Lusanda Worsley

Companies Name:
EMPIRE Innovations

What does your company do?

The advertising industry is seen as a “white boys club” preventing inclusivity and the creation of content that depicts more accurate representations of South Africans and Africans.  It has been 22 years since the first discussion on the very same topic. Why should you care? Mesmerized by my first true love at just 3 years old, a huge television, and my first English words being “All Gold Jam” I’ve always had a fascination with advertising and the power it holds. The power to tell a story, that has the ability to change someones life. As I continue to grow my career in advertising, I now know and fully understand the effect that advertising has on our society, individualism, how we view the world and who we become. My name is Lusanda Worsley, MD of EMPIRE Innovations. Africa’s first owned Advertising Innovations agency, specializing in brand innovation and advertising.

What has been your biggest success?

Empire’s and my personal biggest success has been the ability to change people’s perspectives on what advertising is and how it can change their lives for the better – by simply doing what we do as advertisers and industry innovative leaders. Having the opportunity to speak on diversity in advertising, the rise of the creative industry, and sharing a true representation of African stories at Ted X Cape Town, national tertiary institution around the country and media platforms that have gotten traction from all over the world has been amazing, but doing as a career has been a dream come true. Gil Scott-Heron said, “the revolution will not be televised.” He was right, it wont be televised. It will however be Tweeted, Snapchatted, Instagrammed, Facebook, Periscoped and quite frankly it’s be whatever you want it to be. Because today stories have no boundaries, you and you are stories.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

In my opinion there are a lot of barriers to entry within the advertising industry. One is exposure – exposing the youth (from a high school level) to the industry and showing them that a career in advertising is viable and internationally recognised, and goes far beyond being just a face in a advert. Another is hiring – the problem here lies in lack of diversity at a management level. How can we expect to create a more diverse industry if the people who are hiring are themselves not diverse? And another barrier is the lack of support in the entrepreneurial space, in terms of the creation and development of black owned agencies and brands. EMPIRE seeks to change all of the above to eventually become the an innovative institution and brand agency where we can solve and build a next generation creative leaders.

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