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Digital agency Quirk Johannesburg releases first TV spot 'Borrowed Time'

20 March, 2015

Quirk Johannesburg

Raising funds for HIV-positive pregnant women and their babies in Africa

JOHANNESBURG — When Cindy Lee, film director with Fresh Eye Films in Johannesburg, approached Quirk to develop an TV commercial for Orange Babies we leapt at the opportunity to not only help a valuable cause, but produce our first television commercial and bring our digital expertise to bear on a positive outcome. Orange Babies is a Dutch NGO focused on assisting HIV-positive pregnant women and their babies in Africa and they needed help to increase the awareness of their organisation to raise support and funds for their work here in South Africa. Donations will be used to fund 5 life-changing projects in South Africa.

“We knew that if we were to move people to take action – in this case, make a donation - we had to create something that would move them emotionally” says Steph van Niekerk, Creative Director and copywriter of the ad. A big part of the process was finding the right story to tell and inspiration came in the form of a compelling fact: With the medical advancement made in recent years, the pregnant mother to child transmission rate of HIV has decreased from over 90% to less than 1.7%. It’s just a case of having timely access to the right medication, education and support. Which means there is no good reason for another child’s life to be cut short by HIV.”

The commercial is based on the insight that when you can’t have one, an ordinary life is an extraordinary thing and depicts an HIV-positive mother trying to let her baby see and experience as much as possible before it is too late. Armed with a script, Fresh Eye Films and Quirk rallied some of the South African film industry’s most talented players and everyone involved generously donated their time and skills to take Orange Babies’ rather urgent message to the world. After 6 months of conceptualising, developing and planning, the commercial was shot over two long days in Johannesburg, the city’s Central Business District and the suburb of Hillbrow. It’s set to an original sound track ‘Light’ which was donated to us by American singer-songwriter, Sleeping at Last.

From a digital perspective, Quirk has also invested time in making sure the donation process is as seamless and easy as possible and that the film would work as hard as it could online. Stephen Sandmann, SEO Specialist at Quirk Johannesburg, explains, “We applied SEO to the “Borrowed Time” YouTube video and website to maximise the online reach in a cost-effective way. The SMS line was also added to their website’s Google Search descriptions; meaning people can make a donation via their phones, without having to visit the site or watch the full video.”

The commercial was launched in South Africa on 4th March 2015, and uploaded to Orange Babies’ Youtube account. In just a few days the film has been viewed in 19 countries from as far afield as Japan, Brazil, Poland and the United States of America; and mobile networks in South Africa have wavered all fees so the entire R20 ($2) rand donation will go straight to the Orange Babies NGO.

“We've used the diverse talents of the people at Quirk and Fresh Eye to make sure our story and call to action would appear on peoples’ screens and in their timelines in the most impactful, engaging way. In a sense, half the job was creating the film and the other half was making sure it was effective and impactful online" says Fran Luckin, Executive Creative Director of Quirk Johannesburg.

If you would like to make a donation please click here or email

For more information on the 5 life-changing projects run by Orange Babies, please read here.

Quirk would like to thank everyone who gave of their time and expertise to make ‘Borrowed Time’ happen. The unique collaboration could not have been possible without the following people.

Adrienne Feldner-Busztin - Country Manager, Orange Babies.
Cindy Lee - Director, Fresh Eye Films
Jamie D Ramsay - DOP
Graham Smith - Editor, Orchestra Blue
Louis Enslin - Sound Engineer, Produce
Brian Critchfield - Producer, Fresh Eye Films
Fikile Mthwalo - Lead, MLA
Fran Luckin - Executive Creative Director
Steph van Niekerk - Creative Director/Copywriter
Sarah Gourlie - UX Design
Wesley Forsyth - Web Developer
Stephen Sandmann - SEO Specialist

SMS line donated and operated by Channel Mobile.

Philippa Clayre
Email :
Tel: +961 1 973030

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