by Herman Manson (@marklivesToday, we reveal which agency Cape Town’s ad execs consider to be the most digitally integrated in the city!

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 creative leaders, and where they believe their future competition is likely to come from. Next week, we announce the 2016 results from Johannesburg. National results will be announced in two weeks’ time.

The most digitally integrated ad agency in Cape Town

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town. Source: Facebook.

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town retained its undisputed crown as the most digitally integrated ad agency in Cape Town, albeit by a much narrower margin than in previous years.

Ogilvy & Mather South Africa acquired Gloo Digital Design back in late 2014 to boost digital integration. After integrating the Joburg office, focus shifted to Cape Town last year. Gloo moved into the Ogilvy Cape Town building in Woodstock to ensure the integration of teams.

“They’re in and we’re working as one team,” says Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town managing director, Luca Gallarelli. “Paula [Hulley, managing director at gloo@ogilvy], Pete [Case, chief creative officer at O&M SA] and other key staffers [who] joined our team are firmly implanted as a part of our broader team. As a building, we have a one singular management team and board of directors chaired by myself. They have brought a fresh perspective on the world firmly rooted in technology and innovation. Our growth in that space has been tremendous.”

“We’re working very closely as a team to determine new, better ways of working. In order to best harness their talent and ability requires us to be working constantly to fine-tune how we work. The converse would result in a blunting of their talent, ability, and potential contribution to our agency.”


It’s been Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town every year since our inaugural poll in 2012.


The runners-up (tied)

VML and Y&R Africa Group and King James Group

The VML and Y&R Africa Group and King James Group are joint runners-up this year, the first time our poll has seen any significant competition emerge for Ogilvy’s crown.

Native VML Cape Town. Source: VML website.
Y&R South Africa, NATIVE VML and Labstore South Africa recently restructured to form a single group and management structure, although all three agencies continue to operate as independent entities. “The closer alignment between the agencies now means that Y&R is able to provide digital services to all its clients (in the same way that its has been able to provide shopper-marketing expertise to existing clients through its partnership with Labstore),” says group CEO, Jason Xenopoulos. Similarly, NATIVE VML may now provide clients with a truly integrated, through-the-line service, confident that it has all the back-up necessary in terms of classical advertising and brand building.

King James Cape Town. Source: Facebook.

King James Group concluded two acquisitions in 2016: SOC, now rebranded as Punk Media in Joburg, added digital media planning, buying and analytics capability, while Flnt&Tnder, which merged into Punk Jozi in a share swop deal, provided an empowerment impetus. In the year ahead, according to James Barty, co-founder and chief executive at King James Group, digital spend will continue to grow and the group is well placed to grow in this aspect, .


There was no runner-up for 2015.


How the poll works

Towards the end of 2016, Cape Town’s agency leaders were invited to nominate their most-admired agency in Cape Town, the most-admired creative leader in Cape Town and the most-admired agency boss in Cape Town. 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 only agencies or execs who work out of the Mother City could be voted for. All the nominations were then tallied up for the final result. The editors of MarkLives had a single vote in the poll. The most-admired agency of the year is disqualified from the One to Watch category; votes cast in its favour in this category is discarded.

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 Cape Town:


Herman MansonHerman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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