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#Newsmaker: VMLY&R's Jacquie Mullany is the 2020 Gerety Awards' SA jury ambassador

The Gerety Awards recently announced Johannesburg as an executive judging session with Jacquie Mullany, executive creative director at VMLY&R as the ambassador for the South African jury.

Launched in January 2019, the Gerety Awards is the latest global advertising award programme to recognise global talent who define and refine the standards to which their craft should be held. The Awards have introduced an executive jury in multiple locations globally, whose task it is to choose agency and production company of the year from their country.

In addition to Johannesburg, executive jury sessions will be held in Bangkok, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Melbourne and New York. Each city will bring together some of its most respected agency and brand leaders to choose the shortlist which will be announced mid-June. Shortlists are submitted to an international grand jury of creative experts for final evaluation.

Winners are determined based on scores achieved across the board, regardless of product or medium and will be announced at the award ceremony in June 2020.

Jacquie Mullany, executive creative director at VMLY&R. Image supplied.
Jacquie Mullany, executive creative director at VMLY&R. Image supplied.

“South Africa has an incredibly diverse advertising industry, well known globally for producing award-winning work. I’m really excited at the prospect of working with some of my most respected peers to seek out the best we have to offer and share it on the global stage,” says Mullany.

Here, she goes on to tell us what her role as jury ambassador entails and that she’s passionate about female representation in the industry and looking forward to meeting her “fierce” all-female judging panel in January…

Congrats on your appointment as ambassador for the South African jury for the 2020 Gerety Awards. How do you feel about this and Johannesburg being chosen as an executive judging session?

I am incredibly honoured to be chosen as the Gerety ambassador for the South African jury and super excited to be launching the awards in South Africa. Johannesburg has such amazing female talent and this is a great platform to showcase these powerhouse women as jury.

What does your role entail?

As an ambassador, I’m helping to launch the Gerety Awards in South Africa, which includes jury selection, judging local work and planning and facilitation of the judging panel on judging day.

And tell us more about your role as ECD at VMLY&R Johannesburg. What does this recognition mean for the agency?

I am passionate about female representation in the industry and am always encouraging women within the agency to bring their qualities and talents to the table and to be proud of what makes us different and great leaders.
VMLY&R globally are strong advocates for diversity. I believe that VMLY&R in South Africa being asked to host the Gerety Awards is testament to those efforts.

What do you love most about your job/working at VMLY&R?

VMLY&R has a culture, unlike any other agency I have worked at. Personally, I have incredible support from my teams, colleagues and the broader leadership. A win for one person is a celebration for all of us at VMLY&R. Who wouldn’t want to be part of an organisation like that?

Any other career highlights you’re particularly proud of?

I’ve just returned from Japan where I presented a talk at Rare with Google Masterclass in Tokyo. Rare with Google celebrates difference and equips under-represented talent to thrive – for the good of culture and creativity. I was among international giants in the advertising world, and was honoured to add my voice to the class and help encourage other women in under-represented industries to be the plot twist and to lead authentically.

Tell us a bit about your judging experience and how this has equipped you for your role as jury ambassador.

I have judged at a few awards shows locally, including the Loeries and The Bookmarks. I have been on judging panels with incredible talent and have learnt so much from sitting at the table with them over the years. Different shows adjudicate work in different ways, which has given me good broad insight into how the process really works.

Tell us a bit about the judging process and criteria required to enter.

Entries are open to all agencies, brand studios and production companies. All entries need to have been broadcast, published or released in a commercial environment with client approval.

A full list of entry requirements and guidelines is available on the Gerety website.

What do you think makes winning work stand out?

Simple ideas that are executed beautifully always stand out. Ideas that instantly spark an emotion, that evoke conversation, that trigger a change are powerful. Work that you wish you had made should be celebrated regardless of who actually did make it.
BizcommunityWhat are you most looking forward to?

Meeting the all-female jury panel… Fierce females coming together to celebrate work – what an occasion!

Entries open on 1 January 2020. Visit the Gerety Awards at and/or on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, follow Mullany on Twitter, VMLY&R at and/or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram

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