by Herman Manson (@marklivesToday, we reveal which ad agencies in Cape Town were most admired by their peers in 2015!

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 creatives, and where they believe their future competition is likely to come from.

Next week, we announce the 2015 results from Johannesburg. National results will be announced in two weeks’ time.

The most-admired ad agency in Cape Town

King James Cape Town. Source: Facebook.

King James Group (Cape Town)

In 2015, it beat its closet competitor by a wide margin of 2:1. Group revenue for 2014/15 jumped to R145m — representing 40% growth. Digital revenue grew by 100% year-on-year and now represents 24% of group revenue.

King James Group logoThe Cape Town agency won New Balance, Me&You Mobile and a number of Coty brands during 2015; its PR division won Cotton On, MWeb, Nampak and P&G projects; and, as of November 2015,  the group employs 178 people.

The agency has successfully settled Sanlam  which it won early 2014. The group also picked up the Pick n Pay business from Y&R South Africa in January 2016.


In 2014, King James tied with Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town as the most-admired ad agency in the city. In 2013, it was Ogilvy Cape Town. In 2012, our inaugural poll, it was…. King James!


The runner-up

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town. Source: Facebook.

Ogilvy & Mather (Cape Town)

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town had another strong year under the leadership of Luca Gallarelli — his second year in the hot seat. As agency of record, O&M Cape Town picked up Hansa Pilsner (joining SAB brands Carling Black Label, Castle Lite and Flying Fish at the agency) and Gumtree.

Ogilvy&Mather logoSAB also entrusted the agency with the launch of Carling Blue Label; it also became Clorets’ regional agency of record; its PR arm picked up its first Unilever brand in the Cape Town office — Skip; and OgilvyOne picked up all of the digital business for Pep Africa.

“It feels like we’re in the midst of a growth phase, which is significant when one considers our current scale,” comments Gallarelli. The agency had no account losses last year.


FoxP2 was the runner-up both in 2014 and 2013. In 2012, our inaugural poll, it was Ogilvy Cape Town.


The contender

FoxP2 Cape Town reception. Source: FoxP2 websiteFoxP2 10-year logo



How the poll works

Towards the end of 2015, Cape Town’s agency leaders were invited to nominate their most-admired ad agency, the most-admired creative director and the most-admired ad agency boss — all 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 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.

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 Manson 2105Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of He was the inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011 and has, over his 20-year-plus career, contributed to numerous journals and websites in South Africa and abroad, including AdVantage magazine, Men’s Health, Computer World and African Communications.

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