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    Unpacking SA rankings with Creative Circle chair Neo Mashigo

    At the recent Cannes Lions Trend Talks Creative Circle chair, Neo Mashigo presented the current industry ranking status reports.
    Unpacking SA rankings with Creative Circle chair Neo Mashigo

    With the international awards of One Show, D&AD and Cannes Lions behind us and the Loeries Awards announcements eagerly anticipated by the South African advertising sector, Bizcommunity went behind the organisation, ranking and processes.

    Who is the Creative Circle?

    Neo Mashigo: The Creative Circle is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting creativity as a business resource and maintaining high levels of creativity in the South African Advertising industry and provides input into the ACA (Association for Communication & Advertising) and The Loerie Awards.

    What does the Creative Circle do?

    Neo Mashigo: One of the Creative Circle’s functions is to endorse international awards shows that will earn agency entrants rankings points. This succeeds in levelling the playing fields for different size agencies to compete by standardising the points for international awards shows - The One Show in the USA, D&AD in the UK, Cannes Lions in Europe and Loeries representing Africa and the middle East.

    Rankings are calculated on points allocated per win in each award show including Ad Of The Year. The combination of points create the Agency of the year and regional Agency of the year.

    Local rankings industry infrastructures overseen by the Creative Circle include:

    The Loeries: The Creative Circle writes the entry criteria, rules of judging, training and recommendations for judges for the Loerie Awards. This is done together with The Loeries board. The Jury Presidents are made up of International Judges and other judges are selected from the Creative Circle Members and industry leaders from Africa and the Middle East.

    Ad of the Month: The Creative Circle’s Ad of the Month judging panel selects the best ads from ad agency submissions to award the best work for the month in each category comprising of first, second and third place.

    Ad of the Month judges are made up of senior advertising practitioners, with an emphasis on inclusion and diversity in recruiting up-and-coming talent from Creative Circle member agencies. This is also used as a training ground for future Loeries judges.

    Ad of the Year: The Creative Circle Ad of the Year is selected from the years’ Ad of the year winners, in designated categories:

    • Film
    • Radio & Audio
    • Print Communication
    • Out of Home
    • PR & Media
    • Digital & Interactive
    • Integrated Campaign
    • Brand Identity & Collateral Design
    • Motion Graphics & Digital Graphic Design
    • Publication Design
    • Live Communications
    • Design Communication

    What other industry impact does Creative Circle have?

    Neo Mashigo: There are various initiatives by means of which the Creative Circle serves the industry. Like any industry body, there is a continual need to educate and include more people into the ranks. Success may be measured by the large diaspora of South African creatives who participate at a high level around the world.

    Current education and outreach initiatives include:

    • Blackboard: An educational organisation backed by the Creative Circle aims to attract high school students to the industry into disciplines such as art direction, production, digital, illustration and related disciplines that feed into the advertising industry.

      The learnership programme is run for Grades 10-12 in participating schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Schools that become Blackboard members select candidates to be assessed and selected for training in desirable skills such as ideation, brainstorming, cinematography and scriptwriting as well as to attain exposure to the industry via agency visits and internships.

    • Bursary Schemes: In a joint venture by the Creative Circle, ACA, AAA School of Advertising and the SETA, bursaries are awarded to under-represented skills areas, for example, while there is no shortage of designers and art directors, the need for copywriters resulted in 20 bursaries being awarded in this discipline in 2020 and 2021.

      The organisation is also lobbying universities that already offer courses in journalism and literature such as UJ and Wits, to offer Copywriting as a subject as a more cost-effective option than private advertising college fees.

    • Open Chair: Open Chair is a mentoring programme set up primarily for women in advertising, but now also incorporating the guys as both mentors and mentees, whereby senior practitioners provide a broader understanding of the industry to aspirants via “speed dating” style format, currently being conducted online as a webinar.

    • Masterclasses: Offered by Creative Circle EXCO members, masterclass topics are chosen by leaders in the industry, for free access to advertising students who can apply to attend. Recent Masterclass topics include How to present your big idea with Nkgabiseng Motau, Platform thinking with Peter Khoury and Art is Advertising with Camilla Clerke.

      For more information or membership enquiries, go to or contact moc.seireol@igohlt.

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