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    Winning an Effie: Only when the stars align

    Hen's teeth, the stars aligning, and the Effies have one characteristic in common - they are all scarce. Last night the 2022 Effie Awards South Africa saw the 85 entries in 42 categories that had been whittled down to 30 finalists in 18 categories culminate in 16 winners and one Grand Effie.
    Image: Danette Breitenbach. Ogilvy South Africa wins the 2022 South Africa Effie Awards' Grand Effie
    Image: Danette Breitenbach. Ogilvy South Africa wins the 2022 South Africa Effie Awards' Grand Effie

    Held at the Focus Rooms in Gauteng, the event saw Ogilvy South Africa awarded the Grand Effie for its client AB InBev (South Africa) / Carling Black Label for Bridal Armour campaign.

    The agency was also the most successful agency on the night, taking home four awards (one bronze, two silver, and a gold) not counting its Grand Effie.

    For Pete Case, CEO and creative chairperson, Ogilvy South Africa, the award underlines that the agency is on the right track.

    “We judge everything on two axes, one creative and the other effectiveness and one cannot work without the other. We are looking for both together. When we have a piece of work that wins at Cannes and in the creative awards at Loeries and then it wins again at Effies, then it shows that we are doing the right thing,” he says.

    In the business of growing other people’s businesses

    Agencies, he says, are in the business to grow other people’s businesses. “Effies stand for effective marketing so to win the pinnacle of that in the country is a good signal that we are doing something right for our clients,” he says.

    “You can think your work is great and your client can think it is and you can move the numbers but even more powerful when the industry judges it above the rest,” he adds.

    Camilla Clerke, executive creative director of Ogilvy SA, emphasises that the award means so much to the agency because it is about effectiveness.

    “If you can say that you have caused real brand impact and that has deserved you an award, I don’t think there is a better way of saying that we have done good by the brands you work on,” she says.

    She adds that in this day and age brands play a significant role. “That is the role of purpose, and they have to stand for something, and consumers see that and that’s how you get real brand impact and sales soar.”

    Showing the power of the industry

    M&C Saatchi Abel is the only agency to win two gold Effies. The agency also won two bronze Effies taking home four Effies in total.

    Both gold Effies were for one of its oldest clients, Superbalist for their “How got South Africans to wear the music they love over Winter” campaign.

    “It was great to win two golds with Superbalist not just because we have been with them since their founding, but because they represent a future economy, a future type of industry - online shopping and e-commerce,” says Faheem Chaudhry, partner: managing director at M&C Saatchi Abel.

    “This shows how marketing and advertising can drive effectiveness for future industry and e-commerce and this really shows the power of our industry, and that creativity can be as effective in modern industries as it has been in traditional ones,” he elaborates.

    He adds that as clients’ budgets continue to be under increased pressure, they understandably want to make sure that their marketing budget is going towards what is the most effective for their business and helps them have a stronger say at the boardroom table.

    “Effectiveness of our work allows agencies to show the value they bring to the table. If you are doing work that is not just growing our client from a brand perspective but is ultimately growing their bottom line, then you are a partner to them and that’s why they come to you,” he says.

    Deliver acts, not ads

    VMLY&R won two bronze and one gold Effie. The agency’s strategy director in Cape Town, Robynne Rowlinson-Bisset, says it is highly important to win an Effie.

    “We are in a commercial environment and while we do make art and beautiful things, we need to deliver bottom-line results and ROI, and this has proved that we can do it.,” she says.

    “It is one thing to create an incredible conceptual entertaining wonderful campaign; it’s another thing to do that and see the business results. To have these aligned is like the stars aligning - it doesn’t happen to this degree as often as one would hope,” she says.

    She adds: “At a time like this when people are counting rands and cents, and considering our economy and where we are as a nation, it has never been more important to deliver acts, not ads, and impact people in a way that moves us forward as a country, that sees bottom line results for our clients and ultimately showcases our ability as an agency as well.”

    Of the five golds awarded, the last gold went to MetropolitanRepublic Integrated Communications for Eskort’s #ILoveEatingRussians campaign. Grey South Africa won a silver and Grey South Africa / Liquid a bronze and Joe Public won two bronze awards.

    About Danette Breitenbach

    Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at 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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