by Herman Manson (@marklives) Today, we reveal which agency creatives were most admired by their peers in Johannesburg during 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. Last week we announced the 2015 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-admired creative in Johannesburg

Pepe MaraisPepe Marais
Chief creative officer
Joe Public United

Joe Public United emerged as the top-awarded agency at the 2015 Pendoring Awards. It was the third most-awarded agency at the 2014 Loeries and the ninth most-awarded at the 2015 ceremony.

Marais is known for his involvement in the One School at a Time initiative, which includes working with the principals and school management staff to set a purpose and values, five-year goals, improvement of physical facilities, teacher support, management programmes and leadership coaching for both students and staff.

The pass rate of the first beneficiary school, Forte High School in Dobsonville (Soweto), has steadily improved from 52% in 2007 to 94% in 2014. The matric bachelor’s passes have improved by 33% over these years and 51% of matrics obtained a bachelor’s pass in 2014.

The Dialdirect “Save You Time” TVC saw sales leads double in volume within the first two weeks of launching.


Marais also took top honours in 2014 and 2013. In 2012, our inaugural poll, it was Pete Case (founder of Gloo).


The runner-up

Fran LuckinFran Luckin
Chief creative officer, Grey Africa
Former ECD, Quirk

Fran Luckin joined Quirk as executive creative director in July 2013, leaving her role as ECD at Ogilvy & Mather, Johannesburg, to join this digital marketing agency. As of February 2016, she is now chief creative officer of Grey Africa.

Her ATL work experience and strong digital experience gives her a strong integrated approach, according to one of the execs who nominated her in our Agency Leaders poll. “She’s made the move to ideas rather than traditional or digital,” commented another.

“What makes Fran one of the all-time great CDs is not just the long list of awards won, or the numerous titles that she’s earned, but rather that she was always prepared to venture out into the creative wilderness, to break loose of everyday ways and the ability to transcend traditional ideas into innovative and award-winning campaigns,” according to one agency MD.


In 2014, tied runners-up were Mariana O’Kelly, co-ECD at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, and Brett Morris, GCEO & ECD, FCB South Africa (now FCB Africa). There wasn’t a runner up in 2013 and, in 2012 — our inaugural poll — it was Marais (see above).


The contenders

Mariana O'KellyXoliswa Dyeshana

Left: Mariana O’Kelly, co-ECD at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg
Right: Xolisa Dyeshana, ECD & partner at Joe Public


How the poll works

Towards the end of 2015, Jozi’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 Johannesburg. 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 City of Gold 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 Jozi:


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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