Robot South Africa is Open for Business

You may not have heard of Robot before and that’s because they’ve been busy creating kickass music videos, commercials and branded content for the international market. Having launched as a service company, they soon started getting briefs directly due to their distinct style, their international network and resources and their unconventional way of producing work. Robot now wants to bring their vibe to the South African market, so we went all Sherlock Holmes on this one to find out what exactly they’re up to.

Introducing the Brand

Over the years Robot has worked all over the globe. They’re certainly not a traditional production company and rather refer to themselves as a ‘brand’, using the style they shoot in and their international network to create a distinct energy in their work. The brand has evolved from only servicing clients to now collaborating creatively and curating specialised teams of directors, crew, choreographers and creatives, locally or internationally, that are best suited for each brief. In short, the world is very small for Robot.

Starting out in the industry as a service company for international music videos, co-founder Liam Johnson, fell in love with the vibe, the beats, the pace and the coolness of what goes into creating these three and a half minuters. But before he knew it, clients were approaching Robot directly to bring that same energy of their music videos to commercials and branded content. Robot has now built up a huge network of artists and directors around the world putting them at the forefront of what is happening in youth culture, with their fingers firmly on the pulse! While co-founder Craig Moore is based in the UK and also directs for the Familia production company – one of Robot’s partners – Liam is determined to broaden Robot’s landscape here in South Africa.

Robot claims they are all about creating work that is filled with mad ideas, massive lights and motorbikes. Parkour, wingsuits and helicopters! They love immense landscapes, gorgeous sunsets and breathtaking beaches with a penchant for some dark, freaky underbelly.

Robot’s Rise to Success

After launching Robot as a service company, Liam and Craig’s first job was for a music video and on a shoestring budget #classic. Cut to a few months later and ‘The Renegade’ by Friend Within, which was shot in Soweto featuring buckets full of pantsula dancing, wins a UK Music Video Award, helping to put Robot and pantsula on the world map. Robot’s music video reel is now off the charts, actually no, very much on the charts. In fact the second music video Robot touched was for Sigma ‘Nobody to Love’ and it was nominated for a Brit Award and currently sits at almost 300 million hits on YouTube alone. A pretty viral start for a new company.

Friend Within ‘The Renegade’

Sigma ‘Nobody To Love’

Liam: A lot of people, especially the younger generations, relate to music video themes and Robot started using these in our commercials. For us music videos create a positive experience, there’s real engagement through the visuals and the viewer feels like they belong to the culture of the brand. We love strong visuals packed with energy and we are now able to apply that to all the commercials and branded content we create.

Robot’s Work

Robot’s niche positioning of creating visually driven ads or content with a music video style means that their reel really is just damn cool. They also proudly proclaim that ‘if you want something done, and done well, all you have to do is tell us it’s impossible, then step back and watch the brilliant madness unfold.’ Here are some of IDIDTHAT’s top picks from the Robot reel of madness.

McDonalds ‘The Unchangers’

Shy FX ‘We Just Don’t Care ft. Shingai’

Nissan X Trail ‘Wakeboard Wipeout’

Tinie Tempah ‘Girls Like’

Sigala, Paloma Faith ‘Lullaby’

Robot Gets Green Light For SA

Liam: We love working internationally but we want South Africa to be Robot’s home. We can’t wait to jump over buildings on bicycles, spin while standing on cars and roller-skate while doing pirouettes and we definitely can’t wait to bring that all to the South African market.
Craig: Exactly, we love South Africa and what it offers. Robot shoots here all the time, harnessing the beauty and diversity of the country while collaborating with all the unique people and subcultures. Recently we actually shot that Sigala video ‘Lullaby’ featuring Paloma Faith in Cape Town during the drought at Theewaterskloof dam.

Robot loves breaking the rules and perhaps, where some of the bigger companies are battling to adjust to the changing landscape or unable to adapt to smaller budgets because of larger overheads – Robot is leading the charge with their agility!

Liam: Simply put, everything Robot produces will have that essence of the brand. If you like our brand and like what we create, then we’re for you…we’ll make it happen.

There you have it! While client’s budgets have become smaller and expectations bigger, Robot’s offering of including a full service but also bridging the gap and getting involved creatively becomes a lot more appealing. These new age types always think they can do anything and everything, and we gotta say, after sitting down with them and watching their work, we think they might just be right. Welcome to South Africa Robot!

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Executive Producer: Liam Johnson

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio
Credits: Writer – Anne Hirsch / Art Director – Julie Maunder

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