054: Mentorship Musings: Advertising and the Art of Tailored Guidance with Raphael Gavin

C: Podcast

In this episode, Raphael Gavin, the media-production master, spills the beans on navigating the advertising industry, humorous entry to his career, and the transformative power of mentorship. From his accidental title upgrade to the importance of tailored guidance, dive into the world of advertising with wit and wisdom.

Key Points + Topics

  • [1:50] Raphael Gavin (AKA Ayli) is the cousin of Danny, The Digital Marketing Mentor, and the son of Louis Gavin, an early guest on the podcast. As a boy, he attended an all-boys religious school in South Africa. Then, he went on to university and started a degree program in marketing. In his third year, he came to the conclusion that studying and higher education weren’t really up his alley. While he knows they have an important place in the workforce, to Raphael, there’s no degree better than what is learned through experience. 
  • [3:59] There’s a bit of a funny story around Raphael’s entrance into the world of advertising. As a young man, he hadn’t really found his path and was kind of “bumming around,” as some young people can. His father (a bit of a legend in the advertising world) had just launched his own firm with a co-owner. Louis found Raphael at home one morning (probably hungover) and brought him into the office to be useful. Raphael was just assembling desks when one of the new clients came in for an introductory meeting. Basically, every staff member in the building was asked to attend in order to present the image of a large, well-staffed advertising firm. As everyone was introducing themselves and their roles, Raphael shared, “I’m here to learn.” He thought he’d nailed it – apparently, he hadn’t. He was sitting next to a doctor who was known to always carry a Moleskine notebook. While the meeting was happening, he wrote down, “Your new title is account executive,” tore it out, and gave it to Raphael. That became his first contract. 
  • [7:20] Raphael believes mentorship is a concept difficult to distill into one word. It’s as much give as it is take. He finds there are three pivotal elements:
    • Communication. It goes both ways. There must be clear and concise communication from both the mentor and mentee.
    • Mutual Trust. Without trust, people can’t really use a resource to get anything done. Without trust, a mentor is just micromanaging the mentee.
    • Tailored Guidance. Raphael knows from experience that without the guidance he’s received from mentors over the years that was formed uniquely for him and his needs, he wouldn’t be where he is today. 
  • [9:05] Mentorship can come from anyone. While he admits it might sound cheesy, his number one mentor is his wife. He truly respects how hard she works and how she helps those around her. His father’s agency co-founder, Sean Dawson, taught him how to work with clients and how to be a better businessman. 
  • [12:22] Raphael’s main goal when mentoring is to always be there for his mentees and offer support and help. He shares his experiences, the challenges he’s faced, and how he overcame them or didn’t. It’s important to remember that you’re mentoring people who are smarter and better at their job than you. They will likely end up leaving your company. But that’s not a bad thing. Our interview with Jay Steinfeld shared a similar insight. One of the best tributes to your mentorship is for your mentees to grow and thrive. 
  • [16:15] Flexibility is key. This was a lesson cemented by COVID-19 and its impact on business. Raphael and his colleagues know you can’t plan for everything. There is no way to anticipate every situation. So you have to learn to bend with the times, whether that means adjusting to COVID and its restrictions on content creation or AI impacting content in a multitude of ways. 
  • [19:35] Having worked with all manner of media, Raphael can’t choose a favorite. One of his favorite elements of advertising, though, is finding the best media placement for a given piece of creative. Success can be found when you pair the right messaging with the right placement. These days, it does seem like shorter content is catching more attention from the youth. Longer content has its place, but you have to be hyper-critical of the message and how it suits the medium and customer. 
  • [22:30] Thanks to that torn-out note in his father’s agency, Raphael started his work in advertising in the account management field. He started as an account executive, then moved to account manager, and eventually to business development. There was one common thread for all of his clients – they needed production. The agency at which he worked was small enough that everyone had to serve multiple functions. Since Raphael was working on producing content for all of his clients, he slowly grew to love production. There’s always something new happening and something to learn. 
  • [25:35] Working with/for family can be… challenging. As Louis Gavin is a bit of a name within the advertising world, he shared his vast knowledge with Raphael his entire life. Working with family can help you evolve faster (and no, he doesn’t mean nepotism). There’s a certain fast lane your career growth takes when you’re talking strategy and education 24/7, in the office and at home around the dinner table. 

Guest + Episode Links

Full Episode Transcript

Danny Gavin – Host 00:05

Hello everyone, this is Danny Gavin, founder of Optige, a Marketing Professor and the Host of the Digital Marketing Mentor. I’m really excited today for a very special guest, my own cousin, Raphael Gavin. We just call him Aily, so in the episode we’re going to call him Aily Gavin.



Head of content production at Levergy. He recently joined Levergy, an industry- leading passion marketing agency, helping brands be more culturally relevant and commercially stronger through the things that people love their passions. They’re one of the most awarded agencies in their industry, working with some of the world’s biggest brands. They uphold two core beliefs: brutal simplicity of thought and diversity of thought. Prior to this role, Raphael worked in content production in some of South Africa’s top agencies and has been part of some iconic pieces of marketing content. Today, we’re going to talk a bunch about content creation and a little bit about working with family. How are you doing, Aily?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 01:12

How’s it going so lucky to see you. I see you’ve done more homework than I did when I joined, but whatever you said was 100% and, yeah, great to be here.  


Danny Gavin – Host 01:22

Yeah, and just as your cousin, I’m super proud of you, just with everything that you’ve accomplished, and it’s awesome that two cousins, who have the same birthday, by the way, can actually get on a podcast and talk. It’s very special for me. 


Raphael Gavin – Guest 01:35

And me, yeah, and, like we said before, we sort of chanting happy birthday and, yeah, it is quite special that we can share a birthday, share a passion, share an industry as well. So this is also very special for me as well.


Danny Gavin – Host 01:49

Yeah, so let’s talk about where you went to school. I know you went to varsity. You didn’t necessarily finish. What was the road, what was the path there?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 01:57

Well, when I was younger, I went to an old boy’s school called the Torah Academy very religious Jewish school and my brother had moved to schools and went to another school called Yeshiva College. They held great programs. It was really close to where he was and where my parents were as well. So I moved much later on in about standard eight, I want to say and you already loved it there and then went on to start a beacon marketing. I got into third year, full time studying, and realized probably I’ll read this from many, many years in school but realized studying wasn’t really of my alley.



To be honest, a lot of debates went back and forth before I decided to actually just remove myself from the studies environment and really try and look into getting more experience to something that I think wasn’t needed.



I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t know if I was going to be in business or I was going to go to something else, or. But an opportunity arose and I granted with both hands in order to get more experience, because I do think there is a very big place when it comes to studies school, universities or college, wherever we might be, but in my very humble opinion, I don’t think there is a better degree for lack of a better term than experience. Failing and failing forward only comes with experience. If you can fail or succeed, fantastic, but failing is, I find, the best degree possible. Obviously, failing comes from doing, having a practical knowledge of whatever you’re doing, and I always thought failing was a bad thing and you had to go to school and study and do all these things. But I made many mistakes when I first started and it has brought me where I am at the moment and I have a lot of successes and things like that. I found that just getting the experience was best suited to me.


Danny Gavin – Host 03:54

So I think it’s a good time to tell everyone the amazing boardroom story because I think it’s hilarious but also so insightful of how you actually kind of entered the industry.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 04:06

I see like you’re shaming me here a bit here, Dan, but that’s fine.


Danny Gavin – Host 04:10

It’s how you started. It’s not where you were to be.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 04:13

I don’t know, I may finish the same way, but nonetheless. So excuse me the terrible knackles terminology here, but I was very young and I was a bit of a bum. I was doing things that only young people should do and I can’t do at the moment I can’t tell you that and I was bumming around and saying a good time, you know, really just sort of I want to say, figuring myself out, but I think that’s probably being a bit too positive about it. My dad, Louis Gavin, who has been quite a phenomenal figure within the advertising here in the industry in South Africa and probably some overseas stuff as well. He had left his advertising agency and was trying new things and one day he and one of his partners were looking to start an advertising agency. That advertising agency was called OpenCo and while he was starting I apologized for this, but I was sort of probably at home hungover. He grabbed me and he’s like come, come, boy, you’re now going to come and build some desks for my new office. There was no roll, there was no nothing. It was just to come and get a screwdriver and put some desks together. Be useful. I tried to be useful, I think, and we put some desks together. They were very well made desks, but I don’t think that was my calling and their first client that they got. They weren’t the biggest agency. There were still freelancing creatives and things like that and they asked everybody who was in the agency or the building at their table like, come, come, come, come, let’s go meet the client. There’s a lot of a need to show volume, of resource, of scale and things like that.



And weirdly enough, I don’t know how it happened. I remember getting in the car and then I remember sitting around in a circle with all these marketing directors and marketing managers. Everyone was going around being like this is me and I do this and this is my title. And I was sitting there going damn, I mean, I feel like I had a screwdriver in my pocket and I thought what was I supposed to say? I’m putting desks together. So I panicked.



I was taking a lesson from that panic and I said I’m Raphael and I’m just here to learn and I thought I nailed it. Apparently, I didn’t. The MD who was sitting next to me, he, he was infinitely known for for having a moleskin diary and I remember it very clearly. And he pulled it out and he wrote your new title is a count executives and pulled it off and gave it to me in the middle of this, like you know, round circle of all these, these, these big, these big dogs and the industry, and that was my first contract and I sort of stuck with advertising for for many years after that you know that’s so cool.


Danny Gavin – Host 07:00

So you were in the right place at the right time and you had people around you that actually cared, which is so cool.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 07:06

That is 100% I have. If I can say anything, mark in my career is I’ve had the lack and the fortune of being around. There are people, especially if there are times. Yes, yeah.


Danny Gavin – Host 07:17

So talking about being around the right people, so how would you define mentorship?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 07:22

so mentorship, I think it is. That is a tricky one because I don’t think you can Sum it up in a singular word. I think mentorship is as much as giving, as is with tape there’s always something to learn from someone you know and there’s always something to give to someone. But I Think there’s like three pivotal sort of elements which I think is important with mentorship. One of them, I think, is communication. Communication goes obviously both ways. There’s no point in banding about sort of Discussions or doing anything like that. It’s about clear, consarse communication both ways, from who you are mentoring or who. Who the, the men, the mentee is. Because, like I said, there’s, there’s ways of learning from everybody. Everyone’s had experience with everyone that pause Posts. So communication is key.



Mutual trust I think is also very important. Without trust I don’t think people can employ a resource or a person to do something. Basically, what you’re doing is you’re micro-managing and I don’t think that’s ever appealed to anybody who you’ve either mentored or asked someone to do something in some sort of business Respect. And then, lastly, I think it’s tainted gardens. Like I said, I didn’t go to University College, but the gardens are well received. It was Paramount to, to the things that I’ve learned, what I’ve done, where I’ve been, where I’ve, you know, landed up and, ultimately, sort of who I am at the moment. So you know, if you sum it up in those three pillars, I think that’s what’s quite important to me, yeah yeah, I love that.


Danny Gavin – Host 08:55

I think that’s a great perspective, especially from where you’re sitting in an advertising or marketing agency. So, Aily, let’s talk a little bit about some of your most influential mentors. You know either like what they gave you, or maybe you know other stories, situations that you’ve been in, where people have really, you know, led you in the right path.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 09:16

I found mentorship. You know mentorship comes from anybody and Anything. Number one, you know. So this might sound a bit cheesy but it is. It holds dear to me. Number one is my wife. She’s dedicated, like her son, to show us how things need to be done, organized, put in place, things like that. She’s helped find who you are, obviously from myself and now someone to be there. So this isn’t a shout out to her. What I’m saying is you know, I Think you can find mentorship from anybody, right?



The second one was they started the advertising agency that I did speak of earlier, which was open co. There was Sean Donovan and my father, Louis Gavin. Sean Donovan was the driving force who taught me what client services are, how to deal with clients, interactions with them, and making mistakes. Isn’t it not the biggest thing in the world? What you gotta do is show up again tomorrow stronger. I can tell you a story about that. I’m not sure if all your viewers would enjoy it, but we do want to hear it.



You want to get a story. Here’s the story and this is how it goes. We had been celebrating and there were drinks that were flowing, and it went into late into the night, as advertising parties do, and there were some mishaps, there were some arguments and it got a bit Rowdy. I got a call on a Friday and I got a call over the weekend to say Listen, graph, I think we need to talk. And I was early in my career and I was oh no, I’m gonna have to find a new career.



But what he did is he actually brought me a cup of coffee on Monday morning and he said listen, what you did wasn’t right. However, I understand these things happen, you know, and he gave me a bit of insight into certain things and he said all we can do is show up before nine o’clock. He said nine o’clock, show up and bring your best. Let’s do that. And from there I just realized you know, this is. This is a type of individual who doesn’t judge you on your flaws as a judge, you on the, on the, on the brakes that you have with Whatever it might be. It’s about pushing you as a human being, as a person, as a resource of an agency or a business, to to show up, do better at every single turn and time that you can get.


Danny Gavin – Host 11:44

Wow. I feel like that’s like a defining moment, right, because it could have gone either way. But for someone to literally instill the power into you like that, that’s so special.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 11:53

Yeah, look, every time I have made mistakes and everyone has made mistakes I think back onto that and I and I realized, yeah, cool, we made a mistake, be it, whatever this mistake was. And I always do look back and think, how do we get to the next step? Yeah, it was, it was. It was not right, it was wrong. That was, there was a, there was a break in some, some way or form. How do we fix that and show up better? So it was, it was a defining moment for me.


Danny Gavin – Host 12:20

Yes, yeah. So obviously, now that you’re more of a senior position, you are dealing with a lot of juniors. How do you mentor them? Any specific things like that? You learned from the people before you that you give over to them.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 12:33

I find what I try and achieve is always being there for them to showcase support, help, take them through the shared experiences that I’ve had, the challenges that I faced, overcome or had not, and obviously try and evolve the aspirations into something that they want to be, where they want to go. You know we are all here thinking that we are grinding from nine to five. That’s everyone’s got an ambition, everyone’s got aspirations and I think if you are able to assist whoever you are mentoring on the right path, I think they would respect you for that much. Remember it, like I have remembered, and hopefully take things that you might have cost on to them, to the next generation, I suppose.


Danny Gavin – Host 13:19

And I think sometimes it is like being a senior manager or a manager over someone. Sometimes you’re scared to find out what they really want, because then it’s like who are they leaving? You know, am I gonna help them leave? So it’s, it’s, sometimes it’s a little bit of a battle. So when you know that someone wants to be more and greater and that most probably means they’re not gonna be sticking around, so you want to help them. But on the other hand, you know by helping them to leave out, like how do you deal with that? There’s no easy way to deal with something like that.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 13:43

But the purpose of either mentoring or the purpose of being at a company is twofold. One is for you to give your best to the company to help grow, to do the things that the company requires, but vice versa, for the company to do the same for you. There’s no point in keeping anybody at a junior level or having less understanding, because all you are doing is not allowing someone to bring your best. Will people leave? Yes, people will leave. They’ll find opportunities, they’ll do different things, but that’s not what you need to focus on. What you need to focus on is allowing them the opportunity to grow, to get to the state where they need to be. So I suppose you can look at it as a bit philosophical over here, but you can look at it as a bit like a father-child relationship. I mean, that’s what ultimately happens. You grow your children so that they’ll be better than you ultimately.



The purpose of mentoring someone is that you are overseeing someone who’s smarter and better at their job than you are, so that they can go on to do the things that they need to do. That being said, I haven’t done that for myself. I stuck around in one industry sorry, one company for many, many years. Absolutely loved it. It was the most rewarding experience of us and you know heads in my career. Now I was there for 17 years and I’ve only recently transitioned into something new, so I might be counter.


Danny Gavin – Host 15:06

You know you know arguing with myself now. I love that. I love the fact that you’re presenting it like a father son relationship, right where you want your child To have more, and then, when they do go out and get better than you, it’s not that you’re upset, but it’s like that brings you the most joy it reminds me of. So there’s a previous guest on the podcast who is J Steinfeld and J he. He sold window blinds and shades online. Eventually, you know, he made his company 300 million and sold it to Home Depot, a really amazing story. But it’s amazing how now different people who work for him have started their own business and own companies and, as much as he likes, talks about his own success equally or more. He’s so excited about all these people that he’s, you know, helped and I love it.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 15:51

Yeah, I got that’s, that’s the, that’s the goal. You know things catch up to you. There’s guys who are not younger, smarter, more ambitious, and they, they’re gonna they’re gonna overtake. You can give them a little bit of guidance, or, if you can give them a little bit of a piece of your learnings, and they’re going to do great things. I think you need to be happy for the guys and and and really explore happiness for them, because that’s important, awesome.


Danny Gavin – Host 16:11

So I think now’s a good time to pivot into content creation production, so you’ve been a part of some incredibly impactful and cool content over your career. What’s your general approach to content creation for a new campaign?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 16:25

For a new campaign. You know it’s a bit tricky at the moment, but Like to answer the question a little bit differently, and again from a learning that I took from a very negative experience which was covered. You can never pinpoint one thing. You can’t plan and execute 100%. There’s gonna be things that go wrong, there’s gonna be things that go right. Flexibility, I find, is key. If you’re not able to bend with the times, try something new, be it a are, yet not a are, whatever it might be, you’re always going to be stagnant, you’re never going to be going forward. You’re never gonna. You’re never gonna. You’re never gonna achieve something great with skin. Within. That flexibility is important.



When COVID struck and where I was, we had to Hover the business into not content creation but content adaptation, there was no content being created. All we could do was take content and repurpose it into certain, into certain Other constructs. It worked, it was good and it got us through. It got us through a very bad time. We’re, I think a lot of people Unstortially didn’t get through if we weren’t flexible enough and and you know, didn’t bend like the reed or whatever it’s, whatever the saying might be, I think we would be. We would have been in a very different situation. So, yeah, I mean I hope that answers the question . It’s not so much back from the start of a campaign to the end of the campaign. I think, ultimately, flexibility is required in order to achieve something from the, from brief to it, to execution, to To outputs.


Danny Gavin – Host 17:58

Yeah, yeah, and I agree with you because I think, whether it’s a website or whether it’s a content piece, at least from my experience, no matter what you, you know the beginning, you at your outset, of what you wanted to do and accomplish, it’s always different, right, it’s always gonna be every single time is different.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 18:12

I mean, it could be. It could be something as Topical as budgets. It could be everyone’s really keen to do a great piece on the beach, but it’s raining that day. Flexibility, it’s. It’s key and it’s important and it’s I think it’s, it’s the, it’s the one of the driving principles I try and find. If something is going wrong, how do we turn around and make it, make it into a positive and go forward to involve it into something better?


Danny Gavin – Host 18:38

Yeah, do you feel like you have to teach that to your clients even before you start with them, like, hey, it may not be perfect, you got to be flexible. Or is it something that comes up more often during the project? It varies. 


Raphael Gavin – Guest 18:49

I think most clients probably Understand they might be irritated within the, within the moment, within the time. But once you conclude the project and once you get something out and, and you know, once the magic is made and you’ve Polished everything and all all the nice goodies, I think there’s realization there. But again it’s gonna be To and fro, back and forth arguments with the client, with the credit team, with whoever it might be, and again it brings it back to the flexibility of things. If you aren’t flexible in those situations, you’re not going to be able to get anything out. So some clients might be a bit more rigid, but I think mostly as a whole, a lot of, a lot of clients are to come into that thinking.


Danny Gavin – Host 19:29

Now I think yeah so do you have a media type that you prefer the most, whether it’s video, audio, written from a media perspective, it isn’t really like a single piece of media that I would say that’s, that’s the ultimate.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 19:42

every campaign, every brief has a Requirement who is it going to speak to? Who’s it going to get to? Who’s the audience? It could be a billboard, it could be you know, digital billboard, it could be a, you know, tv. It could be a small piece of content, it could be anything. It’s not a specific media piece, but I think it’s the best media placement and I think speaks best to the audience and it’s important to to to build whatever content it might be around that speaking to the audience.


Danny Gavin – Host 20:11

Yeah, I love it. So it’s more about creating this Message, this visual, and then you then take it and you can put it and create in many different forms. In a world that seems to be perpetually moving to shorter and shorter attention spans and we know that because we both have kids and Therefore shorter form content Do you have a preference between short content or long content and if so, why so?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 20:35

I don’t have a preference, but I am seeing a big uptake on the, the, the shorter content. I think there’s been a lot of attention that I think I’d like to include in the youth. But the youth is that double, triple screening these days. So what they’re doing is they’re watching TV, that on their phone and they are paired or something to that effect. So if you, if you have something that’s drawn out, you know 25 minutes and there is a place for that 100%. But I find the shorter Content is the content that’s really grasping people’s attention. How you go and achieve that, that grasp of their attention is a whole nother situation. But yeah, I mean to answer your question. I think the shorter content is really where, where I think it’s it’s. It’s evolving a lot more and growing now.


Danny Gavin – Host 21:30

And do you feel like your clients are bought into that concept, like they are? Are they like yeah, we need shorter content. Or do you feel like for some of them, you still have to educate them? Hey, like you know, a 10 minute video wouldn’t be so great when we get briefed on a campaign.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 21:43

We generally get a media schedule. We’re looking to do digital billboards. You know YouTube bumpers, pre- rolls, nice content pieces, things like that. So I think clients have got a good grasp what’s required when we’re in hell. It’s about taking the message and being hypercritical. The message for the medium. Obviously, for example, you know digital billboard you don’t have much time to get the person’s attention, the message across, because the one of their driving. So it’s about appropriating the media with the message and I think clients do Understand that. Obviously, there’s always going to be educational Means required, but I think that most clients do do sort of grasp that. Yes, Aily.


Danny Gavin – Host 22:29

Earlier in your career you were in more account management types of roles. Was content production always your goal? What drew you into that field?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 22:35

So when I started, I was in account management and started off as an account executive and I worked on Campaigns where production was required. When I built myself in the account management perspective, I Went from accounts executive to account manager to account director to a BED. All the accounts that I worked on Required a production arm. There was always production. It was required and it was above the line. Many of the clients that we worked on were through the lines. There was always production needed and the agency I worked at needed everybody to just put two hats on their head. Everybody had to do this and that and there was no I’m better at this or better at that. Everyone had to do multiple roles in the smaller agency and actually one small agency of the year.



I want to be mean, I want to be clean, I want to be small. Everyone drove, everyone trying these things and production landed in my lap because of the clients, that, that that we held. I grew and loved it. I had a free-launch producer who I worked with for 17 years now, but started off working with them back then and grew a love, love for it was always something new. There’s always something different, there’s always something to learn, something to trust and your approach to take, and I landed in my lap, essentially. But the love for it grew over my career within Client service account management. Essentially, what happened was when I was thinking of moving away from account management and getting more into production, an opportunity arose to go and run a content production house. And yeah, so I would, I would say. The love of it grew Green while I was in a different field.


Danny Gavin – Host 24:30

So one obvious common thread through the work you’ve published in the past is big emotion and not shying away from emotional verbiage. How do you decide which emotion you’re really wanting to draw out of the content? Consumer?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 24:42

I suppose it varies between every campaign, but for me it’s positive engagement essentially if you are able to to get someone who goes online all the time To say why don’t like that deal, your company didn’t do well, because no one no one goes on the morning more and says well done for sending me those shoes they must eat went where it’s. Or no one goes online and says you know, well done for something a product was supposed to do. People are very easily Able to go online and provoke negative sentiments to brands, to people, whatever it might be. In a short answer, I find positive engagements and there’s certain ways and you know Rounds to do such things. But positive engagement to your viewers, to ever watching your content or absorbing it, is something I find quite important to.


Danny Gavin – Host 25:33

So working for or with your father, that’s an interesting dynamic few can relate to. I know I can because I’ve done it. What have been some of your favorite aspects of working with your dad?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 25:43

My dad was a massive driving force within the advertising world in South Africa. So he’s shared vast knowledge of advertising, just constantly being pushed down and us being at home before I joined advertising to when I joined his, his advertising agency. His vast knowledge is is there’s not many others out there who’s who’s done what, what he’s done? You know, obviously working with family as Dan you can relate to is always difficult. There’s, you know, sometimes you are treated as a child, not as an employee or a resource. But if you take that and put it into a positive use you can evolve faster.



I’m not talking about nepotism here. I’m talking about you know you go home and you constantly talk about the campaign. Or you know you’re at a Sunday lunch together and there’s always the same connection and you’re always speaking about the same things and you know to that, to that aspect, you know, working with family, I think, is obviously quite difficult. I’m pretty sure he would, he would agree, probably more than I would agree. But having someone who’s probably forgotten more about advertising than I’ll know, obviously that’s just. She experienced was was you know, the experience he was able to, to God push, you know, excel, excel, me was, was, you know, critical.


Danny Gavin – Host 27:09

So you’ve clearly made your own mark on the world and advertising in South Africa and, in general, were you or your father the stronger pusher for that drive? So was it like? Was it like you gotta make your own self or was it more like you like? Oh, like I gotta. You know, here’s my dad, but I gotta be my own man and be successful.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 27:28

I don’t want to to say either of us were. I think it was 5050. But, that being said, I will tell you a story. We were starting a content division and I went overseas to LA to the broader group to learn about how guys have done it overseas, be it in LA or be it in New York, wherever it might be, and we were there for insights about guys who have done it where they are, step by step, what they did. You know, a learning experience.



And there were quite a few people there and I randomly sat down at a table in LA, ever since I was sitting next to this lady, a wonderful lady, introduced myself and said huh, I’m Raphael Gavin. And she looked at me and said Raphael Gavin, do you know Louis Gavin? I was like oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, he’s my dad and that’s far away from home in LA. She heard the word Gavin and automatically went there, and so I would like to say you know who was the greater push? I would like to say it was 50- 50, but it was because of who he was and how people knew what he had done within the industry. That sort of drove me to do something for my own. I didn’t want to have to go to China next. And someone said oh, Louis Gavin, your dad. So it was. I would like to say 50- 50, but it’s probably a little bit more on his side.


Danny Gavin – Host 28:59

But you know what I think, just knowing you, it’s amazing. I really feel like you have accomplished that, like you have built yourself up and become really successful in your own right, which is amazing, and you’ve worked really hard, so you deserve it. Now that you’re a father, how has that changed the way you look at having worked with your father, like, do you cut him some more slack now that you know what it is to be a dad?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 29:21

So having worked with my father. Obviously I applied a harsher stick, got to do this, got to be right, brought you in, got to do the right things, and obviously it excelled me into what I’ve done With relation to my kids. I wouldn’t want to work with them. I don’t think it’s something that I would want to do. I think they are well even right now. I think they’re infinitely more, they’ve got more wisdom than I do, but I would like them to follow their own path and I wouldn’t want them. I wouldn’t want to work together with them. I think I wouldn’t be the best teacher for them. Let’s put it that way, when I had a good teacher, I don’t think I would be the best teacher for them. Has it changed the way I’ve tried to bring them up? I don’t think so. I had good parenting, good mentorship when it came to being dragged up, and obviously I’ve tried to emulate it at that with my kids as well.


Danny Gavin – Host 30:20

Again, it’s interesting if you look at the generational. So your dad tried working with his dad. It didn’t work, so he decided to go into advertising. You guys worked together and then now it’s kind of like, okay, I’d rather my kids not work with me. So who knows what will happen in the future. But it’s just interesting, right, it’s just interesting how these things change.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 30:42

Look, I don’t want to say it was peaches and cream all the time, but, like I said, it was an experience that I don’t think I could have gotten from anyone else anywhere else.


Danny Gavin – Host 30:50

So yeah, All right, so it’s time for our lightning round. I know you’re a big movie buff. When I was in South Africa with you, we had so much fun just going to movies all the time and watching movies. So we both love movies. Let’s talk about your top three movies.


Raphael Gavin – Guest 31:04

Top three movies, can I say Lord of the Rings one, two and three, and would be Donald Holtz.



No, no, my all- time favorite actor, Sean Connery, absolutely loved him and, weird enough, most people would think I would go to James Bond, but I didn’t. It’s a movie called the Rock I enjoyed when I was young watching it. I watched it many times and I even got my mom into watching it and she and I always used to have this little bit of banter trying to put Sean Connery’s accent on. Don’t ask me to do it, I can’t do it. But the Rock was one of my all- times.



Obviously, the Lord of the Rings series. I’m a big geek and I love the Lord of the Rings. Play the games, watch the movies, love it all. And recently I watched a movie that I absolutely loved. It was a. You know, I like watching movies to sort of turn off. I want to watch a documentary or anything. I can watch this stuff so I can sort of blank out for a bit. And I watched the Grey man and as an action movie I absolutely loved that. It was start to finish, had the emotions, had the action. Recommend watching it and turning your brain off for a bit and just enjoy pure, pure, unadulterated action entertainment.


Danny Gavin – Host 32:13

What’s the next big thing? What can people expect from Raphael Gavin?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 32:17

So I’ve recently joined a new company, which is absolutely amazing, a company called Levergy in South Africa here, and we are looking to really build a content division here. There are so many rich opportunities to sort of really really portray clients’ stories, be it from whatever content, whatever medium that you want to speak about, but really build a hub here. That is the number one thought of you know, content creation hub within South Africa. If we can pull it off the next couple of years, I will call myself lucky and I can check a big tick off for one of my goals in life.


Danny Gavin – Host 33:02

Well, I’m excited to see that happen and I’m sure it will. So, Aily, where can listeners learn more about you and your business?


Raphael Gavin – Guest 33:08

You can actually go onto Leverge’s websites. Go have a look at their socials. They are doing amazing things, an amazing bunch of guys. Culture that these guys have is just phenomenal. Culture is exceptional in this place. Everyone is, you know, better than the next. There’s just massive things that are going to happen here.


Danny Gavin – Host 33:26

I can tell you that for sure. Well, Aily, thank you so much for being a Guest  on the Digital Marketing Mentor and thank you, listeners, for tuning into the Digital Marketing Mentor. We’ll chat with you next time.

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