocking an active lifestyle beyond four walls. This story presents an inspiring journey that brings to life our brand message of ‘live happily ever active’.


Two real life surfers play the roles of the young boy deciding to join his friends swimming and the man he becomes, surfing with his friends in the opening of the ad. Thembi Ndlovu (16) is a passionate young surfer from the Muizenberg surfing ‘brotherhood’. It was his brother who first introduced him to surfing when he was 12. The older surfer is Kwezi Qika (25), South Africa’s first black surfer to win a national longboard title. Kwezi is a Springbok surfer, who will soon be competing at the All Africa Games in Sierra Leone. His next goal is to win the world championships.


In the ad, the locations begin with the famous Dungeons in Hout Bay for some big wave surfing through the narrative to Muizenberg – and surfers corner – and finally to Kalk Bay harbour where Thembi takes his first jump into the water. The authentic casting process meant the young surfers in the ad were recruited from surf schools and by approaching coaches at these surf spots, and is how Thembi and Kwezi were discovered by the team and cast as the main roles. In keeping with this authenticity, rather than following a script, much of the footage is spontaneous interaction between the surfers and director Kim Geldenhuys (an avid surfer himself) who got into the water to film from his surfboard.


The music is a locally composed piece by Pressure Cooker Studios.


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Executive Creative Director: Gordon Ray
Copywriter: Joshua De Kock
Art Director: Brett Bruton
TV Producer: Bronwyn Henry
Account Director: Alexander Band
Account Manager: Amanda Crawley
Production Company: 0307
Director: Kim Geldenhuys
DOP: Paul Gilpin
Off Line Editor: Gordon Midgeley
On Line Editor: Charmaine Greyling
Music Composition: Pressure Cooker Studios





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