The 2011 Loerie Awards are done and dusted (no pun intended), with Cape Town agencies grabbing three of the top five (first, third and fifth) spots on the official overall ranking table. Two of the three Grands Prix were awarded to Cape-based agencies.

Cape-Town-based FoxP2 leaps back to the top of the rankings, largely on the back of its creatively successful ‘Love To Meet You’ campaign for Brandhouse, which was also the most-awarded brand at the annual advertising industry back-slap. It also won praise for its launch campaign for

HelloComputer, also in Cape Town, won for a Digital Grand Prix its Applications & Interactive Tools entry for Musica, ‘The Flo Browser’. Ogilvy Cape Town won a Grand Prix for its Live Activations entry for Volkswagen, ‘Marching Band’.

The final Grand Prix went to Net#work BBDO in the Radio Commercial Campaign category for Mercedes-Benz, ‘New Friends’.

Net#work BBDO found success with its campaigns for Mercedes-Benz, which also emerged as the second most-awarded brand at the Loeries. The same Loerie-winning campaign had won a Radio Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions for what Adweek describes as “a set of creepy-comic ads” promoting Mercedes-Benz’s accident-avoidance features.

Ogilvy Cape Town took third place on the rankings, and its Grand Prix, for the campaigns it created for Volkswagen. It also produced winning work for Kraft and the Sea Rescue Institute.

TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg, which swept ad award ceremonies in 2009 with its “Trillion Dollar Billboard” campaign for The Zimbabwean, took sixth place on the overall rankings. Its follow-up campaign for The Zimbabwean handed it only three Silvers.

King James, which dominated the Loeries last year and ranked first place on the overall table last year, hardly registered this year. Its work for and Allan Gray, usually sure-fire award-winners, were barely noted by the judges.

It shows that award success (or lack there off) doesn’t necessarily mirror what is happening at an agency. King James is on a success streak with McCain, British Airways (King James already holds the account for sister airline and short-term insurer Santam (strategic lead and above-the-line), all signing up as clients over the course of the last year. It has also bagged the whole of the Parmalat account, won the Pan-African Johnnie Walker business of the global “Keep Walking” campaign, the consolidated Nashua account and the Galaxy business. The agency was also named AdReview Agency of the Year in 2011 by Tony Koenderman. Alistair King didn’t cry himself to sleep last night.

Quirk, which is building itself into a hugely successful digital agency, didn’t feature at the awards either. With revenues nearing R100 million this financial year, marketers seem to be voting this agency a different sort of award.

Joe Public, also on a successful account-winning streak, has similarly fallen off the top 10 ranking table since last year, while DDB South Africa and McCann Erickson has clambered up, thanks to successful campaigns for McDonalds and 8ta respectively.

140 BBDO, formerly Net#work BBDO Cape Town, caught attention with its innovative interactive print advert for Mercedes-Benz, as well as its digital solutions for Visi magazine (alongside Native). M&C Saatchi Abel made a respectable debut at the Loeries with a Campaign Gold in the Direct & PR Communication category for its repositioning of Mr Delivery as Mr D.

Overall, the event itself was much slicker (and shorter) than it was last year, achieved through cutting back on the entertainment. The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is surely one of the city’s better investments. First night MC was Riaan “I’m on a stage” Cruywagen (who had also been used in the 2009 Pendoring awards campaign) and second night was David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff.

With the ceremony over, I for one cannot help but feel that the industry is shifting away from judging their peers based on award results.

King James is a case in point; Joe Public, with its innovative initiative to help every willing client to search for the core purpose of their business, is another; or Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town, which is rekindling its creative spirit. None of these agencies made a huge splash at the awards show; nobody doubts their influence in this industry – everybody is talking about what they are busy doing.

At the same time, nobody doubts the creative credentials of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, even if it hadn’t been able to match (even by a long shot) its award success for the Trillion Dollar Campaign.

The Great Recession is stranding the egos. As an industry advertising is looking at alternative ways to judge industry and business success (like those 300-400 new CVs passing through Quirk every month). Awards are becoming an ever-smaller part of a larger parcel, allowing agencies to use a broader set of tools to build their reputations.

For many, it will come as a relief to no longer be held hostage by award success as the sole arbiter of agency and industry respect.

Originally published on Marketing & Media | South Africa – click to see more comments


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