adlab mccann logo

Our Belief

We don’t believe in magic.
Yes it exists,
but shouldn’t leave you scratching your head,
wondering what just happened.
Magic happens when you get chemistry right.
When you combine brave clients
with fearless thinkers.
When you infuse the human truth you find in the streets
with world-class storytelling.
It’s what you experience when you discover a different world
every day through putting a new lens
on the same old world everyone else sees.
Magic happens when you mix best basics with talent.
When you notice the details, stick to your word,
take responsibility, and surround yourself with people
who are on the same mission as you.
We don’t wonder how magic happens; we know.
It’s carefully created
and hard earned every day.

Adlab. Creative Chemistry

Our Services


Every story we tell begins with discovery, research and positioning to achieve results. The process of combining experience, art, local insight and curiosity means we are always searching, always exploring new, innovative ways to make brands stand out from the crowd. Every story we tell must not only look beautiful; it must work beautifully too.


We do not only speak the language of art, concept and design, but also craft in execution. Every piece of communication we produce, be it for Television, Radio, Digital or Print is meticulously researched, planned and executed to deliver a high-quality finished product that is cost effective and impactful.


Creativity doesn’t end with conceptual thinking and powerful execution; it flows through our media department who invest marketing budgets in the right places to drive results for our clients’ brands. We are a tried and tested partner in assuring optimal results and accountability, reaching the right audience, with the right message at the right time.


We believe brands deserves more than a generic Facebook post. Our team specializes in developing compelling digital strategy that informs copywriting, content creation and is measured though social media analytics. Our comprehensive digital expertise helps our clients navigate the fast-changing demands of the industry.


We reel people in with living moments that stimulate all the senses. To achieve this, we execute trade and road shows; catalogues and sampling; retail and store activations that enhance the image of brands on the ground and give consumers a taste of what a product really has to offer.


We create transformational brand experiences through events we plan for our clients. We are here to support next generation leaders in managing great projects that have real impact in the market. We aim to turn average into extraordinary at every conference, exhibition, launch, brand refresh and product reveal we manage.

Our Team

Our Portfolio

Our Community

Contact Us

+260 211 258569

4 on Bishops Office Block, Bishops Road Kabulonga Lusaka

Social Media Day


Thirty years ago, there was a man. He went to work, designed simple flyers, printed them out and made a series of appointments. This man spent all afternoon showing people the flyer and explaining what his company was doing. He worked hard and developed leads and a name for his business.  This man was a living, breathing marketing professional but we do not know his name.

Today, there are many ways to do the job of this man. Most of them are new, some are improvements and others are just too wonderful not to use. Leaving an impression is now easy, affordable, and fast.

Let us do a quick exercise: Count all the items you can find that have a social media logo on them. Ready? Go.

My number was 5 and I was very disappointed to learn that my salad dressing does not want to connect with me on Facebook.

Years ago, our packaging had a local helpline, an easy recipe and in some places, a missing dog that we could help someone find. Brands and people have always been trying to connect but there was no place to meet until now.

Today, all we do is connect.

Wrong order? Tweet about it.

Fly in your fries? Post that fly on their Facebook wall.

Dirty hotel landscape? Tag them in vacation your story. No Paris filter for them.

Democracy aspires for the level of expression we have online. Celebrities and commoners alike hover in the same spaces, laughing at the jokes and being part of the same movements. Social media has done more than change our career options and trajectories; social media has expanded the realm of our existence and how we absorb our world. You can be anyone online. Acting careers are budding on Tick Tock, great films and television shows have a hashtag to follow, great restaurants have a Yelp and Airbnb lessens the danger and costs of planning vacations.

Humans are social creatures; Aristotle said it first. We share mirror neurons that match our emotions and body language. We like to touch, talk, sympathise, and agree. We want to know what other’s think and why they think it. We crave validation as well as visibility and virality gives that to us.

Speaking of viral, in the wake of COVID-19, social media helped us come together in ways we physically could not. Facebook Live was paramount in helping people attend birthday parties, weddings and sadly even funerals that they could not travel for. Businesses were called to alter their models and incorporate online marketplaces and social media marketing. Without social media, isolation alone would have been a devastating consequence of the global outbreak.

Online social networking helps us air our minds and connect but it also hands us the responsibility to do better. We have the tools to create whatever online personality and lifestyle we want and that has led to the prevalence of catfishing, cyberbullying, cancel culture, and brand hoaxes. Honesty and integrity are hard principles to keep when their alternatives are so easy.

In the same world where an egg made history as the most liked image on Instagram, people are building careers, brand personalities that drive sales and they are influencing change at a global scale. The internet is forever, and we are all leaving our mark. We are no longer forgettable. If Facebook memories are anything to go by, every embarrassing and hypocritical thing we do online will be unearthed and we will be held accountable.

Today, there is a man turning thirty. He attends online meetings at home in a formal shirt and his underwear. Without leaving his home, he manages to create campaigns that meet business goals. He is an industry expert and some people call him an influencer. Everyone knows his name.

We all have a voice but now is the time to think harder on how we use it.

African Echo: How freelancing could help Zambia's ad industry


Zambia’s advertising industry is by no means insulated from entrepreneurial activities.

The Global Entrepreneurship & Development Index respectively ranks Zambia as the ninth and 102nd most-entrepreneurial country in the region and world. In the recent past, entrepreneurship in Zambia has been driven by the lack of formal job opportunities for youth in the private and public labour markets, with youth unemployment levels estimated by the Central Statistical Office to be at 16.3% (September 2017). This, coupled with comparatively low entry-level salaries being offered (where available) and increasing living costs, encourages youth engagement in entrepreneurial activities.


Better-educated, more IT-savvy youth are self-training to become rudimentary designers offering quick cheap solutions to small- and middle-sized, often resident and cost-conscious, companies. On the face of it, such initiatives could be applauded as a hallmark of a free market capitalist economy and the upgrading of oneself. In reality, lack of access to capital for such entrepreneurs and low revenue levels from their target customers limit their ability to grow their businesses, create additional employment and finance a full-service provision to the client (strategy, media buy and expansion into other service offerings).

Concurrently, the companies that do use such services also suffer in the long run, as their advertising remains sub-par compared to their larger corporate competitors, which access their service provision though established agencies that have both the resources and know how to execute coordinated cross-service campaigns. The nett result is:

Freelance designers are removing themselves from the advertising labour market and are not realising their full skills or revenue potential; and
Small- and medium-sized companies, the backbone of any developing economy, fail to fully benefit from an effective long-term advertising campaign that truly develops their brands, eventually undermining their ability to thrive (and survive) in an increasingly competitive market.

Multifaceted solution

So how does one solve this problem? The solution is multifaceted and must address the needs and realities of both the entrepreneurial designer, and the small- or middle-sized company being serviced. Ultimately, the agency must also recreate itself to become a facilitator and caretaker to both.

For the designer, skills development and a secured income are important; this may be achieved by:

The establishment of design, marketing and branding schools, which could also act as an employment or freelance talent pool for the agencies themselves (think Vega of South Africa)
The establishment of on-demand talent collaborations between the agencies and freelance designers, where agencies will drive the strategy and direction through use of their knowhow, financial resources and networks. The freelance designers would undertake specific non-confidential deliverables subcontracted to them by the agency (a 2016 report by Accenture estimating that 43% of the US workforce is expected to be freelance by 2020)

For the small- to medium-sized company which often uses freelance designers, sensitisation on how best to run a successful advertising campaign and cost considerations are key; this may be achieved by:

Agencies stepping up to the plate through increased fact-based interaction with potential customers in the small- and middle-sized company segments, either through one-one meetings, training sessions and conferences (it’s about time we considered giving something for free!)
Reducing fixed agency overheads through the increased use of a liquid freelance workforce, would allow more-competitive agency pricing to cost-conscious customers and/or executing a cheaper brand strategy without necessarily cheapening the brand

This doesn’t mean that agencies in Zambia will, at least in the short term, have no permanent employees, something unlikely to sit well with larger corporate clients which demand quick turnaround times and confidentiality in their planning. What’s suggested here is a targeted, potentially profitable, freelance strategy designed to address the needs of a market often unserviced by formal agencies while simultaneously upgrading and bringing freelance designers into the agency fold.

Ultimately, the economy, and specifically the advertising industry, stands to benefit by improved service delivery.


by Joanna Hickey-Damalis