Like most of our annual Agency of the Year Awards since 1994, the winner pie chart was split between multinational and local agencies, and among those operating in mainland China versus other Chinese regions.
Ogilvy retained its crown as the Creative Agency of the Year in China and Taiwan in a close call against BBDO in both markets, on the back of two golds for Greater China Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year and Greater China PR Agency of the Year.
Instead, BBDO China's sibling, Energy BBDO, picked up golds for Greater China Social Media Agency of the Year and Greater China Channel/Engagement Planner of the Year. PHD China took home the coveted China Media Agency of the Year title.
In another newly-introduced category for Best Culture, Weber Shandwick China beat Ogilvy and MSL to the title with its collaborative corporate culture, which saw diversity as not just a priority, but a competitive advantage to bring different points of view to the table.
A smattering of decent performances from Mindshare, especially in the 'people and team' segment, kept the glasses clinking. The ecstatic faces of Greater China Account Person of the Year Audrey Low, Greater China Agency Head of the Year Caroline Chan, Greater China Corporate Communications Team of the Year 'The Purple Profilers', and Greater China Young Achiever of the Year Sammy Li were a sight to behold.
While the award circuit is a usual an agency stomping ground, client-side candidates were visibly brighter as they also got into the game. Uniqlo beat KFC and Estee Lauder in the Brand of the Year (another fresh category) and Greater China Marketer of the Year spots. Since CMO Jalin Wu came on board, Uniqlo China has seen significant growth and now is the biggest overseas market for the Japanese clothing brand.
APAX Group bagged the gold award for Greater China Experiential Marketing Agency of the Year, as well as our unofficial best dressed prize, for having its entire team don "It's Me" T-shirts—a satirical reference to its ex-client Dolce & Gabbana and its recent “Not Me” furore.
In total, 224 entries were received from the Greater China region, with 66 awards in 31 categories presented. There were no agencies shortlisted for the Greater China Mobile Marketing Agency of the Year.