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#FMAdFocus2017: Innovation and consistency rewarded

The AdFocus Awards 2017 Agency of the Year is FCB Joburg, which also won Large Agency of the Year for the second year in a row. This year's AdFocus Awards saw the best of the best recognised from the Media Shop taking home the inaugural Transformation Award to new agency TMI Media named Independent Media Agency Award, and Grid winning its sixth Specialist Agency of the Year Award, while Ogilvy & Mather SA took home the Digital Award.
All the Adfocus Awards 2017 winners.
All the Adfocus Awards 2017 winners.

Topping the Large Agency Award twice in a row is quite a tough ask for an agency says Brett Morris, group chief executive officer, FCB Africa. He believes their success stems from doing a number of things right, and not one in particular, and the Agency’s people playing a key role in this. “Our people, and our 50% growth this year, plus our transformation incentives, and many creative awards all culminated to this point, and this recognition.”


Executive creative director at FCB, Jonathan Deeb agrees. “It’s been a tough year, so I am incredibly proud of our talented people. They continue to blow a hole in the sky and it’s a privilege to work with them.”

Important to be recognised


The runner-up in the category was Native VML. The judges commented that the agency’s transformation into a broad-based advertising agency would see it winning this category very soon.

Medium Agency winner is Promise. “It is important for an agency that is independently owned to be recognised by the industry. It also is testimony to the great talent at the agency and the part everyone played in producing great work,” says Nic Kostouros, creative director.


Following on its great performance a few weeks ago at the Pendoring Awards, The Odd Number received Small Agency of the Year Award. To be recognised when you are small is important as well as gratifying says Xola Nouse, MD and cofounder of The Odd Number. “It is the platform you are starting off from so the recognition we received tonight is meaningful. It is an indication that we are on the right track and delivering great results.”


Another agency that has been taking home armful of awards, most recently winning 33 Assegai Awards for direct marketing, is Digital Agency winner, Ogilvy & Mather SA. The jury describe the agency as ahead of the game.


Delivery, results and execution


“What makes this so great is that this is not a gloo@ogilvy entry; it is an Ogilvy & Mather South Africa entry,” says Matthew Barnes, executive creative director at Ogilvy. “This is because digital is part of everything we do, it is way of thinking rather than about execution. It is about delivery, results and interaction.”


The MediaShop also took home Network Media Agency of the Year. However, it is the Transformation Award, they are most proud of says Chris Botha, group managing director of The MediaShop. “This is the most important award for me of the evening because it speaks of what we are doing in the country, more than in the industry.”

Independent Media Agency Award winner TMI Media was only seven months old when it submitted its entry into the AdFocus Independent Media Agency Award. This is unusual as generally, as a rule the AdFocus Awards jury do not consider agencies that have not been in business for a longer period of time.


Quinton Jones, a founder of the agency, says they certainly did not expect to win. “We thought we might do okay, but never thought we might win.” He says over the last five months, which fall outside of the entry period, the business has performed even better.

“We started small. Literally, I was running the business out of the boot of my car, and then it took off, but we pushed hard and we have really great people. I could not be happier.”

Being restless and never stopping


From the first-time winner to sixth time Specialist Agency winner, Grid. Nathan Reddy, chief creative officer and founder of Grid Worldwide Branding and Design, who also celebrated his birthday on the evening, says it’s about being restless and never stopping. “A child never stops growing. It is also about not taking yourself too seriously, and working for true transformation.”


The Lifetime Achievement Award went to industry stalwart, Andy Rice. “This industry has served me well and I thank you for that.” He adds that it has been a pleasure being in the company of such sociable and wonderfully interesting people.


On the other end of the scale the new Broom Award was awarded to Think Creative Hub. Cofounder, Mukondi Ralushayi says they were just happy to be nominated. “It is really great to have won and very meaningful as the AdFocus Awards are well-respected by the industry.”

Phumi Mashigo, the MD of ‎Ignitive was announced as the 2018 AdFocus Awards chairperson at the Awards. David Furlonger, co-editor of the awards, also announced his retirement from the Awards.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Bizcommunity.com. Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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