Luca Gallarelli. Picture: Supplied
Luca Gallarelli. Picture: Supplied

If any ad agency deserves a champagne Christmas lunch, it’s the TBWA group: not only does it top the Loeries best agency of the year rankings, it is also the best placed African/Middle East agency in the Cannes Lions rankings.

These accolades will set the bar high for new group CEO Luca Gallarelli, who jumped ship from rival Ogilvy in September this year.

But why do these rankings matter? Notes one leading marketing director: "Those of us in the brand-building business often pooh-pooh the competitive culture that exists in the agency world. We say we’d rather our success be judged on their work and what it does for our brands. Nothing could be further from the truth." Brands, he adds, "crave the halo effect of success and inevitably we [choose] our agency partners on awards.

"I also believe competition in the industry makes for better work."

If that’s the case, TBWA is in the right position to win more business in 2020.

Its Loeries accolade is the second time in a row it has been named regional winner.

Des Jones, chief strategy officer at the agency, told the trade website Bizcommunity: "We’re very proud of our TBWA regional collective. In an interconnected world, we have made the power of collective a strategic focus. We strongly believe that none of us is as good as all of us. What we can do for our clients when we tap into our collective learnings and creativity is truly outstanding. The work that made us regional agency group of the year shows what happens when collective power is applied to create local solutions."

In the 12-month judging period the agency collected 19 awards across four categories, including a grand prix, four gold, five silver, five bronze and four craft certificates.

The agency won its grand prix for client City Lodge in the internet and mobile audio commercial category for a campaign called "The Real Cost ...".

At the global Cannes Lions awards, SA was the joint 18th most awarded country in the programme’s Global Creativity Report, which contains in-depth insights, analysis and editorial commentary on the winning work.

Topping the list was Impact BBDO — Dubai, United Arab Emirates. SA agencies took the next three positions. In second place was TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Joburg, followed by Ogilvy Joburg and the King James Group. Other local agencies to crack the list were VMLY&R SA, Net#Work BBDO Joburg, FoxP2 Cape Town, Joe Public United SA, FCB Africa Joburg, Ogilvy Cape Town and M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town.

Next year is already shaping up to be another one of close rivalry between TBWA and Ogilvy, which won 52 awards at the Assegai Awards for effective marketing.

Notes Ogilvy: "This year’s accolade builds further on Ogilvy’s credentials to deliver highly effective advertising after its grand prix win at the 2019 Apex awards, and two gold awards for creative effectiveness at the 2019 Loerie Awards."

Other agencies to watch out for in 2020 include perennial creative winners King James, M&C Saatchi Abel and Joe Public.

Says another marketing director: "If agencies thought we were putting pressure on them this year, next year is going to be brutal. We are looking for the best integrated creative product at the best price that always wins awards. I say good luck to them all."

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