As the year draws to a close, Communicate looks back at who won what to determine its Agency of the Year ranking. We’re far from assuming that awards are all it takes to achieve success, but we can’t deny that they do play a role in achieving it. The list is based on a tally of the campaigns in 2015 that won at the Clio Awards, Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, Effie Global, Effie MENA, Festival of Media Global and Festival of Media MENA.
Sense and sensibility
Traditionally, it’s been up to the media agencies to make sense of numbers and data and creative agencies to inspire feelings and sensibilities. Today, these roles are blurring and both kinds of agencies are crossing boundaries to eventually create work that connects with their audience.
This year’s Top 10 Most Awarded Agency Networks list sees creative agencies making their presence felt by bagging the first six spots. Topping the list is Leo Burnett with a whopping 205 points, closely followed by FP7. The former’s “Keep the Flame Alive” campaign for Johnnie Walker/Diageo Lebanon in Beirut and the latter’s “Project Akshar (Alphabets)” for SmartLife, targeting blue-collar workers in Dubai, rocketed the networks’ scores by 53 and 55 points, respectively. SmartLife seems like a heavyweight client for FP7’s award strategy as it raked in 38 points for the network last year with its campaign “SAPNA – How 17,793 Nails Shaped the Future for Generations to Come”. “Project Akshar (Alphabets)” is also the most awarded campaign of the year, followed by “Keep the Flame Alive”.
Ranking third on the list is Memac Ogilvy with a score of 103 and due credit to its subsidiary Geometry Global – scoring 36 points – and its Dubai office – scoring 43 points for the network. The big wins for the network this year were “Driving Change” (14 points) for KAFA (Enough) Violence & Exploitation by Memac Ogilvy Dubai, “Back Off Radio” (13 points) for RTA by Geometry Global, and “Let’s Open Up” (12 points) for Coca-Cola Middle East by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai.
Ranking fourth is J. Walter Thompson with 87 points followed by Impact BBDO with 82 points. This year saw some considerably good work coming out of KSA, which scored 28 points for J. Walter Thompson, including “The Biggest Art Gallery in the World” for Arabian Contracting Services (Al Arabia) that scored 19 points.
Impact BBDO pooled in resources from all of its offices in the region with award-winning work coming out of Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia and Dubai. Its “Revive Culture” campaign for MTV in Beirut scored 15 points, while its “Confusing Arab/Indian/Iranian” for Alghanim Motors – Honda in Kuwait and “Sting Launch Campaign” for Sting in Egypt scored 13 points each. Y&R came in sixth with 73 points, banking heavily on two campaigns: “Hello Happiness Phone Booth” for The Coca-Cola Company (26 points) and “The Little Book of Big Consequences” for Global Export Co. (16 points).
In seventh place is Mindshare with 55 points banking heavily on its “Keep Our Beaches Clean” campaign for Tunisie Telecom that got 21 points. OMD followed somewhat closely with 47 points, helped by its Cairo office, OMD – Media Direction, whose “Sting Launch Campaign” for Sting won the network nine points.
Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) came in eighth, even though none of its campaigns made it to the Top 50 list. At last place is Initiative with 30 points – mostly thanks to its “World Cup – 5th Participation” campaign for Mobily that scored 14 points.
Interestingly, most of the networks’ heavyweight campaigns came from outside the UAE. For Leo Burnett and Memac Ogilvy, it was Lebanon. For J. Walter Thompson and Initiative, it was KSA. For Impact BBDO, it was Lebanon, Kuwait and Egypt. However, seven out of ten winners on the Top 10 Most Awarded Agencies list, were from Dubai – and one each from Cairo, Beirut and Riyadh. It seems hasty to turn the spotlight away from Dubai, but there’s definitely enough space on the stage for other countries in the region to share the spotlight.
The past year has seen much being said about the distinction – and possible competition – between media and creative agencies, especially as one steps onto the other’s domain. However, it’s safe to assume that media shunning creative out of the advertising landscape is just hearsay, as evidenced by a significantly higher number of awards and hence, scores, for the creative agencies. In fact, it seems like the opposite may be true – at least as far as awards are concerned – without a single media agency making it to the Top 10 Most Awarded Agencies list.
Communicate’s Agency of the Year ranking celebrates the most awarded campaigns of the year and the agencies creating them. We considered five big award shows globally and in the region: Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, Effie Global Awards, Effie MENA Awards, Festival of Media Global, Festival of Media MENA and the Clio Awards.
We tallied up the wins each campaign garnered across the shows and scored them according to the following system:
Grand Prix: 5 points
Gold: 4 points
Silver: 3 points
Bronze: 2 points
We gave points each time a campaign won one of these prizes. We noticed that some campaigns consisted of various different executions. When all executions of a campaign won in the same category, we counted it as one win. Similarly, when only a part of the execution won in another category, we counted it as a one win. For instance, when two parts of a five-part campaign won in the same category we counted it as one win, and not two.
It’s always been our aim to recognize and celebrate good work, and in the process of doing so, changes are inevitable. So this year, here’s what we changed:
No more MENA Cristals. Need we explain why?
Addition of the Clio Awards and Festival of Media MENA. Other than the fact that both are prestigious awards for any agency around the world, the Festival of Media saw its first MENA edition in 2015 and obviously was a must for this ranking.
Introducing the Top 10 Most Awarded Agency Networks. Up until now, we recognized the Top 10 Most Awarded Media and Creative Agencies. However this year, we looked at the network companies holistically to understand the dynamics of different territories and agencies. For instance, one office of a certain network could have bagged all the awards topping the list; yet, another network could’ve scored higher based on all the awards its different offices collected.
We recognize ONLY the Top 10 Most Awarded Agencies – not media and creative agencies individually. As the lines between media and creative are blurring, oftentimes media agencies end up doing creative work and vice versa – as well as media and creative agencies working with each other. If audiences and brands aren’t distinguishing between media channels and creative content, why should we? That’s why, this year, we are evolving our ranking to include both media and creative agencies on the same list. It’s only fair.
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