After a year when it suspended participation in most awards to pare costs and cope with the pandemic, WPP has returned with a bang to Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards in the South Asia region. Among the just-announced winners, WPP's Mindshare has won the South Asia Digital Agency of the Year and South Asia Media Agency of the Year awards, while Ogilvy has won the top prize for creative shops in the South Asia region.
Those top regional honours rest on a total of four golds each for Mindshare and Ogilvy in the agency categories. GroupM India also bags gold in South Asia Best Place to Work, bolstering the network's tally.
In 2019, when a full field entered AOY, Ogilvy won the South Asia creative gold, Dentsu won digital agency, and media agency top honours went to Mindshare. A year later, in 2020, Famous Innovations won two golds, Dentsu won five silvers, BBDO won a gold for its work with Ariel for South Asia Agency Marketer Partnership of the Year category, while the jury declined to select regional winners for creative, media, digital or PR agency.
In 2021, here are the golds that various Mindshare shops have won in in the agency categories in South Asia:
- India Digital Agency of the Year
- India Media Agency of The Year
- Rest of South Asia Media Agency of the Year
- South Asia Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year.
Meanwhile, various Ogilvy shops in the region can celebrate their fair share of golds, even beating out Mindshare in one category:
- India Creative Agency of The Year
- Pakistan Creative Agency of The Year
- Pakistan Digital Agency of The Year (beating Mindshare)
- Rest of South Asia Digital Agency of the Year.
Beyond WPP, Famous Innovations wins gold for South Asia Best Culture, the CX Consulting Practice at Merkle wins gold for South Asia Consultancy of the Year, and Sri Lanka's Triad wins gold for South Asia Independent Agency of the Year (pushing last year's winner, Famous Innovations, to silver).
Interactive Avenues bags the gold for South Asia Performance Agency of the Year, Dentsu's Fractal Ink wins wins gold for South Asia Specialist Agency of the Year for the second year running, and Dentsu Webchutney wins gold for South Asia Talent Development Program of the Year.
The jury did not select a South Asia Brand of the Year or a South Asia Marketer of the Year. There is also no winner for South Asia PR Agency of the Year, an award based on points in the other categories.
Mindshare's strong showing in the AOY awards for South Asia continues in the people categories. While it loses out on South Asia Account Person of the Year to fellow GroupM member Wavemaker India (Harsha Vardhan Desireddy) and the Wavemaker India ExCo ("The Ocean's Twelve") for South Asia New Business Development Person/Team of the Year, four other Mindshare executives have won awards in 2021. These include Meherzad Contractor for South Asia Channel/Engagement Planner of the Year and Ankita Israney for South Asia Young Achiever of the Year.
Executives from smaller agencies have also made impressions in the people categories: Raj Kamble of Famous Innovations wins South Asia Agency Head of the Year for the second year in a row, Shehan Samarasinha of Triad wins South Asia Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year, and Chandni Shah bags South Asia Young Business Leader of the Year.