Xolisa Dyeshana and Khuthala Gala Holten. Picture: SUPPLIED/JOE PUBLIC
Xolisa Dyeshana and Khuthala Gala Holten. Picture: SUPPLIED/JOE PUBLIC

The Joe Public United advertising group has capped a stellar year, heading the Loeries agency rankings for 2018. It’s moved up 15 places from 2017 and has one of its badge accounts, Chicken Licken, taking second place in the competition’s brand rankings.

The Loeries recognise creative excellence. They are SA’s top advertising awards and are watched closely by the marketing fraternity for selecting new ad agencies and benchmarking advertising output.

Joe Public won 30 Loeries this year, its 20th year of business, including eight gold and six silver statues. Creative head Pepe Marais says: "Awards are not just creative accolades but evidence of the calibre of creative business solutions." He and his studio partner Xolisa Dyeshana also top the Loeries list of leading chief creative officers.

The Loeries agency rankings list top-performing agencies in the Middle East and the rest of Africa; there is also a stand-alone list of local agencies. Joe Public tops both and has beaten last year’s winner, Dubai-based Impact BBDO, into second place. King James Group is second in the SA rankings and third in the broader regional list. King James client Sanlam was the most awarded brand at this year’s Loeries.

Other brands on the list include Kimberly-Clark, Nando’s, AB InBev and Toyota. Other top-performing agencies on the SA list include TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris (Johannesburg), M&C Saatchi Abel and Ogilvy Johannesburg, which dropped from first to fifth place. The group retained the Robyn Putter Award in the 2018 Sunday Times Top Brands Awards for the agency which delivers the greatest number of creative campaigns for Top Brands category winners.

The survey polls 3,500 individuals and 460 business decision-makers to discover the most popular brands each year among general consumers and business leaders across 32 different categories.

Ogilvy SA CEO Alistair Mokoena says: "It’s our clients who allow us to shine — they’re prepared to invest in the creativity which builds brands that matter and delivers great business outcomes."

Ogilvy finished second in the Loeries regional agency group rankings, beaten out by TBWA, which was second last year. Joe Public, ninth last year, came third. BBDO (Middle East & Africa) was placed fourth, ahead of King James, FCB and M&C Saatchi Abel.

Though the Loeries are mostly the preserve of large agencies, in recent years smaller shops have been making inroads. This year the small agency table is headed by Cape Town-based Utopia, started by veteran adman Graham Warsop. Clients include Virgin Money, beauty brand Sorbet and retailer Clicks.

Spotting creatives

Brands closely watch the individual talent rankings and most notable is the list of chief creative officers. While Joe Public’s Marais and Dyeshana head the list, others include Ogilvy’s Pete Case, King James’s Alistair King, TBWA’s Pete Khoury and M&C Saatchi’s Neo Mashigo — all veterans.

A leading marketer contends that the list is problematic in terms of gender representation. "This is a clear indication that the senior echelons of advertising in SA remain a male preserve either because the profession is not attractive to women or they are prevented from forging a career in the industry. Brands need to ask serious questions of agencies about gender. A female perspective in advertising is critical."

The top-placed woman creative director is Roanna Williams of Joe Public, in fourth place ahead of Ogilvy’s Mariana O’Kelly.

Advertising schools are critical to the success of the industry and this year’s rankings are topped by the AAA School of Advertising, followed by the Open Window Institute and the Vega School, which was first last year.