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Brendan Seery

Orchids & Onions editor
Location:South Africa


Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town. Contact him now on
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#OrchidsandOnions: Coca-Cola moves with the health-conscious times... and abuse takes to the road

Perhaps it's because we are sliding into the silly season, but I really have not seen anything this week which has irked me enough to hand out an Onion. And, I'd rather not devalue my critical currency, the Onion, by handing it out just because you expect me to be bitchy

By Brendan Seery 1 day ago

#OrchidsandOnions: MTN's 'Bright side' really dazzles, but this Sunday Times sub sinks without a trace...

I've talked before about the mega-battles of the cell phone brands as they launch their end-of-year campaigns (why they focus on summer is a bit beyond me, given that summer's already been underway for almost three months by now)

By Brendan Seery 5 Dec 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Spar's collective chill pill brings a smile, OLX's techie-ruined site brings a grimace...

It has been a long, hard, stressful year and South Africans have been at each other's throats for most of that year. So, maybe it is time we took a collective national chill pill as we head into the holiday season

By Brendan Seery 28 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: When the best part of a Springbok match is the ad at half time...

To say that the most entertaining slice of television during the Springbok-Ireland game was an advertisement is not so much a compliment for a clever piece of creative marketing inspiration as it is an indictment of how badly the Boks played

By Brendan Seery 21 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Nedbank's brave new advertising contrasts with Eskom's insult to its consumers

Nedbank has been doing some very appealing advertising of late, and the bank and its agency, Joe Public, have already got a few Orchids from me

By Brendan Seery 14 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: It's going to be a retina-searing summer with Cell C... but there's cynical misdirection from Coca-Cola

It's that time of year again: summer is here, so can the cellphone network ads be far behind?

By Brendan Seery 7 Nov 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Vannie Kaap comes a funny ad... and a slice of customer service madness

Many South African English speakers definitely lose out by not communicating, or even taking in, other languages. The rest of the people in this country often speak three or more languages, whereas we English-speakers expect everyone to speak to us in our language and then to do so properly

By Brendan Seery 31 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions:'s ad takes the cake in so many different ways, but Apple's customer service is rotten to the core...

When I first met Jacob Zuma he was, believe it or not, the head of the Moral Regeneration Movement. He was still deputy president to Thabo Mbeki and, in a long conversation with him in Pretoria, he struck me as a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) type of guy. Straightforward, reliable and, yes, honest

By Brendan Seery 24 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: A road traffic ad, which is... fine. And a soap one, which needs a clean-up

I know this is going to sound like a self-indulgent “house ad” but I must say that, since I have been working here at The Citizen, I have come to respect the newspaper's independence and the fact that it really has not been “captured” by anyone politically

By Brendan Seery 17 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Chicken Licken goes a long way to make a marketing point; but FNB should see its ares

Normally, I'd wonder whether a company that goes to shoot a South African commercial on location in Iceland has more money than common sense

By Brendan Seery 10 Oct 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Nissan Micra gets Active in the market - but enough of politicians' mugshots, already

Perhaps it's a bit early, but some experts have seen the first green shoots of a recovery in our struggling economy. Car sales - always one of the most sensitive indicators of hard times - appear to be picking up a little

By Brendan Seery 3 Oct 2017

Ford Kuga - how to get burned a second time on social media

It's surprising how things coincide, isn't it? I was struck a few days ago by a powerful and poignant commercial for eNCA for its TV news

By Brendan Seery 26 Sep 2017

Roll on, Volksie bus; but did KMPG do the right thing for its reputation?

My colleague Seelan was about to head off to Sun City this past weekend and take the Jeep Renegade we have as a test car until he discovered how little room there is in the car

By Brendan Seery 20 Sep 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: A bird's eye view of money - and digital Big Brother's view of you...

If you want to impress someone, or at least have a good chance they'll remember you or your product, then a piece of advice often offered is “Go big, or go home”

By Brendan Seery 6 Sep 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Feeling good about conservation... but peeved about Vodacom's mean data “apology”

While all our attention has been focused on the campaign to save rhinos from poaching, another massacre has been unfolding, almost un-noticed that of Africa's elephants, which are being shot out for their ivory

By Brendan Seery 29 Aug 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Don't take this ad with a pinch of salt...

When a household name brand gets back in a TV ad for the first time in 20 years, you've got to sit up and take notice.

By Brendan Seery 22 Aug 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: How sour milk founded a sweet business empire... and how to Gupta a well-known saying

One of the greeting card platitudes that annoys me is the one that says: “You can be anything you want to be”

By Brendan Seery 15 Aug 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Well done Santam! What could go wrong? And the wheels fall off for Renault...

I still think the logo of insurance giant Santam is one of the best. It is a simple yellow umbrella over the company name, which is in blue

By Brendan Seery 8 Aug 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Don't text and drive... and beware of a shortage of sperm

You can talk until you're blue in the face to people about drunken driving and texting while drivingbut, being South Africans, they'll probably ignore you

By Brendan Seery 1 Aug 2017

#OrchidsandOnions: Ocean Basket still sizzles, but Castle Lager ad goes flat

So, a man goes into a pet shop. “I want to buy a parrot, but it must talk”

By Brendan Seery 25 Jul 2017

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