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Apex... Beeping fantastic!

The FNB Switch campaign (Beating the beep out of beep bank) from First National Bank and DDB South Africa won an APEX Gold and Grand Prix at the APEX Awards last night at the Sandton Convention Centre in Gauteng.
The FNB campaign, which launched in 2011 and is also popularly known as Steve, has over 220 executions over the past three years and increased and maintained the number of leads per month by 11% and helped switch large numbers of customers to FNB. The bank's revenue, through the campaign, was boosted by 41% over the past three years. Talking to Bizcommunity at the event straight after winning the Grand Prix, Gerhard Sagat, strategic director at DDB SA struggled to find words, saying he was speechless by jokingly saying: "This is beeping fantastic!" Once he had calmed down sufficiently he still did not know what to say. "This is above our expectations, but I believe well deserved."

The other gold winners on the night were FoxP2 with their client, Ster-Kinekor for the Great moments at their greatest campaign, and M&C Saatchi Abel and their client the Haven Night Shelter for the Haven Street Store. This campaign, which was achieved on a budget of R5,000, was also awarded a Special Award for the best entry for a non-profit or charity organisation or cause sponsored by the Millward Brown Award.

The other special award, for the entry that demonstrates the most ingenious response to limited budget sponsored by DStv Media Sales went to The Jupiter Drawing Room Johannesburg for their Galderma South Africa client for their infesting a band with zits ads to grow the Benzac A5 Brand campaign.

Bronze APEX Awards were given to Lowe and Partners Johannesburg and client Unilever for Rama Switch campaign, Joe Public and Nedbank for the Nedbank Savvy Campaign and The Jupiter Drawing Room for the ABSA Savings and Investments - Depositor Plus campaign for ABSA.

A stellar year

Ogilvy and Mather also took two bronze awards, one for their client Cell C for the Wake up SA campaign and another for their KFC Double Down campaign (client: Yum! Restaurants). The agency was also awarded two silver APEX Awards. One for the Face of Hope campaign for its client Yum! Restaurants and the other for its client VW for its Polo Vigo Once launched never equalled campaign. Another silver went to Ogilvy One Cape Town for the Audi A3 Exchange campaign for Audi South Africa.

Present at the Awards, Abey Mokgwatsane, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, was very happy with the agency's performance. "David Ogilvy said we sell or else. Our continued success at the APEX Awards this year is testimony that that philosophy still holds true today."

Lauren Turnbull, CSR and Sponsorships Manager, KFC South Africa was thrilled with KFC's award. "It's a validation of what we are doing in the CSI space. It shows that CSI has a space within brands and that if it is aligned to a brand's values and the ideals of its customers it works."

For the judges, this year was a stellar year in which excellent work was produced. Head judge Andy Rice said the entries that did well had treated the narrative as a who done it by layering the case and at the end of the whole story there was only one answer to who done it. "It was the brand communication that did it."

Odette van der Haar, CEO, Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) said this year had seen an increase in entries and in the quality of the entries. She told Bizcommunity: "There were more fully integrated campaigns as opposed to short burst campaigns. The campaigns also highlighted the successful use of social media."

Time to discard the magic vs logic debate

She added that the entries demonstrated clearly that advertising if used effectively contributes to business success. "Previous years we could see how spend or lack thereof affected advertising. This year the campaigns were fully integrated campaigns as opposed to short burst campaigns. The campaigns also highlighted the successful use of social media."

The keynote speaker was Graham Warsop, founder of the Jupiter Drawing Room, Group Chairman of the Jupiter Drawing Room, Chairman of The Lionheart Brand Holding Company and Le Patron & Creative Director of Utopia. Talking to Bizcommunity before the Awards kicked off he said it was time the 20-year debate on magic vs logic was discarded. "We need to move on. The two are not separate bedfellows. I like to think that agencies today have broken down the silos that exist in their agencies and that all the channels work together."

He said the APEX Awards are important because they talk about the value we add to our clients' business. "These awards demonstrate this because they are based on data and results. So let's show work with proven sales results. However not every ad is measured and this does not mean it is not doing good work."

The Awards also honoured Nkwenkwe Nkomo. The first-ever black chair of the ACA board of Directors, elected in 1997, he has been committed to transformation in the industry. He is the group non-executive chairman of FCB South Africa.

Seventeen bursaries were also handed out to students studying at the AAA schools in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.