Picture: 123RF/maxkabakov
Picture: 123RF/maxkabakov

Amid the many challenges to business as usual of the past year, the SA advertising industry has needed to act quickly to maintain sales revenues for clients. To ensure effectiveness in a fast-evolving media, technology and consumer landscape, agencies have been compelled to rethink their strategies and act faster than they might have anticipated in the pre-pandemic era.

This year, to celebrate the industry’s triumph over circumstance, the theme of the 2021 FM AdFocus Awards and brand communication review will shine the spotlight on how advertising’s game-changers take on change.

Since their inception in 1990, the FM AdFocus Awards have established themselves as the leading platform for individuals and agencies to be recognised not only for their creative marketing skills but for their overall business acumen. The awards have grown to become a landmark in the SA marketing and communications landscape, where business effectiveness is the primary measurement tool.

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

The innovation that has been adopted and the direction that many agencies have plotted should be an encouragement to the broader marketing industry, says FM AdFocus jury chair Tumi Rabanye.

“Many agencies – big and small – have pivoted at lightning speed. Not only have they learnt to cope with the disruption to the traditional work environment and working remotely in a socially distanced manner, but the media and consumer landscapes have also irrevocably shifted as people depend more on digital platforms and devices to live their lives.”

For many, the curve ball has fuelled a unique ability to drive change and do things differently – often taking agencies to the very edge of their comfort and competency zones, pushing them to extend their horizons. Rabanye, now in her second year as jury chair, says the determination and no-holds-barred innovation that have been achieved in a relatively short time must be celebrated.

Dale Hefer, marketing industry leader and CEO of the Nedbank IMC Conference, takes the reins as the 2021 FM AdFocus project director.

“Now is an important time to examine how agencies are reinventing themselves with a focus on return on investment,” says Hefer. “This is what has shaped this year’s theme.”

Dale Hefer. Picture: Supplied
Dale Hefer. Picture: Supplied

The FM AdFocus publication is SA’s leading brand communication review and will be published on November 25. It will examine how agencies address the business of change by unpacking issues such as transformation, the move towards taking advertising functions in-house and the growing influence of digital marketing.  It will also showcase the agencies that partner with their clients to deliver on creativity, reach and reward, and which are changing their game as the game changes.

Entries for the 2021 FM AdFocus Awards opened online on July 19 2021 and close at midnight on September 10 2021. Award categories, closing dates and entry criteria can be found at www.adfocus.co.za. The winners will be announced on November 24 2021. To enter, visit www.adfocus.co.za.

For advertising and sponsorship opportunities in the 2021 FM AdFocus publication, contact Debbie Montanari (montanarid@arena.africa) or Cortney Hoyland (hoylandc@arena.africa)

For any questions about the AdFocus process, contact Dale Hefer, the FM AdFocus project director (dale@imcconference.com)

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