200 YOUNG SOUTH AFRICANS | business & law

Chris Botha

Group Managing Director: The MediaShop

As a boy, playing cricket and rugby in the streets of Bloemfontein, Chris Botha wanted to be a sports journalist. His father, concerned about his earning potential, challenged him to find an advertisement in the paper for a paid position in journalism. What he found was a position as a Sunday Times advertising sales executive, paying what seemed to young Chris all the money in the world. It was a happy compromise that led to him to study marketing at the AAA Advertising School and on to a job at the MediaShop, under the mentorship of Harry Herber. Now, as group managing director of the MediaShop, 35-year-old Botha knows the odds against finding that ad in the newspaper. He also knows how many people watch the evening news, listen to the radio while driving, even how many are reading this article. In the age of the on-demand-streaming, PVR-ad-skipping audience, consumers are becoming ever more elusive and Botha uses his expertise to help brands to "stop interrupting what I'm interested in and start being the thing I'm interested in". Botha, Media Innovator of the Year for 2010, has been selected as a jury member for the Global Awards at the International Festival of Media in Switzerland and the Cannes Media Lions Awards in France. Meanwhile, the MediaShop has raked in accolades under his leadership: the MOST Award for Best Full Service Agency and Best Overall Media Agency for two consecutive years; the OHMSA and AdFocus Awards for Media Agency of the Year, followed by the AdReview Large Media Agency of the Year. Today the MediaShop offices house 150 staff members and control about R4-billion in billings. Botha, thinking back to that day he found the ad in the Sunday Times, says: "I have a sneaking suspicion my dad glanced through the newspaper first." — Rudi Benadé

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