by Herman Manson (@marklives) In our annual Agency Leaders’ Most Admired poll for 2017, we asked ad execs to take a broader view of the marketing environment and nominate the brand they would most want their agencies to work on (which must operate in South Africa and excluding their current clients); which pitch consultant they would recommend to a client; and the industry body they rate the most highly.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve revealed the South African, Johannesburg and Cape Town winners of the new Agency Diversity & Transformation awards, and, before that, we revealed the most-admired agencies and agency leaders in South Africa’s primary ad markets of Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as nationally, over several weeks.

1. The brands (tied) that agencies most want to work on in South Africa

Coca-Cola logo

Volkswagen logo



The lucky agency which has the account:

FCB Africa

The lucky agency which has the account:

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town


In 2016, it was Nando’s (this year it placed third) and, in 2015, it was Coca-Cola. Nike was the runner-up. In 2014, the first time we polled this category, it was Coca-Cola, too, with FNB close behind Coke.


2. The most-recommended pitch consultant in South Africa

IAS logoIndependent Agency Selection (IAS)


In the previous three years, it was Yardstick every time.






In the previous three years, it was IAS every time.




3. The most-admired ad industry body in South Africa

ACA logoAssociation for Communication and Advertising (ACA)


In 2016, it was the ACA. In 2015 the ACA and the IAB tied for top spot. In 2014, the ACA was the most-admired by a good margin. 


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.

See also


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

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