After building and growing global and local brands at some of SA’s most successful agencies, we opened our doors in 2013.
Not the big, grandiose doors you’d expect to see on Madison Avenue, but simple doors. Well-crafted doors. The kind where you can feel the care of the artisan – and you know it will do the job.
You see, we’ve always wanted to be “small”.
Being small makes you resourceful, agile and more accountable. It also makes you think bigger. And braver.
After all, big ideas don’t need to come from big firms. They come from creative minds that understand the challenge – minds that make work that they, and their clients, are proud of.
So, what can “small” do? We’ve repositioned brands like Longevity, SBS Tanks and Mukuru, amongst others. We’ve also steered national campaigns that have added exponential value to Cricket South Africa, Superga, Denny Mushrooms, Delonghi, Courvoisier,
Jim Beam and AVON. Globally, we’ve been called upon by Don Papa Rum, Mielé and the Tait Bros… Without losing the personable touch we take pride in.
From brand positioning, to integrated campaigns and holistic communication strategies (including digital, influencer and content strategies for both start-ups and blue-chip businesses), to once-off tactical campaigns and everything in between. We’re ready, resourceful and accountable.
Our clients come to us with an objective and a budget. We make that budget work as hard as it can through consistent senior involvement, strategic decisiveness and 20 years experience in design craft and wordsmithing.
The result is what we call “the good work”.
The good work comes from working with like-minded humans to partner with. We’d love to hear more about your business. Reach out, we’re here to listen!
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“If you don’t ask, you’ll never know if what you wanted, was within your reach or not. Do it.”
Naledi was born into a family of creative people, concluding that her career path was inevitable. You give her a challenge? She’ll take it head on like a bull. Did one forget to mention she is a Taurus? It’s in her nature. In her time as an Account Manager, Naledi has gained experience in financial reporting, packaging and brand design, and now advertising. Her education history includes Parktown Girls and IMM Graduate School of Marketing. Naledi loves a good discussion and learning the unknown.
Sean VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
“I’m only as good as the experience I draw on. Sometimes it’s my own, but mostly it’s from somewhere else.”
Sean is from Benoni, the same town where Charlize Theron grew up. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a designer of some sort. Once he’d finished school, Sean studied Information Design at Tuks, finding his way into advertising, as an Art Director. Doing time in agencies big and small, Sean realised that he loved the work, but not the industry. Workbench offered something special and different, so he joined and hasn’t looked back since.
“If your work doesn’t make you feel something, then you’re doing it wrong.”
From the East of Johannesburg, Kashia always had one foot in reality and one in her imagination. Having always been obsessed with storytelling, visual arts and pop-culture she graduated from Wits with an Honours degree in Film and Television. At Workbench, she merges reality and imagination. In 2018, she completed a short course in copywriting from the University of the Arts London. When she’s not working, she likes taking long quizzes on Buzzfeed at sunset with her boyfriend and cat.
Mike F. COOK
Managing Partner & Business Director
“Keep turning up and sharing what you’ve got.”
His parents always mention, usually at awkward times, that Mike as a boy cried during emotional TV commercials. To this day, he still is pretty emotional about advertising; and how when done right, can do good for everyone involved (including the customer!). In 2013, after helping to build two award-winning and successful advertising businesses for others, he, along with long-time creative partner Martin Sing, founded Workbench. Mike is married to the lovely Jo-Ann and has 4 kids (all with her).
Managing Partner & Head of Strategy
“Keep asking questions… You’ll eventually get to an answer.”
Growing up in Johannesburg, Martin’s appetite for punk, art and Nintendo led him to the world of brands. After graduating from the Vega School of Brand Leadership in 2002, he worked as an awarded Art Director and Creative Director at some of SA’s top agencies. In 2013 he founded Workbench together with his creative partner-in-crime, Mike Cook. Although, he now heads up Strategy, Martin still gets to practice his kerning on layouts. When asked about what he loves as much as creativity, his answer is “My wife, my daughter – and my guitar.”
“You’re never truly going to think your design or idea is perfect. It’s just about giving it your all, coming as close as possible and then letting it go out into the world.”
Raquel made it known from a young age that her future lay within the creative realm. From drawing on furniture and scrapbooking, to high school art exhibitions and finally an Honours degree in Communications Design at UJ. While these creative characteristics have led to her experiencing a variety of careers, she has come full circle to her first love: Art Direction. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her next travel destination, you can find Raquel reading, laughing with family or dancing in the studio.