There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on advertising agencies and their clients as they navigate the new normal.

Never before has the client-agency partnership been as critical in successfully positioning brands to be relevant to consumers, agreed both the FM AdFocus outgoing jury chair, Phumi Mashigo and the incoming jury chair, Tumi Rabanye, during a recent digital conversation with FM AdFocus editor Jeremy Maggs.

As consumers look for connections, the role of communications specialists is more important than ever, said Mashigo. Rather than going dark, brands need to be spending more now to ensure they are top of mind. To survive, brands need to be selling more, more often.

Rabanye agreed, adding that conversations need to be deeper and more impactful than ever. This is not the time for brands to be burying their heads in the sand, particularly as this pandemic is likely to be part of our reality for the next few years. At the same time the pandemic has underlined the need for brand purpose, and for brands to live their purpose.

Tumi Rabanye. Picture: Supplied
Tumi Rabanye. Picture: Supplied

The FM AdFocus Awards recognise the business of advertising and those agencies, partnerships and individuals who are particularly successful.

Discussing what constitutes a successful FM AdFocus entry, Mashigo said entries that are able to articulate critically what makes their business successful and what their achievements of the past 12 months were tend to do well. Their numbers tend to be accurate and they don’t try to pull the wool over juror’s eyes with ambiguous statements or claims. “Entries that tend to stand out are those that are brutally self-critical, succinct and concise,” she said.

What she is looking for in the 2020 crop of entries, said Rabanye, is consistency in terms of business sustainability. The new Agency Adaptability Award is an opportunity for brands and their agencies to demonstrate their response to Covid-19 and to explain how they have overcome the challenges of the current environment. 

Entries for the FM AdFocus Awards close on August 31 2020 while entries for the media categories close on 24 August. To enter, register on

Watch the FM AdFocus Live discussion below:

The AdFocus Awards are a business accolade that reward what the best agencies in the advertising media and marketing industry are doing that has led to success for their clients.

For further information about the awards process contact Danette Capper ( or call 082-494-4174. For advertising and sponsorship opportunities in the 2020 Financial Mail AdFocus publication please contact Cortney Hoyland ( or Kay Naidoo (

The big take-out: FM AdFocus entries that tend to stand out are those that are brutally self-critical, succinct and concise.

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