by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today we reveal which Cape Town agency fellow ad execs feel is the “one to watch” in 2018 — the agency from which they expect great things in the year ahead! This is part of this week’s announcement of the 2017 MarkLives Agency Leaders’ Most Admired Poll results for Cape Town. Next week will be the Joburg results, followed by the national results in two weeks’ time.

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 one to watch in Cape Town!

FoxP2 directorsFoxP2

FoxP2, one of South Africa’s leading creative agencies, made waves on several fronts in 2017. Not only did it win Hyundai South Africa, currently the fourth-largest car brand in South Africa (which left The Jupiter Drawing Room (Cape Town) after a relationship spanning 16 years), other wins included Kauai (under the new ownership that is seeing the brand is being revitalised in an exciting way), Namibia Breweries (launching Camelthorn, its first foray into the craft beer market); Hungry Lion; Edward Snell; Tiger Brands (Jungle Oats, King Korn and Morevite); and Duram Paints.

FoxP2 logoFoxP2 Design is also coming into its own. Led by partner Andrew Whitehouse, the business is working on clients ranging from FNB, Tiger Brands and Diageo to Namibia Breweries.

The agency was recognised with another Gold Loerie Effectiveness Award last year, this time for its Integrated Grand Prix “Open Eyes” campaign for longstanding client, Ster-Kinekor.

“The Creative Circle rankings table shows we finished third overall in the group table, behind giants Ogilvy and TBWA,” says Justin Gomes, FoxP2 ECD. “To say we are thrilled would be an understatement. It’s our highest overall creative ranking in FoxP2’s history, and a massive shout out not just to the Foxes but also to our clients and partners who made this possible. Significantly, the work that was most creatively awarded was also the most effective, winning Gold Loerie Effectiveness and Silver Apex Effectiveness awards. That’s always been FoxP2’s mission — to leverage insight-driven creativity for brilliant business results! Congrats to all the agencies that ranked; keep fighting the good fight.”

It is also in the processing of selling a majority stake to Dentsu Aegis Network, considered a smart and nimble player in the South African agency world but which has lacked a creative shop in its local portfolio. [The deal has since been concluded — ed-at-large.]

Launched in 2005, the agency employs 83 people across its Cape Town and Johannesburg. Key clients includes FNB, Budget Insurance, Stanlib, Diageo and Namibia Breweries.


The VML and Y&R Africa Group was the one to watch for 2017 (at the time, the SA operations of the Y&R network, including Y&R South Africa, NATIVE VML and Labstore South Africa, were integrated under a single management team). NATIVE VML (now VML South Africa) was also our one to watch for 2016. For 2015, it was Publicis Machine — for the second year in a row — as its previous incarnation, Machine, took the title for 2014.


The runner-up

OFYT with Chris GotzOFYT

Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT) spent the last several years integrating with Bletchley Park, the agency it merged with in what was described as a partnership of equals. Chris Gotz, former co-chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, joined OFYT as its national creative director in late 2016, following a short stint in the US.

Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT) logoThings seem to be settling in for the agency, with several business wins in 2017. It was appointed as PR, activation and digital partner for the KWV Wines group, responsible for the KWV Classic Wines Collection, Laborie and Roodeberg brands. It also won the above-the-line creative and strategy account for Prudential, one of the largest investment management companies in South Africa, after a four-way agency pitch process. The agency launched Soweto Gold for Heineken in October 2017.

Clients includes Kia, PWC, Wesgro, RMB Private Investment Bank, Bidvest and airbnb.



There were no runner-ups for 2017 and 2016. For 2015, it was Saatchi & Saatchi BrandsRock and, for 2014, it was MetropolitanRepublic Cape Town.


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 Cape Town results

Updated at 10.45am on 6 February 2019, at 11:57am on 16 February 2018 and 4.14pm on 13 February 2018.


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

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