Advertising Week and Hartbeat Partner for AWAfrica, Hosting Thought Leadership Programming Track

AWAfrica will make its long-anticipated debut in Africa on February 14-19, 2023, after the planned launch was delayed by the global pandemic.

“We’re excited to expand our relationship with Advertising Week and bring our new ‘Branding with Hart’ program to the first ever AWAfrica,” says Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph. “Africa is such a vital hub of creativity, commerce and innovation. Through this initiative, we’re looking to ignite a bidirectional exchange of ideas, talent and content between Hartbeat and some of the most exciting brands, executives, and creators across the continent.”


“The opportunity to partner with HartBeat to shine a spotlight on the rich tapestry of Africa is an incredible privilege. There are amazing stories to be told out of Africa and our move here is a commitment to amplify these stories worldwide and to establish a pipeline of young talent to work in our industry,” said Advertising Week Chairman Matt Scheckner.

AWA2023 offers the opportunity to connect the global business and creative community to Africa and contextualize Africa’s influence for a global market

“Branding with Hart” will feature a series of conversations with key industry icons, influential marketers and tastemakers on the state of entertainment, diversity and storytelling across the African diaspora, and why brands need to lean in with greater urgency to be relevant, available, and inspiring.


As part of the programming, Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph will host a live taping of her “The Color of Commerce” podcast, launched in partnership with Advertising Week and featuring a special guest with ties to the region to discuss how consumers across the African diaspora impact culture and commerce. Each week on the podcast, Thai invites industry experts – from marketers, economists, storytellers, entrepreneurs, creatives, technologists, innovators and business leaders – to the show for in-depth conversations filled with insights, anecdotes, that help executives embrace this new economic evolution that is connected, creative and…in Color.

Hartbeat’s Chief Content Officer Bryan Smiley, Chief Distribution Officer Jeff Clanagan, and leaders from its branded content division PULSE – which serves as a creative and cultural consultancy to brands such as Sam’s Club, Lyft, P&G, Chase Sapphire, Samsung, and more – will also host thought leadership sessions and facilitate conversations between creators, brands, and marketers. Sessions will cover topics including how brands can find their sense of humor, paths to content distribution across mediums, how to successfully activate brand experiences on a local and global level, and more.


“AWA2023 offers the opportunity to connect the global business and creative community to Africa and contextualize Africa’s influence for a global market. We are unlocking opportunities for Africa’s talent across, above, and below. We are looking forward to hosting AW’s global community, learning and collaborating with the view to scale and amplify Africa’s influence globally” Trevor Ndhlovu, President (Africa), Advertising Week.

The Hartbeat and Advertising Week collaboration in Johannesburg marks an expanded partnership between the two organizations that will continue to grow globally with entertainment, compelling content, and thought leadership experiences. Most recently, Hartbeat teamed with Advertising Week New York for AWAccelerate, where Hartbeat helped curate conversations to provide education and acceleration to female-founded, and Black-owned businesses. 

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