Autumn 2009  

Opening Number

Here it is – the latest, greatest, most refreshing, heart warming and tantalising corporate newsletter out there! Stop what you are doing, put down your coffee, log out of Facebook and prepare to get excited cause this stuff is hotter than Gusheshe on the Friday night of a long weekend. Underdog’s latest Kennel Talk is here, baby! It’s the issue where we tell you about what we’ve been doing during the past year, where we’ve been doing it and with who…

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An Old Dog Learns New Tricks – Underdog Turns 15!

Underdog celebrated its 15th Birthday on 12 September 2008 in the great style we have come to expect. Our CEO, Marc Schwinges, gave an emotional speech thanking all our loyal clients for their support and recounting the EVOLUTION of the dog from amoeba to fully fledged old dog status. Through a changing economy and much upheaval – Marc has steered the company to what it is today and every person was duly thanked for their part in the story. The glamorous event was held at Soulsa in old Melville. The clients, friends, family, freelancers, former employees and fans all turned out in their finest to party up a storm with Bianca le Grange, Brendan Durie and Cofield Mundi. The food was prepared by celebrity chef, Niki and paired off with different wines. Yes sir, the party was pumping, the entertainment was celebrity style and the food was superb.

Those who attended the glittering, celeb-filled event can see all the photos of this
memorable evening here



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A Time For Change: Underdog Launches A New Website

She walked in, her long brown hair trailing behind her in the breeze. She carried nothing but a small handbag and a knowing smile. She moved to the desk, her subtle perfume filling the air. She sat down, breathing in deeply. She knew she would do it. Every part of the plan was finally in place. She had been waiting to do it. It was time. She raised her hand to the desk…

…and then Underdog’s top Art Director, Tracey Butterfield, made us the most fabulous new website.

Client work always comes first at Underdog but we grabbed the first little break in client deadlines we could find to complete this mammoth task. Oh yes – you heard it here first – the all new Underdog website is finally live and packed full of ALL our latest projects, photos and information. It’s cleaner, easier to navigate and shows off the new Underdog ready for a bumper 2009/10! With 15 years of work in our extensive portfolio, it’s hard to pick the best stuff, let alone write about it all!

Visit the site immediately after you have browsed the rest of this newsletter at:, and make sure you have your FLASH active and speakers on, for a real “Underdog Style” experience.



What The Heck Happened In 2008?

Someone once said “If there was ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing – it is now.” Since we don’t know who said that – let’s move on. What a year 2008 turned out to be. Let’s reflect together now:

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Shoprite Checkers / Sabc 2 Woman Of The Year Award 2008


The Line Producer sits at her desk, she’s swamped with maps and booking schedules. She works frantically, her budget at the ready.MARC SCHWINGES, Underdog’s CEO enters…

Marc, I am doing the callsheet for the Woman of the Year shoot now. We are going to some pretty remote places.
Wonderful! Any places we haven’t been to before?
Ja, there’s Mankweng in the Limpopo Province.
What’s the accommodation like there?
Well, there is Mankweng “Inn.”
How many stars is that?

Line Producer smiles.

The Shoprite Checkers / SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award is a firm favourite amongst both our staff and our freelancers. The award is a celebration of one of South Africa’s greatest assets – our women. 2008 was the fourth consecutive year that Underdog was contracted to provide all the profiles, inserts and promos for this prestigious award. This year we were also tasked to produce a 48 minute documentary show on all the finalists. All this had to be shot in 21 diverse locations and edited in just over 6 weeks using Underdog’s state of the art real-time shared storage editing facilities, with three edit suites working off the same media pool.

The award show, held at Grand West Casino, was broadcast on Woman’s Day. Underdog would like to congratulate Janet Buckland for her phenomenal work in Arts, Culture and Communication, which led to her being named the overall winner for 2008. Unfortunately there will be no award in 2009 due to the pressures of the global credit crunch – but Underdog hopes to continue our proud association with this prestigious award in 2010 when South Africa welcomes the world to our great country. Thanks must go to Shoprite Checkers, SABC 2 and the wonderful sponsors – AVIS and Sun International – for making it all possible.

Underdog Defines Itself, Highly

Let’s go to the movies! When Therapy Nightclub needed a High Definition cinema spot for their Ru-Paul Pride After-Party party – Underdog was there to answer their call. This was Underdog’s first ever full HD 1080i project and it had to be done using only three photos of disco diva, Ru-Paul, who was coming to perform for the first time ever in South Africa. You will probably know that a drag diva is not easily impressed but apparently she really liked this one! High praise for the Underdogs who pulled this off in only two days in our own facilities.


Community Builder of the Year 2008


The Underdog crew and Dingaan Mokebe, a.k.a. James in “Muvhango,” one of the celebrity presenters for the Community Builder of the Year award sit staring out the window reflectively as they wait at the garage.

You know, these finalists are amazing – what they do for their people – it’s incredible.
It really makes one reflect on your own life. What really matters…
I know! It’s not about fame or glory. It’s about people.
It’s about your community.
It’s about what you can do for others.
It’s about…

Suddenly there’s face against the window

(Excited) James! It’s James! James from Muvhango!

Silence falls over the vehicle

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This was the first time that Underdog was contracted by SABC 2 to produce all the profiles, promos and inserts for the Community Builder of the Year award. Our long history with SABC 2 on the Woman of the Year Awards as well as our experience on this kind of work helped clinch the deal. The award is sponsored by Sowetan, Old Mutual and the SABC. In addition to an overall winner, there are four categories honoured – Adult, Youth, Senior and Group. The Underdog team joined presenters Michelle Garforth-Venter (Wild Ltd), Ntokozo Mbuli (50/50), Dingaan Mokebe (Muvhango) and Patrick Shai (one of South Africa’s great stage and screen actors).

Most of the profiles were produced in the vernacular and the finalists came from all corners of South Africa – which meant we had to pack our little suitcases and go to each of said corners in order to shoot their profiles. We drove over 5000km’s and flew 16 times in the space of one month! Ma-Mary Mhlanga was the overall winner for her wonderful brick and tile-making project based in Middelplaas, Limpopo. Underdog thanks SABC for allowing us the opportunity to get involved.


  Some Sensational Solutions

Since there are simply too many projects we have done in the last year, here are just a few highlights of the multimedia solutions we have crafted for our clients. Please take a look at the following page for a larger sample of our work.

Anglo Platinum Corporate Affairs Toolkit – CD- Rom
Underdog’s new client Helena van Wyk Consulting brought us a stunning little job to “package” into a CD-Rom “Corporate Affairs Toolkit”: PDF documents and Word forms generated elsewhere. This was to be used in-house by Anglo Platinum for their staff to access various documents or information easily and quickly via an intuitive and attractively designed interface.
Football 4 HIV Free – New Web Site
Making use of the global popularity of football; aware of the African hosting of the upcoming Football World Cup – F4 HIV Free is a colourful and interesting new website designed, created and hosted by Underdog at
ImagineAfrika – New Web Site
Underdog took over design, hosting and maintenance for this multi-lingual Pan-African youth reality TV show run by the African Broadcast Media Partnership. See the site at:
DetNet - Web Site, print and large format
We are constantly amazed by the technology behind this client's offering. As the client expands its range of sophisticated blasting technologies and detonators, Underdog expands their existing web site with the new DigiShot product, as well as producing brochures, technical spec sheets and large format posters. See the client’s website at:
loveLife - Web Site Overhaul
Underdog has worked on the loveLife on-line presence since both were puppies themselves! 2008/9 sees this popular, youth-focused information portal getting a significant facelift… starting with the funky, new Youth site, which is already live at: The Parents, Corporate and a new goGo getters web site will go live any day now.
Health-e – Web Site Overhaul
Another long time Underdog client, Health-e, is a multi-award winning On-Line News Agency organisation dealing with various health related issues in South Africa and the ever-present HIV / AIDS threat. Underdog has the responsibility of maintaining and hosting this vitally important website as well as sending out the weekly mailers. In 2008 the site underwent a significant update and enhanced functionality was built in, allowing Health-e to upload video files in multiple formats. Document uploads are now also automated on this site in addition to existing audio upload futures – making this site a true cross media offering. Visit to see it in action.
Standard Bank Fleet Management – FIMS CD-Rom
Via our client Email Connection, Underdog facilitated the production and duplication (10 000 copies) of a CD-Rom sales tool and overview for the new Standard Bank Online Fleet Information Management System FIMS tool. The system is aimed at corporate fleet managers and designed to empower greater control of their fleets.
Comfort Creations – Product CD-Rom
In addition to a long history producing Comfort Creations web site ( Underdog is now responsible for the design and assembly of the company’s product catalogue CD, which is given to their clients in order to showcase their products in the comfort of the clients’ homes. The CD was designed in FLASH and features an extensive range of products with an option to download CAD files for each product allowing an interior designer to include these products in designs for their clients. The CD also provides printable pages for easy reference and works on PC and Mac.

Of Apples and Macs

As we announced in the previous Kennel Talk, Underdog’s two custom built Final Cut Studio 2 Suites (capable of full HD non-linear) have now been extended by a third mobile suite, which can also be connected to the common 5TB storage server and the results have been fantastic. We have successfully (as promised) made a migration of all edit and design machines to Mac which means we can make optimal use of the Mac OS Platform and the very latest software CS and FCS. We now boast three high specification Mac Pro’s, a MacBook Pro and a 24inch iMac. We have several Apple Cinema Displays – no messing around here at the kennel. We even have the superb 30inch model and trust us – It’s BIG.

All post production on our projects this year, barring voice recordings and final mix, was done in-house making us super-duper efficient and cost effective. Since Underdog's fully automatic diesel generator and six APS Smart UPS's have been fully operational, we are never left in the dark and are also more reliable than ever before.


The Buzz On B-BBEE

Underdog has, as of 11 February 2009 (as an Exempted Micro Enterprise) been rated as a Level 4 Contributor with 100% BEE recognition. We were rated by DRGsiyaya, a broad-based verification agency and issued Certificate No: E00258. For 15 years Underdog has been and remains truly committed to transformation internally, via our suppliers and also in the broader industry in which we operate. Our internal mentorship and training initiates (The Puppy Project) have literally changed lives. For more on this and some real world examples of a small company making a meaningful difference, see our new website!


A Global Hot Dog

It is rumoured that the great Baroness Coral von Reefenhausen gets around – but who knew she would return to Germany? We are delighted to announce that Below the Belt has been aired on TiMM (Germany’s new Gay and Lesbian television Satellite and Cable broadcaster). We discovered her on YouTube as well, complete with German subtitles, which (together with countless fan e-mails she has been receiving) prove that her popularity (infamy, some would say) is indeed growing even 6 years after the show was originally created. Perhaps it is time to send her on some new adventures…?


  Space at the Kennel

We are very sad to lose a long term tenant of ours – ABMP – due to their need to downsize in the global economic crunch. It does, however, mean that there is extra room in the kennel:

  • 4 work spaces
  • Fully furnished
  • Fully air-conditioned offices
  • View of garden
  • Use of well equipped modern boardroom and other common spaces
  • Advanced phone system already in place with 4x Phones and 1x Fax Extension
  • 5 x Network connections already set up for Internet Access
  • Off street parking
  • The office has an alarm, video access control and electric fencing
  • Clean line power and lights backed up by diesel generator
  • Base Rental: R4460 / month
    Please call our offices to make an appointment and see the space yourself.

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