Creative careers often don’t follow the mold, and whether you find yourself thinking about your next step or wanting to change direction, there’s one thing that keeps you going – a passion for creating incredible work. Hear from Marketing Manager Maxine Davy on how her career took her from advertising into marketing, and why studying a Part Time Advanced Diploma in Marketing and Advertising Communications at Red & Yellow was the key to merging her love for brands and work-life balance. 

“In ADMAC, it’s all about keeping it real. It touches on every aspect of advertising and marketing, from teaching entrepreneurial marketing should you have dreams of becoming your own boss, to the ever-changing landscape of media, integrated brand communications and branding.”

They say that once you reach the age of 40, the doors of employability begin to creak shut, as if the passage of time were a one-way ticket to stagnation. Looking back to where it all began two decades ago, I think about what it was like growing up in the streets of Jozi. It was all about what you wore, where you hung out, what car your parents owned. This passion for brands was everywhere, and it hit me as early as my teen years. The streets were all about big names like Superga, Cerruti, and Sebago, Italian fashion brands, each a requisite badge of coolness that demanded possession of at least one garment. And who could forget the legends that roared through the streets back then. The Volkswagen Golf VR6, Toyota Twincam 16 valve and BMW 325i were among some of the legendary icons that earned you serious street cred. 

As I made my entrance into the whirlwind of advertising after my studies, my passion for branding turned into a roaring blaze in the corridors and boardrooms of renowned agencies – Ogilvy, Hunt Lascaris, Net#workBBDO, Black River FC – where brands became my canvas. 

One of my treasured memories in my advertising career was meeting the owner of Chicken Licken, George Sombonos. A humble, salt of the earth human being who would deliver his creative briefs to me via fax, and handwritten! Needless to say we produced some of the most iconic, award winning work for Chicken Licken alongside incredible minds in the creative industry, Brad Riley and Graham Jenner. George Sombonos had huge respect for the agency and was never too prescriptive on what the annual big campaign needed to be. He believed and trusted in the capabilities and expertise of the entire team and would deliver his big annual campaign briefs by visiting the agency to have a conversation about how he was looking forward to the next great piece of work.

Fast forward 15 years and my life’s journey and achievements are anchored in each advertising campaign I’ve worked on, and the relationships I have, to this day, with the incredible people behind the brands.

Life carries on, you grow older, you settle down, start a family, get married and realise that the pace isn’t suited to your lifestyle anymore. I needed change. My transition into a Marketing role was a calculated move – this would still keep my creative flame alive and fulfill my purpose to keep building brands. Cue marketing manager opportunity in the Mother City! New town. New chapter. Exactly what I needed. This was the beginning of how my life would come full circle. My advertising background definitely stood me in good stead in my new role but I knew there was more training and growth I needed to do in thinking more like a marketer and being data-centric. COVID hit and I was retrenched and I had to rely on my safety net – advertising. It felt good being back in the ad game but I kept my eye on the prize of becoming a marketer!

This is when Red & Yellow came into my life – like a knight in shining armour. This knight was in the form of a programme called ADMAC (Advanced Diploma in Marketing & Advertising Communications) which is delivered as both Full Time on campus at Red & Yellow, and Part Time to fit in with my schedule. It was like the stars were aligned because this was exactly what I needed to solidify my advertising knowledge and experience but also to strengthen my marketing brain in a strategic way AND get a qualification for it – it was a match made in heaven. Bringing together the two worlds that I love so much all into one qualification and the best part was that it was launched as a part-time programme so I could do it over two years, while still working and being a mum and wife.

In ADMAC, it’s all about keeping it real. Yes, the theory is important but really understanding it and being able to apply it in the real world is key. I am learning and building my skill set every single day that is future-proofing. ADMAC has touched on every aspect of advertising and marketing, from teaching entrepreneurial marketing should you have dreams of becoming your own boss, to the ever-changing landscape of media, integrated brand communications and branding. My absolute favourite is where you really get under the hood of what makes a brand – the essence, brand value, building brand equity, identity, logo, design, brand voice and personality. The importance of market research and knowing your target audience, strategy and the mother of all, digital. Digital strategy, digital media, search, SEO, display, content creation, the list goes on and I can confidently say I am working my way into my dream of becoming a well-rounded advertising and marketing professional. 

There are moments when the exhaustion hits…. I can’t see the woods from the trees but then Oprah tells me all the time, “Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat out fantastic, at what you do, that your talent cannot be dismissed” And then I live to fight another day.

Learn more about our Part Time Advanced Diplomas

Red & Yellow’s Part Time Advanced Diplomas are built with all the same content and knowledge as our Full-Time options. Each programme can be completed online in the comfort of your home, with two on-campus immersion weeks.

With our Advanced Diploma in Marketing and Advertising Communications, you’re immediately exposed to the scope of the industry and the vibrant people in it, and invited to try your hand at its main disciplines. Enhancement of personal skills also takes place early on – maximising individual potential, team dynamics and presentation skills – all of which are highly valued in the industry, will enhance your career success and will stay with you forever.

Our Advanced Diploma in Copywriting is about so much more than learning to write engaging copy – it’s aimed at people with the desire and talent to express their innate creativity, conceptual thinking, strategic thinking and love of communication. It encompasses all the relevant theory but also has a strong practical element to deepen your learning experience and achieve the best outcomes. 

For future thinkers, our Advanced Diploma in User-Centered Design integrates your keen interest in human behaviour, obsession with solving problems in a unique way and your love of digital design with practical and strategic skills. You’ll learn how to take a project from the conceptual stage into actual prototyping, and have the competency and know-how to integrate elements and design thinking in order for the development team to bring it to life. Developed in response to a desperate need in the market, this programme’s primary intention is to give you the ability to translate theory and implement it into practical projects for the real world.