It's becoming increasingly common, but no less special to see Special Group steal the headline at Campaign's Agency of the Year Awards for Australia/New Zealand. Much like it did last year, the year before that, and even the year before that, Special Group once again was the pride of the ball this year and in even more convincing fashion than ever before.
On a night when no other agency in Australia and New Zealand won more than a pair of Golds, Special clearly had the Midas touch, scooping five Golds, including for Australia Creative Agency of the Year and New Zealand Creative Agency of the Year (with the latter being a split Gold award with Colenso BBDO). Special also won Golds for PR in New Zealand, ANZ Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year and ANZ Independent Agency of the Year (another split Gold with Atomic 212, which also won ANZ Performance Agency of the Year). Special then added a Silver as ANZ Content Marketing Agency of the Year for good measure.
The only agency that came close to stealing the night from Special was the outbreak of Motion Sickness, which struck six times throughout the night. The Kiwi independent won Gold (ANZ Boutique Agency), Silver (NZ Creative Agency) and two Bronze (ANZ Independent Agency; ANZ Production Company), while founder Sam Stuchbury walked away with two ANZ people awards (Young Creative Person of the Year, Young Business Leader of the Year).
Among media agencies, Initiative Australia showed the jurors it indeed takes the initiative when it comes to a winning culture, earning two Golds (Australia Media Agency, ANZ Best Culture), a Silver (ANZ Data Analytics Agnecy) and taking home the ANZ Best Place to Work Award. Omnicom Media Group arguably had just as solid a night, with OMD splitting the Gold for Media Agency of the Year in Australia with Initiative and earning both Gold (PHD) and Silver (OMD) for Media Agency of the Year in New Zealand.
No Gold was awarded to Australian PR agencies, but Icon Agency and Ogilvy PR both took home Silver, as did Sling & Stone in New Zealand. Special PR, as mentioned above, took NZ Gold.
Highlights among the People Awards included The Monkeys' Tara Ford winning ANZ Creative Leader of the Year, Atomic 212's Claire Fenner winning ANZ Agency Head of the Year and Ogilvy Australia's Ryan O'Connell winning ANZ Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year.
Among the other Gold winners on the night:
- Deloitte Digital won ANZ Consultancy of the Year
- Accenture-owned Fiftyfive5 and TRA both won Gold for ANZ Market Research Agency of the Year
- Hello Social won for ANZ Social Media Agency of the Year
- Apparent won for ANZ Specialist Agency of the Year