AdFocus Awards. Picture: TMG
AdFocus Awards. Picture: TMG

The 2016 AdFocus Awards, announced this week, recognised Grid Worldwide as Specialist Agency of the Year and Hellocomputer as Digital Agency of the Year.

In the 10 years it has been operational, Grid has won the AdFocus award for Branding & Design five times. This year, the AdFocus judges replaced that category with Public Relations, primarily because with the same agencies entering year after year, possibilities for growth within the category were severely limited.

Grid’s move from the branding to the specialist category makes sense, given that the agency is no longer solely a branding agency.

This past year has been extremely rewarding for Grid. Revenue increased by 92% and sufficient new business was acquired to warrant the company establishing an office in Cape Town. The agency is also enjoying a spate of work from international clients.

With a quarter of the judges’ points allocated to social responsibility and transformation, Grid’s BBBEE rating and ownership model stood the agency in good stead for the award, as did its commitment to pro bono work and corporate social investment projects.

The shortlist for Specialist Agency of the Year included business-to-business agency Demographica for the second year running, Actuate and Playmakers.

It was a close race for Digital Agency of the Year, with just two agencies making it onto the shortlist: Hellocomputer and Native VML. 

Hellocomputer, which is part of the FCB Group, previously won Digital Agency of the Year in 2014. Over the July 2015 to June 2016 judging period, the agency grew revenue by 27%; it also picked up a number of new accounts, including work for SA Tourism (FCB won the overall account), Sasfin, Coca-Cola, Tiger Brands, Pernod Ricard and Automark.

The acquisition of Hellocomputer has allowed FCB to provide a far more integrated offering, which includes strategy, interactive design, user experience, Web, mobile, animation, 3D, data science and analytics.

Native VML also had a good year, growing revenue by 18% and landing a number of new accounts. It won gold and silver at the Cannes Lions Awards, as well two golds and a number of silvers at the Bookmarks, where it was named agency of the year. The agency was also lauded at the Webby, Apex and Pendoring awards, and it received a Creative Circle Ad of the Month award.

The big take-out: Grid Worldwide was named Specialist Agency of the Year and Hellocomputer Digital Agency of the Year at the recent Financial Mail AdFocus Awards.

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