Established agencies that embraced and adapted to digital disruption emerged as the big winners in this year’s Agency of the Year awards for Greater China across multiple categories.
Ogilvy & Mather replaced 2016 winner BBDO as the Creative Agency of the Year in a close call, on the back of two golds for its mainland and Taiwan offices. BBDO picked up the gold in Hong Kong, while 2015 AOY winner McCann Worldgroup had a silver in the mainland and a bronze in Taiwan.
More on the 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year Awards
Earlier this year, Ogilvy & Mather launched the S_HIFT partnership with IDC Asia Pacific and DHR International Asia Pacific, part of its effort to drive digital transformation services for its clients. China was also one of the first markets where Ogilvy began its agency integration under its ‘Next Chapter’ restructuring. That seemed to pay off tonight, as Ogilvy China was named the Greater China Integrated Agency of the Year.
Meanwhile, Isobar retained its stronghold on the Digital category, capturing two golds, in the mainland and Taiwan, as well as a bronze in Hong Kong. Long a purveyor of cutting-edge technologies, Isobar has been helping clients including Volkswagen and KFC with VR, AR and voice-recognition solutions.
In the Media category, two golds (in Taiwan and the mainland) on the back of major business wins including the KFC account for the China office, tipped the balance in Mindshare’s favour for the regional gong. Past winner Publicis Media failed to pick up any award this year in this category, while UM won gold in Hong Kong.
Ogilvy continued its winning streak in the PR category, beating Weber Shandwick China and Hill+Knowlton Strategies Greater China for the gold award. Jean Cai, head of group strategic marketing and communications at DBS China, who was a judge, was impressed by the blurring of ‘traditional lines’ between PR and digital/social marketing. “The best PR agencies were in fact giving excellent examples on how they are making an impact for brands in the digital/social spaces,” said Cai. “The best digital/social agencies were not only showing excellence in creativity but (also) the capabilities in helping brands build an entirely new digital/social architecture.”
Eric Li, senior director of consumer engagement and marketing service for Greater China with Abbott Nutrition, said that compared to the entries last year, agencies did not just focus on creative ideas, but presented clearer and more solid strategies.
Meanwhile, independent agencies arkr Group, 6e Group and @comm won in the social media category, picking up gold, silver and bronze, respectively. As for the Independent category, APAX Group took the gold, while 180 Digital and Tian Yu Kong China switched places from last year, with the former picking up the silver this year.