by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today, we reveal which agency leaders were most admired by their peers in Johannesburg during 2017! This is part of this week’s announcement of the 2017 MarkLives Agency Leaders’ Most Admired Poll results for Johannesburg. Next week will be the national results; last week we revealed the Cape Town results.

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. We ask them who’s got digital integration right and — for the first time — who’s done best on transformation.


The most-admired agency boss in Jozi

Brett Morris October 2016 by by Jeremy Glyn.Brett Morris
Group CEO & group CCO
FCB Africa

FCB Africa’s GCEO & GCCO, Brett Morris, remains Joburg’s most admired agency boss for the fourth year in a row; he’s held the title since 2013.

At the 2017 Financial Mail AdFocus Awards, FCB Johannesburg clinched the overall Agency of the Year title, as well as the Large Advertising Agency of the Year Award.

“I have to say that, despite the fact that things are very tough in South Africa at the moment, I have never been more excited about the future of our business and our country,” says Morris. “That’s probably because I believe that, the tougher things are, the more important creativity becomes. There is no such thing as a creative recession and we have an amazing team of people who are deeply passionate about our work and about South Africa. As an industry, we need to continue to take ownership of our craft and focus on becoming better at what we do. At FCB Africa, the adoption of our global ‘Never Finished Scale’ [helped] us considerably on that score in 2017. So, too, [did] our investment in learning and development; something which I am determined to continue to do in the years ahead until we offer our staff the best on the continent.”


In 2016, 2015 and 2014, it was also Morris; in 2013 and 2012, our inaugural poll, it was Gareth Leck, chief executive officer and co-founder of Joe Public.


The runner-up

Alistair MokoenaAlistair Mokoena
Chief executive officer
Ogilvy & Mather South Africa

Ogilvy South Africa announced the appointment of Alistair Mokoena as its new chief executive officer in October, following Abey Mokgwatsane‘s resignation to join Vodacom as its new managing executive for brand and communications.

Mokoena is a lawyer by training, and has both MBA and chartered marketing qualifications. His career includes experience at blue chip brands such as SAB, Unilever, Tiger Brands and Mondelez. He joined Ogilvy Johannesburg as MD in 2014 from FCB Johannesburg.


In 2016, 2015 and 2014, Leck was runner-up. 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).


How the poll works

Towards the end of 2017, we invited agency executives to nominate their most-admired agency, creative leader and most-admired agency both in their region (Johannesburg or Cape Town) and nationally. We also asked them which agency did the best at digital integration and at transformation (a new question), and which agency they saw as the one to watch in the future. Execs couldn’t nominate their own agencies or staff members. All the nominations were then tallied up for the final result. The editors of MarkLives had two votes in the final poll.

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 stand out significantly above other nominees but weren’t able to close in on the winner’s tally. The most-admired agency of the year is disqualified from the One to Watch category; votes cast in its favour in this category are discarded.

Previous Jozi results


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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