A winning strategy sets Joe Public apart at FM AdFocus Awards
In the Large Agency of the Year category, it held off tight competition from TBWA\Hunt Lascaris JHB and Ogilvy South Africa
Joe Public won the Large Agency of the Year category and the Transformation Award to take the overall Agency of the Year title at the 2023 FM AdFocus Awards.
In the Large Agency of the Year category, Joe Public held off tight competition from TBWA\Hunt Lascaris JHB and Ogilvy South Africa.
Despite losing creative giant Peter Khoury, the 40-year-old TBWA\Hunt Lascaris JHB has not been resting on its laurels and has continued to feature creatively while also boasting some impressive new business.
Ogilvy South Africa has made a strong comeback under CEO and creative chair Pete Case, making a return to its former creative form. It won two gold Cannes in the past two years.
Joe Public had a very good year, growing the business and retaining all its clients. Its biggest client is Nedbank and in 2022 the agency was appointed Nedbank’s digital agency partner, making it responsible for above-the-line, below-the-line and digital creative, in the process strengthening and consolidating its partnership of more than a decade with the bank.
Other large clients include Cell C, SAB, Chicken Licken and Assupol. After setting itself the goal of winning a global account in 2023, the agency acquired the global Grant’s Whisky account and has been tasked with taking Grant’s forward in India, Poland, Colombia and South Africa, with further territories to be added over time.
The agency reviews its relationships with its top clients regularly, typically scoring highly. In fact, Scopen rates Joe Public as the No 1 agency in South Africa in several areas, including contributing to business growth, integrated service offering, good working processes, strategic planning, senior management involvement on the account and account service.
Scopen rates Joe Public as the No 1 agency in South Africa in several areas
The agency also had a good year from a creative perspective, ranking as the ninth-most creative agency in the Drum World Creative Rankings, the No 1 agency in Africa in the WARC World Creative Rankings for 2022, the No 1 agency at the 2022 Pendoring Awards, and, for the fifth consecutive year, the No 1 agency in Africa and the Middle East by the 2022 Loerie Awards. Two of its young digital creatives, Raphael Kuppasamy and Bernice Mosala, were awarded gold in the Cannes Young Lions Film category.
The agency has implemented a permanent hybrid working policy that allows staff to work from home on Monday and Friday and from the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This approach has lowered its monthly operating costs, which allowed the agency to increase the salaries of all staff and employ six more creatives to provide more resources for faster turnaround times.
When it comes to transformation, Joe Public is a clear industry leader and was the outright winner of this category in the AdFocus Awards with no finalists. A decade ago, Joe Public set out to transform its business into a shining example of what an authentically diverse and transformed organisation looks like. Joe Public’s transformation journey continues to set the benchmark in the industry and challenges the rest of the industry to step up and do better.
In 2021, 60% of the company was acquired by black shareholders. Senatla Capital, a 100%-black-owned private equity investment company, acquired a 34% stake in the agency while the remaining 26% allocation was acquired via a management buyout. Three long-standing black agency executives acquired the majority of the 26% stake in Joe Public through a newly created management company, Ikamva Lakusasa. From the outset the plan was for additional equity to be made available within Ikamva Lakusasa to allow additional key black employees to be added in time.
Ikamva Lakusasa has six key black employees who hold shares in the agency. Three additional key black employees have been added since inception with two of them becoming shareholders in Joe Public via Ikamva Lakusasa during the AdFocus review period.
The structure of Joe Public’s shareholding was intentionally designed to create an authentically transformed entity from an ownership perspective that is majority black-owned while still retaining the agency’s cherished independence and ensuring a high level of ownership (66%) within the leadership team.
The big take-out: When it comes to transformation, Joe Public is a clear industry leader.
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