The music investigator at the heart of the Oscar-winning documentary, Searching for Sugarman, the man who helped find Rodriguez, has joined Leftfield Advertising in the position of creative director. Craig Strydom has worked for eight ad agencies in three countries on two continents.
“We are an agency like no other; our mantra is to go ‘beyond advertising’. That means we have no boundaries in how we apply our minds creatively for our clients or our own projects, be that directing documentaries, viral content for the web, designing interiors, lights, furniture, high level branding, digital or traditional advertising.,” says founder, friend and fellow creative director of Leftfield, Jono Swanepoel. “We encourage this because it makes for work that is different and bold. For someone like Craig, Leftfield is the giant playground he needs to thrive.”
Strydom took a circuitous route to finding his career niche in the ad industry. It was the early 1980’s when Craig up and left his hometown of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, heading northeast, hoping to exchange the diamond city for the one of Gold. But he never made it to Johannesburg. After a month playing music at a resort on the way, he packed up and headed back home mostly because of inexperience and insecurity. His journey from there curved in many directions.
First sorting diamonds for De Beers, then he was drafted into the army where he was selected to join the Parabats (Parachute Battalion), but became a medic instead. A gap-year backpacking through Europe followed, before he came back to South Africa to study music at the Pretoria Technikon. This took him onto Amsterdam in the Netherlands where he made music as part of a band.
During that time a good friend one day on a tram suggested he go into advertising, because of his many opinions about the advertising billboards they passed. It however never even crossed Strydom’s mind that there were actually people who wrote ads for a living. Back home the topic was once more mentioned and he enrolled at UNISA for a writing course. And a world-class copywriter was born.
This week, the film in which he stars as the music investigator who, with Steve Segerman, found the elusive Rodriguez, the man who was more popular than Elvis in South Africa but who worked in construction in Detroit, won the academy award for best documentary. It also took top honours at the BAFTAs and Robert Redford’s Sundance film festival.
He passionately loves brand films of two-three minutes that impacts and emotionally stirs the audience into action. It’s a platform for expressing bold opinions and taking an active step into activism, one picture at a time.
After 13 years in the USA and Canada as a creative director, web-virals and commercials director, it has taken a special agency to accommodate Strydom’s broad range of skills and talent. That agency is Leftfield.
Check out Strydom’s latest ad for Lappies braai sauce.