by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today we reveal which ad agency Johannesburg’s ad execs consider 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. Last week we announced the 2016 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 digitally integrated ad agency in Jozi

Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg

Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg exterior

Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg continues to pick the dividends of the integration between Gloo (which Ogilvy acquired in late 2014) and OgilvyOne (previously Ogilvy’s digital and CRM business), and Gloo founder, Pete Case, having become O&M SA’s co-chief creative officer. “We have a combined/completely integrated creative studio,” says managing director, Alistair Mokoena. “We have formed multidisciplinary concept teams that take on a brief and treat it in a channel-agnostic manner.”


In 2015 and 2014, it was Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg. No agency was awarded the title in 2013 but Draftfcb (now FCB Africa) took the title in 2012, our inaugural poll.


The contenders (tied)

FCB Africa logo AVATAR logo

FCB Africa


“We intend to get a step ahead of the curve by tackling the challenge of achieving creativity, through programmatic media, at scale,” says Brett Morris, GCEO and GCCO, FCB Africa. “And, for us, storytelling sits at the core of this, if we are going to get it right.”

In terms of further integrating digital into the agency offering, he says, “We’ve made significant strides in integrating our business to bring digital into the centre of the conversation, so much so that most of our largest clients are now fully integrated. This has been a process of overlap and and skills transfer and, in 2017, we intend to accelerate this significantly by eliminating the overlap, and putting strategy and idea at the centre of the process.”

AVATAR is often misperceived as a digital agency in the market, says CEO, Zibusiso Mkhwanazi. “We plan and execute digital very well; however, we are more than a digital agency and we are more than a traditional agency — we are an integrated agency with digital at the core, led by mass consumer insights.

“We are in a fortunate position that we were born as an integrated agency with digital at the core from day one, when the agency was formed in 2012,” adds Mkhwanazi. “Communication, process and education between departments, offices and people [are] key so that the left hand and the right hand know what the other is doing. This ensures that our AvaStars in various digital and traditional departments work under a single strategy and idea, and are pulling in one direction.”


Publicis Machine and FCB Africa were our contenders in 2015.


How the poll works

Towards the end of 2016, Joburg’s agency leaders were invited to nominate their most-admired agency in Joburg, the most-admired creative leader in Joburg and the most-admired agency boss in Joburg. 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 City of Gold 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 Jozi:


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

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