by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today, we reveal which agency leaders were most admired by their peers in Johannesburg during 2015!

Every year since 2012, MarkLives has been polling South Africa’s top agency leaders to find out what they think of their competitors, whom they see as effective managers and great creatives, and where they believe their future competition is likely to come from. Last week we announced the 2015 results from Cape Town. This week is dedicated to finding out the choice of Jozi’s industry leaders. National results will be announced next week.

The most-admired agency boss in Jozi

Brett MorrisBrett Morris
Group chief executive officer & executive creative director
FCB Africa

Last year, FCB South Africa rebranded as FCB Africa, pulling FCB’s Africa network (which it leads) closer together, and away with the misnomer that there’s a South African agency network which sits apart from its other African counterparts. Under Morris, who serves as both CEO and chief creative officer, the agency has enjoyed continued success, both commercially and creatively.

In 2015, the SA agency added Enterprise, Huletts, PPC and the Tiger Brands haircare portfolio to its client list, as well as the South African Tourism account. Current clients include Toyota, Cell C, Distell, Old Mutual, Coca-Cola and Engen. It was awarded the Robyn Putter Top Brand Agency of the Year Award at the Sunday Times Top Brands Survey 2015 ceremony. The agency also took fifth place in the overall 2015 Loeries agency rankings.


In 2014, it was also Morris; in 2013 and 2012, our inaugural poll, it was Gareth Leck (see below).


The runner-up

Gareth LeckGareth Leck
Chief executive officer
Joe Public United

Runner-up Gareth Leck is the CEO and co-founder of independent agency, Joe Public United. New business gained in 2015 included De Beers, John Hopkins, Population Services International, Unilever and Iliadin.

Its current client list includes Nedbank, Jet, Clover, Steers and Mercedes-Benz Commercial. Full time staff stands at 163. Revenue (not billings) stand at between R100–R150m.

Just over a year ago, the group relocated into a bespoke 3000m2, three-story office on Main Road, Bryanston, Johannesburg. The buildin —, a collaboration between Joe Public, architects Boogertman & Partners and interior designers I4C (Interiors for Change) — has been specifically created to be a collective space where all of Joe Public’s specialist businesses may meet and inspire each other.


In 2014, it was Leck, too. In 2013, it was Graham Warsop, founder and chairman of The Jupiter Drawing Room. In 2012, our inaugural poll, it was Nunu Ntshingila (then Ogilvy South Africa).


The contenders

Ahmed TillyJerry MpufaneFelix Kessel
Left: Ahmed Tilly, ECD, Black River FC
Middle: Jerry Mpufane, group MD, M&C Saatchi Abel Jhb
Right: Felix Kessel, CEO, Owen Kessel Leo Burnett


How the poll works

Towards the end of 2015, Johannesburg’s agency leaders were invited to nominate their most-admired ad agency, the most-admired creative director and the most-admired ad agency boss — all in Jozi. We also asked them which agency did the best at digital integration and which agency they saw as the one to watch in the future. Nobody could nominate his or her own agency or staff members, and agencies or execs who work out of the City of Gold could be voted for. All the nominations were then tallied up for the final result.

Note: Runner-up(s) will only be named if they achieved a good nomination tally relative to the winner’s position. Contenders are named if they stood out significantly above other nominees, but weren’t able to close in on the winner’s tally.

See previous poll results for Jozi:


Herman Manson 2105Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of He was the inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011 and has, over his 20-year-plus career, contributed to numerous journals and websites in South Africa and abroad, including AdVantage magazine, Men’s Health, Computer World and African Communications.

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