Surekha Ragavan
Dec 7, 2021

Special Group and Optus are high-achieving partners in ANZ AOY awards

This year’s ANZ results credit the independents while larger networks DDB and Ogilvy also scoop wins along the way.

Clockwise from top left: Special Group NZ, UM Australia, Special Group Australia, Tribal DDB Group Aotearoa, Ogilvy Australia
Clockwise from top left: Special Group NZ, UM Australia, Special Group Australia, Tribal DDB Group Aotearoa, Ogilvy Australia

The just-released 2021 results of the Agency of the Year Awards for Australia and New Zealand show that once again, Special Group continues to dominate in the region. The creative agency picks up a total of 13 awards today, including a gold each for Australia and New Zealand Creative Agency of the Year. It also wins golds for Content Marketing Agency of the Year and Independent Agency of the Year alongside silvers for Best Culture and Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year.

Special Group also appears to have struck a dream partnership with telco giant Optus, with whom it has worked on great marketing such as this Christmas campaign featuring sugar gliders and this one with a cast of charming children. The Special/Optus pair picks up a gold for ANZ Agency Marketing Partnership of the Year. Optus doesn’t rest on this laurel: It also wins ANZ Brand of the Year and its CMO Melissa Hopkins is crowned Marketer of the Year.

> See all Agency of the Year 2021 coverage <

> See the full list of 2021 ANZ AOY winners <

Ogilvy Australia scores three awards including a gold for Australian Digital Agency and a silver for Creative Agency of the Year.

In the media categories, equal presence is seen across the major networks with UM winning a gold for Best Media Agency in Australia and OMD winning the same title in New Zealand. WPP’s Mediacom and Mindshare, Dentsu Media, and PHD New Zealand pick up silver and bronze awards in these two categories.

Kiwi powerhouse DDB New Zealand wins a silver for Best Creative Agency and its Tribal DDB Aotearoa arm beats Special Group to bag a gold for NZ Digital Agency of the Year. In a region known for independents, History will be Kind scores a gold for Best Boutique Agency and a noteworthy bronze in the Best Independent Agency category. In the hotly contested Best Culture category, The Works picks up the gold.

People and teams

Tony Bradbourne, Special Group’s CEO and founder, wins gold in Agency Head of the Year while ECD Lisa Fedyszyn is Creative Person of the Year and general manager John Marshall is Young Business Leader of the Year. Based on these three prestigious awards, one might say they make a great team.

Managing partner of The Works, Kristie Thistlethwaite, is Account Person of the Year, and Ogilvy Australia’s chief strategic officer Ryan O'Connell is Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year. Initiative Australia’s Summer Treseder is Young Achiever of the Year.

L-R: Kristie Thistlethwaite, Tony Bradbourne, Lisa Fedyszyn, Ryan O'Connell, Summer Treseder, John Marshall


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