FCB Cape Town, which comprises advertising, experiential marketing, design, CRM and web developmental services, has brought one of the prestigious AdReview awards home to the Mother City.
On Tuesday May 6, the group was named as South Africa's 'Intermediate Agency of the Year' at a gala awards banquet beating back stiff competition from fellow finalists Lowe Bull Calvert Pace and Network BBDO.
AdReview is an annual review of the advertising industry compiled by highly-respected industry commentator and Finance Week editor, Tony Koenderman. Koenderman and a panel of industry representatives analyses agency financial and new business performance year-on-year to identify the country's top performers and recognise their achievement. The medium-sized agency category applied to agencies with revenues between R25 million and R50 million.
The news that a Cape Town company has been named 'Intermediate Agency of the Year' – despite the fact that the local industry appears to be depressed – is good news for marketing professionals. It demonstrates that agencies that consistently add value to their clients' brands will always emerge with a healthy set of financials.
According to a recent report in a local daily newspaper, the estimated money spent on advertising in the Western Cape as a percentage of the total adspend in South Africa has dropped from 26% in 1997 to about 18% in 2002. This translates into about R345-million worth of marketing budgets 'leaving' the Western Cape and being spent elsewhere. Consequently, many agencies interviewed painted a 'gloomy' picture predicting minimal positive growth for the current financial year.
FCB Cape Town has bucked this trend notching up impressive growth figures – it increased its annual income earned from fees and commission by some 33% (2001 versus 2002) and its media billing (expenditure on space and time in the media on behalf of the accounts which the agency handles) by 15,5% during the same period.
One of the group's more recent new business gains not reflected in the growth figures considered by AdReview is the R20-million Momentum account. This is a significant win for the agency – and for Cape Town – not only because it bettered several Johannesburg-based agencies to win the account but because it is Johannesburg-based business.
Commenting on the group's performance, FCB Cape Town managing director Brian Stockdale pointed out that FCB South Africa in Cape Town had been very successful at 'being more competitive in a diminishing adspend market and offering clients an integrated solution's, based on the services on offer, and the management team involved in driving delivery. "There is a great respect and understanding of everyone's roles in the business, and all specialist companies are able to act as one integrated team," he said.
"The Western Cape's share of spend on traditional above-the-line adverting may well have shrunk," said Stockdale, "as has been claimed in recent media reports. However, it is erroneous to assume this spend has simply shifted upcountry. Rather, it should be viewed alongside another key trend characterising the Cape market at the moment – that of clients increasingly spending a larger proportion of their budgets on below-the-line activities.
"What this means is that those agencies that are positioned purely as traditional above-the-line concerns will be under greater pressure than those offering a broader marketing communication solutions-based service. And this is where FCB South Africa in Cape Town has flexed its muscle.
"We won considerable new business during the past year including Santam, Amarula (local and international), Farmer Brown/Rainbow (Pty) Ltd, Fleur du Cap, Drostdy Hof, Glenfiddich and recently Momentum. At the same time, no clients were lost and we fared well on the creative awards podium particularly for Distell and BASF.
"The mood at FCB South Africa (Cape Town) – thanks to its successful new client winning streak, fantastic organic growth and news of the 'Intermediate Agency of the Year' award – is obviously upbeat.
"Our diversification into new and alternative marketing communication services has opened up new career development for our staff. Their confidence, our integrated strategies and creative campaigns are positively affecting the quality of client relationships. This augurs well for future growth and we hope to continue to buck the industry trend," he said.
Group COO Andries Breytenbach praised the Cape Town team's achievement: "Enormous congratulations to Brian, creative director Francois de Villiers and the entire team in Cape Town. The FCB Cape Town team has become a fully integrated marketing communications solutions company. They consistently produce excellent creative work and exceed their clients' expectations in everything they do."
At the same awards ceremony, FCB South Africa (Johannesburg) was awarded 'Campaign of the Year' for its work for Vodacom on the 4U 'Baby' campaign, which has generated 3.5-million subscribers. FCB South Africa (Johannesburg) developed everything for the brand – brand name, brand identity, packaging, advertising campaign, promotional campaigns, merchandising, web work, sponsorships etc. The liking scores of the TV commercials were exceptionally high and the 'Seize the Moment, Seize the Day' TV sound track had enormous impact generating 70 000 downloads from the web site.