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Getting to know Draftfcb's Jerry Mpufane

Published: 15 January 2010

Jerry Mpufane is the MD of Draftfcb Johannesburg. Mpufane has amassed experience in the marketing communications field over the past 17 years, holding positions in the public and private sectors. He started his career at TWS Communications and was Group Marketing Director at the SABC before joining Draftfcb Johannesburg in 2008.

Getting to know Draftfcb's Jerry Mpufane
Jerry Mpufane is the MD of Draftfcb Johannesburg. He leads a dynamic team of 280 people, and has overall responsibility for the agency's business strategy. Mpufane has amassed experience in the marketing communications field over the past 17 years, holding positions in the public and private sectors. He started his career at TWS Communications and was Group Marketing Director at the SABC before joining Draftfcb Johannesburg in 2008.

1. What was your first job/ where did you start?
I started my working life in Public Relations as a trainee Account Executive with TWS Communications 18 years ago. I spent five years there, rising to the position of Account Director, where I managed a portfolio of clients.

2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
My first job exposed me to a variety of environments, including the public and private sectors, as well as local and multi-national brands. During my PR days, I was very active in industry matters as well, via the Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA). These included lecturing to PRISA students; serving on its Examination Board; and ultimately, serving on the PRISA National Council. I believed I needed to broaden my horizons, and was privileged to have gained marketing experience through working in key roles for big organisations such as McDonald’s; South African Tourism; and the SABC.

3. Describe a day in your life at present.
As MD, I head-up a top Johannesburg advertising agency. We are privileged to work for some of the leading brands in the country, including Toyota; Lexus; Vodacom; Emirates; Old Mutual; Tiger Brands; Adcock Ingram; Eskom; and the National Lottery, amongst others. I have overall responsibility for the agency’s strategic direction. I judge my success based on highly motivated staff; happy clients; creative excellence; and agency profitability. My days are thus occupied with quality time spent with our staff and clients, with the goal of delivering the best ideas.

4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song; movie; and book.
I read mostly factual material. The books on my table currently include Super Freakonomics; Malcolm Gladwell’s What The Dog Saw; and Andrew Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail. Music-wise, I enjoy a combination of the Motown sound, so definitely Stevie Wonder and the like, as well as neo-Soul with the likes of Anthony Hamilton. I don’t go to the movies as much as I’d like to.

5. Who would you most like to meet - dead or alive - and why?
Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu epitomises what it means to be a South African. Good-natured; principled; values-driven, but often has a good laugh and is often controversial. I don’t thinks there’s ever a dull moment in his life.

6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt?
Stand on your own two feet. Life expects a lot of the average individual. Be your own person and be prepared to live with the consequences of your own decisions.

7. What is your secret indulgence and your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
Haagen Dazs ice cream; my iPhone; lying on the couch.

8. Who do you think is getting it right in the industry?
Ravi Naidoo of Interactive Africa. His business is based on ideas, ideas and more ideas. He talks about nothing else, and he’s very successful at it.

9. Which person in the industry do you think is making waves?
Definitely Ravi Naidoo.

10. Who is your alter ego?
What you see is what you get.

11. What is your favourite perfume?
Anything by Giorgio Armani.

12. Which car would best personify you, and why?
Jaguar, I will own one someday.

13. What is your favourite reality TV series?
I am not big on TV, but I think The Amazing Race is the best reality TV concept ever.

14. Who is someone you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
There are a lot of people across various sectors that inspire me. The one person I believe lives as I’d like to is Barack Obama. Principled; values-driven; a true leader; and a family man.

15. What’s your stance on social media?
The definition of freedom! No boundaries; no editors; no censorship. And the world is getting smaller and smaller...
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