Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern

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We’ve thought long and hard about pressing send on this week’s mailer. Because it hasn’t been a great day. Because colleagues and friends have been affected by the violence and unrest in KZN. Because there is a lot going on. If you’re feeling the same despair and anxiety – please park this and revisit it another day. But if you need a lift, a smile and a few marketing musings, please read on. But above all, stay safe.

It’s been an especially tough few weeks in Lockdown Level 4. The tourism industry is still reeling with the heart-breaking loss of tourism stalwarts. Images of unrest and looting across KZN and parts of Johannesburg are dominating the news. And, in just one example, a local coffee spot in Constantia banked R280 on Saturday.

If you are desperate for a glimmer of hope, I stumbled across these 48 reasons to feel optimistic today by Outside magazine.

It’s a reminder that the kids will be alright; wine and cheese are good for your brain; we’re adopting more pets; carbon-neutral will be the new normal; and being vulnerable is okay.

A few more? The 35s and over will soon get their first jab; in big news for the Mother City, Cape Town will be the first Southern African City to host Formula E (on what will be the fastest track on the circuit); and Kgothatso Montjane came oh so close to winning the Wimbledon Wheelchair Singles Final last night. Making South Africa proud.

A little more relief from the endless bad news? If you happened to be on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, you would have seen a funny, heart-warming and oh-so relatable thread unfold.

 It started with this tweet from the American streaming platform, HBO Max:

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 1

Maybe it was a quiet day on social media, or maybe it just struck a chord, but suddenly thousands (and thousands) of people started sending messages of support to HBO’s newbie – and sharing their biggest workplace blunders and cringeworthy gaffes. Stories like:

Dear Intern, as a young lawyer I proof read a legal brief and filed it with the court. I caught a typo and blindly used the global find and replace function.  Pro tip: don’t do that. My brief argued for the rights of “the panties.” Not “the parties.” All 50 pages of it.


Dear Intern, I once sent a rejection email to a candidate without editing the general template.

“Dear XXX, you have been rejected”



Dear Intern, I was using my desktop calendar to make a monthly note of when I started my menstrual period, but after several months I realized I was making that note on a calendar I shared with all of my colleagues company wide. I was 37 years old.


Dear Intern, I was working in local TV when I shattered 4 ribs wrestling. 2 days later I was talking to someone in the news room in the background behind the news desk. A friend gave me a joke punch in the ribs. I screamed “FUCK!” and collapsed to the floor… Live on the 5pm news.


Dear Intern, I replied to an email re appalling behaviour by 1 of our GMs. Couldn’t remember how to spell GM’s last name so I typed it in the CC: line so predictive text would finish it. My reply was “Is this now a terminable offense?” I forgot to remove his name from the CC …

The best thing about this thread? The sheer level of kindness shown to HBO’s intern – and the real human engagement around this tweet, which continues weeks later.

For me, it showed that despite all the toxicity online, there is still plenty of goodness and grace. That despite our own blunders and bloopers, we can only ‘fail forward’, learn and laugh. That nothing is ever as serious as we believe it is in the moment. That the BEST stories come from trying something new.

And that despite all the talk of contactless tech, zooty chatbots and COVID-safe, digital innovation, people need human connection and interaction more than ever before.  As this article by BON Hotels explores, post isolation, quarantine and lockdown, the urge for many to travel and re-connect with our humanity and by default, other human beings, is once again coming to the fore.

Remember, we’re all noobs when it comes to a global pandemic. So give yourself a break, fail forward and keep going.

Mindful Musings

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 2

Marketing Musings

When Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coke bottles placed in front of him at a Euro press conference last month, the world went mad. It prompted the brilliant Dale Hefer, CEO of the Nedbank Integrated Marketing Conference, to write about the perils and power of influencer marketing. In other words, are brands courting danger by giving influencers the ‘keys to the kingdom’ in the race to chase short-term success?

The power and influence of these mega celebs (be they sports stars, YouTubers, models and the like) is undeniable, especially in the 18- to 34-year-old cohort of consumers. But is the idea of celebrity, mega and macro influencers finally losing its gloss?

According to the digital marketing team @Galactic Fed, it’s micro-influencer marketing that’s catching the attention of 78% of marketers today.

Why? Micro-influencers are “real” people, and we can relate to them. “They have screaming kids. They have body image issues”. It’s this relatability, according to research, that makes it easier for us to trust their opinions over a celebrity’s. In fact, 61% of respondents now find information from “a person like me” to be credible or very credible.

I imagine, it’s like the “Dear Intern” stories above. We want to have a cup of tea and commiserate with someone who has accidentally sent HR’s confidential remuneration spreadsheet to the entire company – or sent a questionable meme to their CEO instead of their family WhatsApp group. It’s all about human connection.

And the numbers don’t lie:  

  • Influencers with 10,000 followers or more have just 3.6 percent engagement.
  • Influencers with 5,000 to 10,000 followers have 6.3 percent engagement.
  • And influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers have the highest engagement at an 8.8 percent engagement rate.

Even better? Micro-influencer marketing also costs less money. As the article points out, asking a local foodie to promote your meal prep company will cost you significantly less than asking George Clooney. Which can only be a good thing.

But back to Cristiano Ronaldo. Ikea has been quick off the mark with a couple of Euro ads in the past few weeks:

I wonder what they’ll make of the final result?

And if you haven’t already seen what was probably the most shared video among a certain age group in South Africa on Friday, check out Heineken’s ‘The Night is Young’ ad and smile. It’ll definitely be top of mind when I register on Thursday! Bring it on.

What the world was musing over this past week

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10 Things we learned about COVID travel this week

In an up-and-down week the world over, from a billionaire space race to Guam vaxications, here are 10 things that had us talking.

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 6

The travel trend of bringing work to the great outdoors

Could you rent an RV and hit the road – with the intention of working from the great outdoors? If so, you’re not alone. Remote working is becoming increasingly, well, remote.

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 7

Iceland’s 4-day work week was a triumph for all

In 2015, Iceland started a trial with over 2,500 workers to explore the viability of a 4-day work week. Six years on and the results are in. Spoiler alert reader, it resulted in increased productivity, energy and work-life balance – and less sick days.  

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 8

UK travellers vote Langebaan beach SA’s best beach

South Africa has some incredible beaches. But new data released by online travel planning platform Vacaay reveals that UK travellers would most like to visit Langebaan Beach. That’s right, despite the dreaded red list, Brits would love to dip their toes in the gentle waters of Langebaan Lagoon more than any other beach in South Africa.

Monday Musings 12 July 2021: Dear Intern 9

Youngsters want to travel overseas

Robbed of an Aussie rite of passage by COVID-19, Australian youngsters are more keen to travel than ever before. Desperate to explore – and hit by travel grief – longer trips may be on the horizon.