King James scoops Best Digital Agency at 2019 Bookmarks Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED
King James scoops Best Digital Agency at 2019 Bookmarks Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

King James was the big winner at this year’s Bookmark Awards. It received the Best Digital Agency award, four gold awards, nine silver awards and 19 bronze awards. Its client Sanlam bagged the Best Digital Brand award.

The Bookmarks, now in their 11th edition, recognise excellence in the SA digital landscape. This year a total of 142 winners were recognised. In addition to King James, VML SA and Ogilvy did well.

Alistair King, chief creative officer at King James Group SA, says that while it’s critically important to have a good understanding of digital marketing, for brands to succeed in today’s environment they need to be good in all areas of advertising communication. “There is so much interconnectivity among mediums, so much momentum that can be brought in by drawing on additional media channels, that you simply have to play every card at your disposal – not always, but when and if you need to,” he says.

Digital channels, he adds, are fast becoming some of the most effective, which is why King James has focused on them. He points out, however, that without a high degree of creativity digital is as weak as any other medium.

The biggest threat when it comes to digital advertising, says King, is a lack of creativity. “You can get away with a boring ad in a traditional medium because of the passive nature of the medium. But in digital you live and die by the calibre of your idea. You are one click away from being disregarded, and that is [stimulating].”

A challenge, he continues, is that people still put the channel ahead of the creative aspect, as if the channel is the magic ingredient. It’s not, insists King, adding that creativity is, and always will be, the spark that ignites a consumer’s interest in a brand. “We are in the business of making our clients’ brands interesting and worth engaging with. Everything else is secondary.”

The big take-out

Creativity is always what will spark a consumer’s interest in a brand – even when it comes to digital advertising.

Sanlam was the best-performing digital brand at this year’s Bookmark Awards. This was no coincidence, says King. “Sanlam didn’t just gift us with a free creative run. We’ve worked very hard with the company to [draw on the creative opportunity its brands offer].”

Financial institutions in particular, he says, offer incredible creative opportunity. “It’s inherent in the category, and Sanlam has embraced that. When money is involved you get to work with the full spectrum of human emotions and experience. If you can’t make great advertising from that you may as well close shop.”

Click here for the full list of 2019 Bookmark Award winners.