Adman turned Director, Katlego Baaitse, joins Spitfire Films

Until recently Katlego Baaitse was an award-winning Senior Art Director and in-house commercials Director at Joe Public, where he spent almost 4 of his 12-year chapter in advertising. Over the span of his ad career, Katlego has always found ways to hone his skill as a filmmaker, bringing a unique ‘Katlego realness’ to everything he touches. Ready to take on his passion of directing full time, he has now officially said goodbye to agency life and hello to his new family at Spitfire, where he’ll be supported by some of South Africa’s top directors and producers. We met with Spitfire Exec Producer, Liesl Lategan and Katlego to get real about their new partnership.

Let’s get straight to the point, when Liesl told us Katlego was joining Spitfire, no introductions were needed, we knew EXACTLY who he was. Katlego first caught our attention with the Chicken Licken ‘Kentucky’ spot he recently directed, and yes, you’ve probably seen it too. We weren’t the only ones who thought it was bloody brilliant; the ad was awarded ‘Best of Craft for Direction’ by Director Greg Gray in the IDIDTHAT Craft Awards April 2020.

Chicken Licken ‘Everyones talking about it – Kentucky’

Katlego actually shot this ad in the US of A, smack bam in the land of chicken itself, Kentucky. And not an actor in sight; Katlego used real Kentuckians all the way. His choice to cast non-actors meant the ad was layered with rich Southern nuances creating an authentic piece of content that almost makes you forget that they’re selling chicken.

Here’s what Director Greg Gray had to say about Katlego’s direction: …Katlego Baaitse, mimics the conventions of the genre so effectively that viewers are immediately drawn in. He employs a cinematic doccie-style approach, with what appears to be authentic local interviews, underpinned by a Southern soundtrack and a well-paced edit. The way the narrative unfolds arouses the curiosity of both the viewer and the ‘documentary’s’ protagonists and keeps them guessing until the very end. I think this is a great piece of work both in its’ idea and execution.”

Okay Greg, thanks for practically writing everything we wanted to take credit for saying about Katlego!

Katlego Did That

Katlego has not only created authentic and entertaining work for Chicken Licken. His direction on some of his Converse spots and his latest campaign with Net#work BBDO for the launch of Oppo, have that distinct ‘Katlego realness’. For Oppo, Katlego directed 3 influencers, Bee Diamondhead, Young Stilo and African Ginger in the most cinematic ‘unboxing videos’ we certainly have ever seen.

Converse X Surfers not Street Children

Stacey-Lee’s Story #InMyConverse

OPPO ‘Young Stilo’ 

OPPO ‘African Ginger’ 

Katlego on ‘Converse X Surfers not Street Children’: Directing in the middle of the ocean on a jet ski in winter will definitely stay with me haha, but it’s the group of kids that changed me forever. I spent a lot of time with them over the week of production. I really wanted them to feel comfortable enough around me to open up so that I could do their story justice. I tried to be as vulnerable about my own story and past with them, which meant they let their guard down and we could just talk freely and I think that made this feel less like a performance and more like a real honest conversation.”

Credit: Chicken Licken produced by Burley Boys / Converse ‘Stacey’ produced by Dolph / Converse Surfers & OPPO campaign produced by Spitfire

Q: Liesl, what was it about Katlego as a filmmaker that stood out for you?
Liesl: He has this ability to draw incredibly emotional performances out of people. His work is so authentic and there’s a rich realness, we need more of that in advertising. The fact that he is able to achieve that and with such humility as well, just made us fall in love with him. He is able to get the best out of everyone he works with on set in the most humble and unassuming way. I think that is the mark of a brilliant director.

Q: Katlego, how did the move from advertising to becoming a commercials director come about?
Katlego: I’ve spent over a decade in advertising, but I’ve always found ways to keep directing film on the side. It was when I was working at Joe Public that I truly started growing as a director. They went out of their way to help me pursue my dream. With their incredible support I was able to cut my teeth directing some really big projects and start creating an authentic cinematic style that excites me.

Q: Katlego, with such an impressive reel already, you had your choice, so why Spitfire?
Katlego: Liesl and I actually met years ago when I was working at Ireland/Davenport and we’ve just always had great chemistry. We then had the opportunity to work on some Converse ads together, which I directed and Spitfire produced, and it was a perfect match, so we made it official.

Katlego’s ad industry background means he understands the business of advertising, an invaluable asset on any production. His natural ability to capture honest performances and his cinematic approach will no doubt see him creating a rich and exciting body of work with that unique ‘Katlego realness’. And his humble, down-to-earth nature is pure joy to be around. With Spitfire’s production support to back him, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this undeniable talent. Email

Wanna (s)talk some more? Spitfire on IDIDTHAT and Instagram

*Credit: Headline picture designed by Shane Forbes

Contact Spitfire Films:

Executive Producer: Liesl Karpinski

View I DID THAT Profile
View Spitfire Website

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of IDIDTHAT. Reprints must credit I DID ( as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.

This Editorial is paid for by Spitfire. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact and we’ll make it happen! #Boom