“Inno-gration”? For Integer\Hotspot’s, true innovation, founded in full integration, has informed the approach and ethos since day one. And has afforded the agency an edge since before certain interpretations of “integration” infiltrated agency zeitgeist.

Integer\Hotspot’s was founded in 1999 by advertising maverick, Di Wilson as Pod Communications. From humble beginnings on her dining room table, the agency is still making waves nearly 22 years later, but relaunched as Hotspot in 2016.

After four years straddling Strategy, ATL and BTL, Wilson was one of the first to recognise the need for an objective-led rather than channel-led agency model.

While integrated models are a current agency trend, Hotspot owned the concept before it had a name.

“Even when we were classified as a BTL agency, behaviour change has always been our primary objective, regardless of channel,” explains Wilson.

“Our work solves brand challenges to ultimately drive behaviour change, conversion and results, without which, we are wasting our time, our clients’ money and our consumers’ attention.

In 2014, the international ad world began to take stock of this small, South African wave-maker when Pod won gold at the prestigious Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) Marketing & Retail Awards in Las Vegas.

“Inno-gration” was at the heart of this campaign for Hippo Insurance aggregator. By recognising an opportunity of “dead time” at local airports, Pod offered travellers some respite from terminal boredom with an eye-catching display that doubled as a user-friendly quote comparison kiosk. The activation boasted an incredible 53% conversion rate proving again that winning consumer engagement need not, and should not, be governed by channel.

Unbeknownst to the Hotspot leadership team, the world’s leading commerce agency, The Integer Group began to take notice. Relentlessly focused on delivering Great Work That Works, The Integer Group recognised Hotspot’s “inno-grated” approach and signed a partnership in 2018.

“Integer was looking for a local partner that could deliver best-in-class global commerce capabilities in South Africa,” said Marc Ducnuigeen, Chief Operating Officer for The Integer Group. “Integer\Hot Spot is the South African entry door to our collective global capabilities and the commerce and shopper marketing expertise across our network.”

While Integer\Hotspot’s was enjoying its own rapid agency expansion, growth has always been at the centre of its channel-agnostic strategies.

“We have never wanted to be classified as a specialist agency. We use our understanding of the full value chain from the retail environment, challenges faced by manufacturers and communication opportunities to inform strategies that produce results. Ultimately, all this comes together to drive conversion and transaction.”

“Transaction. Without this final closing of the loop, all our efforts have been in vain. We have always placed shopper behaviour at the core of our strategies, long before ‘shopper marketing’ was a widely-used term,” says Wilson.

“The route-to-market is useless without a route-to-basket.”

This “route-to-basket” is what our strategic led team believes is the next step in shopper marketing.

An example of this “route-to-basket” is evident in Integer\Hotspot’s partnership with So Post – a London-based digital sampling platform.

“Just before lockdown, we identified So Post as an alternative channel to face-to-face sampling. The platform uses social media to identify and deliver to relevant, qualified consumers to ensure our samples reach the right hands. And it was perfectly positioned to thrive across UK, Europe, the USA and now South Africa during lockdown and beyond.

Integer\Hotspot’s also conceived an entirely new brains trust platform – Brand in the Bag. Recognising the missed opportunity in big business departmental silos, Integer\Hotspot’s created a workshop format that incorporated business heavy hitters in all departments, from NPD to packaging to execution, in order to harness the collective, integrated knowledge and experience of the whole. “Inno-gration” at its finest.

Testament to the “inno-gration” approach is Integer\Hotspot’s longstanding relationships with staff and clients. The key leadership team has remained unchanged for 22 years and clients such as GSK, Bic SA and Adcock Ingram have been on board for decades.

Team culture has always been paramount in creating a sustainable staff complement. Wilson describes it as, “one great big family making great things happen”. And great things did happen when the “family” secured four new clients during the Covid-19 lockdown as many other agencies closed their doors.

“We are truly blessed to have created and sustained long-term relationships with individuals who are as passionate about creating Great Work that Works as we are,” concludes Wilson.


+27 (0) 83 676 1822
6 Wessels Road, Rivonia, Sandton, 2128
Johannesburg, South Africa

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