While major networks gathered up the majority of the gold awards in the Australia / New Zealand region at the 2018 Agency of the Year Awards, independents held their own and then some. In particular, Cummins & Partners and Special Group each ended the night loaded down with multiple plaques.
Cummins & Partners took three ANZ-level gold awards: for Independent Agency of the Year, Integrated Communications Agency of the year, and Social Media Agency of the Year. The wins culminate a year in which the agency also won gold at Cannes for its brutal film about dying with dignity.
The Monkeys, formerly an independent but now part of Accenture Interactive, continued its dominance of the creative category for Australia, winning Agency of the Year for the third straight year.
Turning to Media Agency of the Year, Mindshare took the title in Australia, while OMD was crowned in New Zealand. OMD also picked up a second gold for best culture across ANZ.
In New Zealand, the same two agencies took the creative and digital titles. Omnicom's DDB captured the gold, and Special Group the sIlver in both categories.
Special Group, which has offices in Sydney and Auckland, punched well above its weight and showed an impressive range, scooping up a total of five awards on the night—four silvers and a bronze. In addition to the two NZ silvers already mentioned, it won three ANZ-level awards: silver in the independent agency category and the integrated communications agency category, plus a bronze in the social-media agency race.
To the surprise of no one who has followed awards for 'Palau pledge' over the last year, Red Agency took the gold for ANZ PR Agency of the Year.
Tallying just the gold awards brings Cummins & Partners' three-gold achievement into sharper focus: While Omnicom had four golds (two each for DDB and OMD), no other holding company had more than one.
Looking at the overall tally for all award levels, Omnicom and WPP each racked up five awards, but Dentsu Aegis Network emerged as the most-awarded network. DAN agencies took a total of six, including a gold for iProspect in ANZ Specialist Agency of the Year, three wins for WiTH Collective and two for Little Giant Linked by Isobar.
In the people and team categories, Omnicom dominated, with a total of six awards, including three winner nods for OMD: ANZ Agency Head of the Year (Aimee Buchanan), ANZ Corporate Communications Team of the Year and Talent Management Team of the Year. Independents represented in the people categories as well, with Hannah Sturrock of The Hallway taking the ANZ Account Person of the Year title. UM made a mark with two winners: Christopher Colter was named ANZ Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year and Gemma Beeley was named ANZ Young Achiever of the Year.