Topsy Foundation Selinah

The Topsy Foundation in South Africa launched an award-winning television commercial featuring the true story of Selinah, an Aids sufferer who experiences the ravaging effects of her disease being reversed over a period of 90 days through the administration of anti-retrovirals (ARVs). Each day of her recovery was documented by the team, who witnessed Selinah’s incredible metamorphosis over the three month period first hand. The ad won a Gold Film Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2010.

Topsy Selinah

Click on the image below to play the Selinah video.

Click on the image below to play the Follow Up video.


The Selinah campaign was developed at Ogilvy South Africa, Johannesburg, by chief creative officer Fran Luckin, executive creative director Gerry Human, creative director Bridget Johnson, copywriter Stephanie van Niekerk, art directors Robyn Bergmann and Vidette Kay, agency producers Lisa Wides and Debbie Dannheisser, advertiser’s supervisor Sylvia de Jager, account manager Patience Jolingana, account supervisor Louise Johnston.

Filming was shot by director Kim Geldenhuys via Egg Films, Cape Town, with producer Kerry Hosford. Editor was Kobus Loots at Upstairs Post, Cape Town. Post production was done at Black Ginger, Cape Town.

Music is “Human”, performed by Leah Siegel, composed by Alun Richards at Cut & Paste Generation.

The Ogilvy team’s commentary:

We’re all familiar with the spectre of the person who gets AIDS and wastes away before our eyes. But what most people don’t realize is that the recovery of an AIDS sufferer on antiretrovirals (ARV’s) is every bit as dramatic. In just 90 days, a person can regain all the health they’ve lost. It’s called ‘the Lazarus effect.’ Working together with Topsy, we located Selinah when she was in the very advanced stages of AIDS. We started her on treatment and filmed her every day for 90 days. The transformation is absolutely real. We used no special techniques and tricks in post production. Selinah was brought back to life purely by ARV’s and her will to live.