Net#work BBDO and DDB SA each won two golds at last week’s Cannes Lions international creative festival in France but Ogilvy Cape Town could claim to be the biggest winner among SA agencies.
With one gold, two silver and four bronze Lions, it scored 36 points on the SA Creative Circle league table, which recognises success at domestic and international awards festivals. That was one more than Net#work, which won three Cannes bronzes in addition to its golds.
Last year Net#work BBDO was the leading SA agency at Cannes, winning a Grand Prix in radio for its Mercedes-Benz Accident Avoidance Features campaign. This pushed SA into the limelight as one of the leading makers of radio advertising in the world.
The campaign that ultimately placed Ogilvy Cape Town in the top spot this year was the Be the Coach campaign it developed for SAB’s Carling Black Label Cup match last year between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
Fans were invited to use a mobile application on their cellphones to select the team and make live substitutions during the game.
The campaign won one gold Lion in the branded content/entertainment category, a silver Lion in the mobile/integrated category and two bronze Lions in the PR and direct mobile categories, and was short-listed for six other categories.
The agency was also awarded for work done for Volkswagen and Kraft Foods.
Ogilvy Cape Town executive creative director and Creative Circle chairman Chris Gotz says despite the tough international competition SA agencies performed well.
“SA did very well with 27 Lions,” he says. “I think it’s the most that SA has had at Cannes. For us it’s always good to see that we are doing our best work for our biggest pieces of business. Also, to be winning in new categories such as mobile is important for SA as it’s one of the most important media for consumers,” he says.
Net#work BBDO won two gold Lions in the radio category, for its Mercedes-Benz Assist Alert campaign.
DDB SA won two gold Lions in the press category for its McDonald’s Kids Birthday Party campaign and MetropolitanRepublic won a gold Lion in the PR/restaurants category for its Wimpy Braille Burger campaign.
Net#work BBDO executive creative director Rob McLennan says SA agencies will always do better in categories such as radio where the playing field is more even.
“I think the reason we’ve done particularly well in radio is that it’s probably a more important medium [in SA] than in many First-World countries,” he says. “We are at a disadvantage in areas like film and digital where we don’t have the same budgets, but radio allows us to compete at global level.”
However, MetropolitanRepublic partner Paul Warner says a campaign’s budget doesn’t need to be enormous to compete internationally.
“Our budgets are a lot smaller than those in the US, but countries like Brazil have the same or less and they achieve a lot more than us,” he says. “It comes down to coming up with ideas that win. Brazilian agencies have always been able to win major awards on small budgets.”