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    #FMAdFocus2020: All the winners!

    The winners of all the FM AdFocus Awards 2020 were crowned at a small gathering at The Empire in Parktown on Wednesday, 25 November, with Agency of Year Triple Eight walking away with the prestigious title for the second time. The agency also took the title in 2019.
    Although not the first agency in AdFocus history to have won the award consecutively, Triple Eight has achieved this feat in a year that no one could have predicted with Covid-19, leading to countries, including South Africa, going into lockdown impacting on businesses, including agencies and their clients.

    FM AdFocus Awards 2020 overall Agency of Year Triple Eight
    FM AdFocus Awards 2020 overall Agency of Year Triple Eight

    Despite a loss of three-quarters of their campaigns in March this year, Triple Eight still grew their business and added new clients and team members to their business. No surprise that the agency also won the inaugural Adaptability Award, that recognises an agency that has adapted successfully to 2020’s new paradigm by embracing flexibility, manoeuvrability and has risen above the panic and disruption of an unusual year.

    The agency was also named Specialist Agency of the Year and took home the Transformation and African Impact Awards - categories the agency also won in 2019.

    FM AdFocus Awards 2020/21 chairperson, Tumi Rabanye, says in the Specialist Category, Triple Eight stood out for its leadership in the areas of purpose and development. “In the Transformation Award, the agency demonstrated that transformation is a lived experience, which transcends race and CSI.”

    Rabanye adds that this was especially compelling given that the Transformation Award elicited robust discussion by the jury. “The industry needs to urgently move past the BEE scorecard and live transformation where critical business decisions are made,” expands Rabanye.

    Triple Eight’s entry stood out head and shoulders in the African Impact category, demonstrating both their purpose and the extent to which they are developmentally-led on the continent. “There is no question that their time has come,” says Rabanye.

    Student Award

    All three finalists were strong contenders for this award and good examples of the resilience displayed by the class of 2020. The winner Dominic Hobbs, of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), presented an incredible portfolio. The student jury called his approach to media, and the ease with which he mixed medias and disciplines, “extremely exciting”.

    Lifetime Achievement Award

    This year’s Lifetime Achiever and Industry Leader Awards were both unanimous decisions by the jury.

    Lifetime Achiever, Bernice Samuels, currently MTN CMO, boasts a career that spans large multinationals within the telecoms, broadcasting, information technology, financial services and brewing sectors and iconic and impactful campaigns. “Bernice is an individual for whom every jury member has the utmost respect and admiration,” states the jury.

    Industry Leader

    AdFocus Industry Leader 2020, Peter Khoury, CCO of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, is described by the jury as a man without airs and graces. "He is universally admired in the industry and as such, a worthy recipient of the title Industry Leader of the Year”.


    2020 Shapeshifter, Melusi Mlu Mhlungu, based in Miami, is remarkable for his bravery. While he could have settled for success locally, he has had the courage to move to new shores where he is continuing to create superb work. “The industry should be proud of him given the inspiration that he provides,” says the jury.

    Financial Mail would like to thank this year’s sponsors: the IAS, Scopen, The Mediashop and Ornico.

    AdFocus Awards 2020 winners:

    Agency of the Year

    Triple Eight

    Small Agency of the Year


    Medium Agency of the Year


    Large Agency of the Year

    Joe Public (Pty) Ltd

    Pr Agency of the Year

    Eclipse Communications

    Specialised Agency of the Year

    Triple Eight

    IAS Partnership of the Year

    M&C Saatchi Abel and Takealot

    Transformation Award

    Triple Eight

    African Impact Award

    Triple Eight

    Adaptability Award

    Triple Eight

    Network Media Agency

    The Mediashop

    Student Award

    Dominic Hobbs - University of Johannesburg (UJ)

    Lifetime Achiever

    Bernice Samuels

    Industry Leader

    Peter Gabriel Khoury


    Melusi Mlu Mhlungu

    FM Creative Challenge Award

    Also announced on the evening was the winner of the FM Creative Challenge. This year the Award went to King James for their ad ‘Black lives don’t matter’ for Blackboard Organisation. King James and The Brave Group were finalists for their client ads for Durex and Rose’s Cordial ‘SBWL Hawaii’ respectively. The Creative Challenge features run-of-paper adverts that publish in the Financial Mail during September and October.

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