Surekha Ragavan
Dec 13, 2019

Independents give major networks run for their money in ANZ

While major agencies had a good night, Versa and Special Group were among the independents punching well above their weight at this year's AOY awards for ANZ.

Independents give major networks run for their money in ANZ

<< 2019 Agency of the Year Awards home page

Independent digital agency Versa took home the highest number of golds at last night's Agency of the Year Awards for Australia and New Zealand. The haul included golds for Digital Agency of the Year, Best Culture, and Specialist Agency of the Year, while founder and CEO Kath Blackham took home the coveted Agency Head of the Year title. 

>> See the full list of Australia / New Zealand Agency of the Year winners <<

Versa was only a four-strong team when it was founded 10 years ago, so the fact that it beat out Clemenger Group and WPP agencies this year is impressive to say the least.

Independent creative agency Special Group also punched above its weight with four wins: Gold for ANZ Independent Agency of the Year, Bronze for Australian Creative Agency of the Year, Silver for New Zealand Creative Agency of the Year, and Silver for New Zealand Digital Agency of the Year.

The wins for Special Group may not come as a surprise given that the agency was behind several high-profile works of late including the Cannes-winning Uber Eats campaign. A recent spot featuring Kim Kardashian and Australian comedy icon Sharon Strzelecki was also much talked about.

Last year’s big winner, Cummins&Partners, bagged two awards this time: Silver for ANZ’s Independent Agency of the Year and a Bronze for Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year.

Despite big wins for independents, the larger holding groups weren't left behind. IPG Mediabrands' Initiative Australia upped its game with four gongs including Gold for Australian Media Agency of the Year, and the title of Business Development Team of the Year.

Omnicom's Che Proximity took home four awards including a Silver for Australian Creative Agency of the Year, while chief creative officer Ant White wore the title of ANZ Creative Person of the Year.

WPP's Ogilvy—which continued to shine in other APAC regions—won a Gold for Australian Creative Agency of the Year, and a Silver in Australia’s Digital Agency of the Year. DDB New Zealand also bagged some big ones including a Gold for Social Media Agency of the Year, and two joint silvers with Special Group for NZ Creative and Digital Agency of the Year. 

In the people categories, experience agency George P. Johnson (GPJ) dominated with three awards: Felippe Diaz for Account Person of the Year, Bim Ricketson as a ANZ runner-up Creative Person of the Year, and Jessica Quiney as ANZ’s Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year.

The agency’s portfolio includes the annual splashy IBM Think event, which was held on Star Wars day this year, and remarkably managed to surpass Star Wars mentions on Twitter. The force was truly with GPJ, we suppose.

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