Darren Thompson

Founder and Managing Director

Darren is a highly skilled, accomplished, and versatile leader with a wealth of integrated marketing experience and a track record of building diverse teams across regional locations. Darren started his career with GTA in Zimbabwe and helped it grow from a start up in a garage to the largest independent advertising agency in Southern Africa, employing 75 staff with billings over US$3 million. Darren led the successful acquisition of Barclays Bank, an account the agency held for over a decade.

Darren left GTA in 2006 and founded AfricaAD and oversaw its merger with CM&A Ogilvy. Under his stewardship, the agency won pivotal business from Nestle Kenya, Afrasia Mauritius, iWay Africa, Dell Africa, and Delta Beverages (SAB Miller/AB InBev). The work produced for AB InBev was widely acknowledged as best-in-class, with the Zambezi Lager Follow the Call thematic campaign recognized on the International stage, winning several creative accolades. In 2014, Darren setup Openminds Digital to serve Ogilvy's Zimbabwean clients with a full-service digital offering. During this time, Darren held several Board and consulting positions, including at Cimas Healthcare, Colcom Foods, Zimbabwe Football Association and ZimBrand Alliance. In 2017, Darren relocated to the United Kingdom and has worked in both agency and client leadership roles.

Darren has embraced the complexity of modern marketing throughout his career. He has repeatedly helped companies respond to digital disruption and believes passionately that the brands able to create lifelong connections with their customers are the ones that keep customer-centricity at their core. Following an impressive 25-year career leading both award-winning agencies and Blue-Chip clients in all aspects of integrated marketing, Darren and his team of consultants continue to find innovative paths to growth and tackle some of the most complex problems facing their clients. Beyond his professional commitments, Darren is a member of the Marketers Association, the Association of Advertising Practitioners, and the Advertising Research Foundation. He is also a top-flight golfer, having represented the National amateur men's side for over a decade.

 

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Sean Herbert

Creative and Photography

Sean graduated from Syracuse University with a Master’s in Fine Art in Design. He started his career as a graphic designer, working for Saatchi & Saatchi and then Young & Rubicam. A decade later, his passion for current events and photography led him to Reuters, where he covered several political events and riots in Sub Saharan Africa as well as many notable sporting events.

 

In 1997, Sean combined his skills and set up a specialist graphic design, photography, and videography agency, giving organisations and products a visual brand and communicating their story. This included a full photographic studio and drone photography/videography business with controlled lighting and aerial images for fashion (models), food, architecture, landscape and wildlife, weddings, sports, and commercial/corporate photography. Sean has been recognised with multiple awards for creativity and photography and his project portfolio includes branding and advertising work for notable brands including Nestle, Unilever, Murray & Roberts, Holiday Inn and the renowned 5 Star Meikles Hotel. Sean’s passion, enthusiasm and flair for visual design and imagery adds a strong creative element to the Openminds team.

Iain Archibald

Creative and Copywriting

Iain is a highly conceptual creative who has a broad understanding of his target audience and he knows how to create appropriate, insightful copy that captivates his audience. His portfolio includes impactful copy for out-of-home, press releases, website and social media content, fictional narratives, and academic proofreading and editing. Iain is also an exceptional photographer and has received global recognition for his outstanding work in glamour photography.

Iain started his career as a web designer and photographer, however, following his keen interest in English Studies, ventured into copywriting. He specialises in crafting messages that speak to, connect with, and motivate different audiences. Over the years, Iain has created compelling work for clients such as HP, Irvine's, SAB Miller, COSAFA and National Carpets and he was instrumental in developing the brand manifesto for Zambezi Lager. His copy has featured in award-winning creative and his graphic design and photography work have earned him a reputation as one of the best creative minds in the business.

Lauren Thompson

Functions and Events

Lauren has worked exclusively in a service-oriented role in various industries for the past two decades, earning herself a formidable reputation for professionalism and attention to detail. Her portfolio includes designations as diverse as Campaign Director for the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Human Resources Manager for Deloitte and Touché, General Manager and Art Director with the exclusive art gallery Richard Rennie and several managerial positions within the hospitality industry.

Lauren founded the popular Green Bean Coffee House and was General Manager of the prestigious Five Star restaurant Seasons Lodge, later rebranded to La Serenata Restaurant & Functions Venue. While at La Serenata, Lauren coordinated many high-profile events, the most notable being the Prime Minister's wedding which involved International dignitaries, high levels of security and over 1,000 guests. Lauren's attention to detail and personal touch has helped to create the most memorable and outstanding events. Lauren sits on the board of Openminds and oversees all functions and events.