Marklives.com, the industry news site that covers the South African advertising and marketing industry, has begun releasing the results of its 2021 #AgencyLeaders Most Admired poll and, for the first time since 2018, King James Group has topped the most admired agency in SA category. Also announced have been SA’s most admired creative and agency leaders, as well as the most admired brand in SA.
Annually since 2012, MarkLives has been polling the leaders of SA’s top adland-related agencies — including creative, media, digital, marketing, strategy and other specialist agencies — to find out what they think of their competitors, whom they see as effective managers and great creatives, and where they believe their future competition is likely to come from, among other questions.
Most Admired Ad Agency
Last year, King James Group signed an acquisition deal with Accenture that has seen it join the ranks of other top-notch agencies bought up by the consulting giant, including Droga5, Karmarama and The Monkeys. The deal also resulted in the group being crowned MarkLives’ 2021 newsmaker of the year, along with Accenture Interactive.
Joe Public United, which won the most admired agency title in both 2020 and 2019, was named runner-up in an incredibly tight poll. Its revenue grew by 21%, based on a combination of a 100% retention rate of its top-tier clients and several key accounts wins.
The Odd Number and TBWA\ South Africa were both named contenders in this unusually competitive category that saw the poll dominance of King James/Joe Public threatened for the first time since 2015. For TBWA\ South Africa, year-on-year revenue growth between 2020 and 2021 came in at 19%, while The Odd Number kept punching above its weight creatively.
Most Admired Creative and Agency Leaders
James Barty of King James Group was voted the most admired ad agency leader in SA, making it four years in a row this time around, with Mike Abel of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa as runner-up.
Most Admired Brand
Chicken Licken was named by SA’s top advertising executives as their most admired brand in the country.
Categories still to be announced are one to watch in 2022, specialist agencies (PR, production, media and pitch), and women of the year.