Machete Creative 22 Jul, 2021 Nicholas Shepherd

I’m Nicholas Shepherd,
Creative & Managing Director



Creative Direction0

Brand Strategy0

Digital Marketing0


Work Experience

My love for literature and languages led me to study English and French at UCT. But by the time I’d completed an MA cum laude, I was sick of academia. I wanted to do, and I wasn’t ready to write, so I worked in dance, theatre and film, and got my hands dirty as a clapper loader and grip.

In the mid 80’s however, changes to the tax regime nearly sunk the South African film industry, just when I needed to start bringing home the bacon on a regular basis for my young family. So it was time for a real job with regular salary. One copy test and one interview later and I had my own office as a copywriter at Young and Rubicam. My 30 year journey into ad land had begun…

After cutting my teeth on brands like Caltex, Gabriel Shock Absorbers, Musica and Metropolitan Life, I moved to J. Walter Thompson and, after a complicated three-way merger, became Copy Chief of Addison Want JWT, where I formed part of the pitch-winning Nike creative team in 1995.

In 2002, after a stint as Creative Director at AdMakers, then at Amperzand, it was time to  pursue my vision of an agency in which creatives were motivated by a love for what they do, and I founded Machete. Fifteen years later I’m still wearing two pith helmets, acting as both Managing and Creative Director.

I’m fortunate to have won a number of significant creative awards, including the Grand Award for Creative Excellence at the New York Festival of Advertising.

When I’m not working

  • I love reading and mountain-biking and walking the dogs
  • My wife and I have just taken up Latin dancing classes
  • Despite being a pescetarian, I love braaing at home with the family
  • Followed by dancing on the stoep!

What I love about what I do

  • That Aha! moment when a concept cracks open to reveal the kernel of an idea
  • Getting to know a client’s business as well as your own
  • Watching Google conversions happen in real time
  • Knowing your ideas have helped a business grow