Despite the runaway creative successes of Clemenger BBDO at Cannes and Spikes for such widely acclaimed campaigns as TAC's 'Meet Graham' and Snickers' 'Hungerithm', The Monkeys held off their challenger to hold onto creative agency gold in Australia for a second straight year at the Agency of the Year Awards for Australia / New Zealand. Over in New Zealand, new business growth helped Colenso BBDO clinch a third consecutive creative gold award.
"Agencies that impressed this year managed to deliver true value for their clients and produce some excellent work," said jury member Kylie Watson-Wheeler, senior vice-president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company, Australia.
More on the Australia / New Zealand Agency of the Year Awards
"A lot can happen in a Monkey year" read the executive summary for the Accenture-owned Australian agency's entry. That included stirring-up plenty of controversy with a Meat and Livestock Australia campaign that parodied world religious figures and deities enjoying a lamb dinner together (that was eventually banned by regulators). While the Monkeys may have bragged that their work "was the most talked about in the country" it was also a bevy of new brand wins that impressed the judges, including Australia Post, Holden, Pizza Hut, Canadian Club and many more.
While it's possible that no Australian agency has enjoyed more success on the global stage, Clemenger BBDO had to settle for creative silver in Australia but also picked up a digital bronze. Naomi Gorridge, who worked on 'Meet Graham' and was a key contributor to Clemenger BBDO's agency of the year win at Cannes took home ANZ account person of the year, while CEO Nick Garrett was named runner-up as ANZ agency head of the the year. That latter award went to M&C Saatchi's Jaimes Leggett on the back of innovation successes and the delivery of four new businesses to market.
Media and digital
On the media side, UM Australia struck gold, thanks to a renewed focus on data science to improve campaign performance. Following a year of record growth, UM was able to improve its margins through diversified services to raise profit growth. Over in New Zealand, FCB Media ended OMD's four-year media category gold rush as it continuted to exploit its niche between networked media agencies and smaller independents with solid financial results.
In digital, Little Giant, Linked by Isobar grabbed top honours in New Zealand, while Atomic 212 took home gold in Australia for a second straight year. It was another big year for the latter agency, which also won ANZ independent agency gold, ANZ New Business Development Team of the Year, and ANZ mobile marketing gold, which it shared with Special Group.
A strong performance by DDB New Zealand earns special mention. It missed a three-peat in digital gold this year but landed three silver awards in the creative, digital and mobile categories.
PR and specialists
A record year of revenue and staff growth helped Eleven to bring home gold in the PR category as it put its Backlash culture spotting tool to work in its campaigns. ANZ specialist agency gold went to social video content marketing agency Emotive for its solid track record of meeting client objectives in its Facebook and YouTube campaigns.