by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today, we reveal which ad agencies 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 ad agency in Jozi

Joe Public United offices

Joe Public United

Joe Public United remains the most-admired ad agency in Johannesburg for the fourth year running — 2012, 2013, 2014 and now again in 2015. It must be the largest remaining independently owned agency in Gauteng, and one of the largest remaining independents in the country.

Joe Public United Africa logoEarlier this week, Pepe Marais, its chief creative officer, was named Jozi’s most-admired creative director; its ECD, Xolisa Dyeshana, was named a contender for the title; and its CEO, Gareth Leck, was runner-up as the most-admired agency boss in this city.

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) stands at between R100–R150m.


Joe Public United has won our top agency in Johannesburg accolade consistently since we launched our Agency Leaders poll in 2012.


The runner-up

FCB JohannesburgFCB Africa

FCB South Africa announced it is rebranding as FCB Africa in late 2015. The agency and its GCEO & ECD, Brett Morris, now lead the African network. Last year, the IPG-owned agency caused waves when it announced that it had won the South African Tourism business. It also added Enterprise, Huletts, PPC and the Tiger Brands haircare portfolio to its client list.

FCB Africa logoCurrent 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.


In 2014, it was FCB as well. In 2013, it was Ireland/Davenport. In 2012, our inaugural poll, the runners-up were Black River FC and M&C Saatchi Abel.


The contender

Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg exterior

Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg


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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