by Herman Manson (@marklivesThis year, for the first time, our annual poll of agency leaders also gauges the brand South African agency leaders would most want their agency to work on (brands must operate in SA, and their own clients must be excluded); the marketer they most admire (in SA); the industry body they rate most highly (if any); the pitch consultant they would recommend to a client (if any); and their choice of the most-innovative marketer/advertiser in SA.

View results for our Agency Leaders 2014 poll here:

The brand agencies most want to work on


and, as runner-up,

FNB logo
Most-admired: Coca-Cola South Africa

The brand most South African ad execs want to work on is Coca-Cola. The account is currently held by FCB South Africa.

Last year, the brand clinched the top position in the M&G Top Company Reputation Index (for the fourth year running), was named winner of the Grand Prix Overall Favourite Brand category at the 2014 Sunday Times Top Brands awards, and scooped a Grand Prix at the Loerie Awards. It also took the fifth spot in MarkLives’ Top 10 South African ads for 2014.

Runner-up: FNB

FNB is not far behind. The brand has managed to reinvent itself as tech-savvy, forward-leaning and not afraid of innovation. Its great banking switcheroo campaign, in which FNB used its own ATMs to persuade people to switch banks, made it into MarkLives’ Top 10 South African ads for 2014 in seventh position.

Other serious contenders in this category include MINI, Volkswagen SA and Audi.


Sharon Keith, marketing director, Coca-Cola Southern Africa
Sharon Keith

and, as runner-up,

Bernice Samuels, chief marketing officer, FNB
Bernice Samuels

Most-admired: Sharon Keith, marketing director, Coca-Cola Southern Africa

Not only is Coca-Cola the brand most agencies want as a client, its marketing director, Sharon Keith, is the marketer they most admire.

Keith holds a MBA at the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town.

Runner-up: Bernice Samuels, chief marketing officer, FNB

Runner-up is Bernice Samuels, who holds an MBA from Wits Business School and a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree (Genetic Engineering), from UCT. She has worked in senior marketing positions on brands such as Multichoice and MTN.

Enzo Scarcella, who became chief marketing officer at Telkom in February 2014 after a five-year stint at Vodacom, also received strong support among ad execs.

Industry bodies

ACASA logoand, as runner up,


Most-admired: Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA)

The ACA is the official representative body of South Africa’s communications profession. The results-driven APEX Awards is organised by the ACA, and members are expected to subscribe to its transformation charter, pitch guidelines and the ASA code of advertising practice.

The ACA was the most-admired industry body by a good margin.

Runner-up: Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa (IABSA)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa (IABSA), formerly known as the DMMA, is focused on the digital industry within South Africa. Members are drawn from among online publishers, brands and educational institutions, as well as creative, media and digital agencies.

(It is telling, however, that the a substantial number of nominations went to ‘None’, suggesting that industry bodies still have some work to do in terms of satisfying industry needs.)

Pitch consultants


and, as runner-up,IAS: Independent Agency Search and Selection Company

and second runner-up

Gillian Rightford, Adtherapy
Gillian Rightford

Most-admired: Yardstick

In this category, we asked which pitch consultant ad execs admired enough to recommend to clients. Yardstick takes the vote as the most-admired.

Runner-up: The Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS)

Following closely is The Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS).

Second runner-up: Gillian Rightford

Second runner up is consultant Gillian Rightford, of Adtherapy.

Nevertheless, a significant percentage of ad execs said they would not recommend any pitch consultants.

Brand innovation

Coke can


FNB logo

Most-innovative: Coca-Cola South Africa and FNB (tie)

The two most-innovative brands when it comes to marketing are (surprise, surprise) FNB and Coca-Cola South Africa, in joint position.

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