Picture: 123RF/scyther5
Picture: 123RF/scyther5

For a third successive year, the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris group will finish as the most successful agency group by creative awards won both locally and internationally.

The eagerly awaited rankings table published by the Creative Circle comprises five endorsed awards programmes: the Loeries, the One Show, D&AD, Cannes and the Creative Circle Annual Awards. So far four of the awards for 2020 have been tabulated, with only Cannes outstanding. The independently owned Joe Public United group will finish second, followed by Ogilvy, the King James Group and FCB Africa, the FM understands.

The agency-only ranking, which excludes other operations such as public relations and design, is again topped by Hunt Lascaris, followed by Joe Public and the 100% black-owned The Odd Number. This is the first time the agency has cracked the rankings after stellar work in recent years for blue-chip brands such as AB InBev, Adcock Ingram and Assupol.

These rankings provide a critical guide for marketers looking to benchmark their agency’s work or shop around for a new partner.

They are also important this year as many brands, reeling from the pandemic, look for more engaging and imaginative ways to interact with consumers.

Neo Mashigo, chief creative officer of the M&C Saatchi Group and chair of the Creative Circle, tells the FM that creative solutions to brand-building are now more important than ever. "The most powerful weapon humans have at this time is adaptability — and that goes for business leaders as well. Every day organisations are facing situations and they often just default to fear as they are forced to readjust ... agencies and clients must start to have bigger conversations about solutions and allow themselves to open the room up to new thinking and creative solutions."

Peter Khoury, chief creative officer at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris and executive committee member of the Creative Circle, believes being nimble is the new operating paradigm. "What gives agencies a creative edge right now is those who have an ability to quickly look for, identify and then execute work off the opportunities they find."

Khoury says ad agencies have also been forced to change their approach. A time will come when enough businesses have access to the same data and technological advantages. "When we get to that point, what is it then that sets you apart? That makes people take notice or be loyal to you? It is going to come down to what you stand for, what you choose to do and ... say. Distinctive storytelling will play a bigger role than ever before. [By that] I do not mean television or radio ads, [but] the entire brand story made up of ... smaller stories and behaviours across touchpoints and also across years."

Khoury agrees with Mashigo that brand stewards must think differently and be more open to risk, hard as it is in the operating climate at present. "As a client, you have to know exactly what your brand stands for. Then make sure your agency knows that too, and the more generic and less specific you are, the riskier it is. Any work based off the brand’s soul can’t be wrong."

Mashigo calls for bigger and bolder conversations with clients. Khoury says the more a brand trusts that an agency understands its DNA, "the more open it will be to exploring work that challenges and redefines".


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