Events & Conferencing News South Africa

#Apex2017: All that glitters and only one gold

While boasting a record number of entries and finalists, the Apex Awards once again proved its high standard with no Grand Prix awarded and only one gold Apex given out at last night's 2017 Apex Awards.
(c) Romolo Tavani -
(c) Romolo Tavani -

The only gold of the night was awarded to DDB SA for their client Telkom, for the campaign 'Somebody set me free' in the Unilever Change category. The category also dished out the most metal, awarding five silvers and three bronze Apex Awards, with the other two categories only yielding a lonely silver and three bronze awards.

ChangeSilverStrongbow Fresh RemixHeineken SAM&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town
ChangeBronzeVagina VarsitySCA Hygiene Products SA - LibresseNet#work BBDO
ChangeBronzeSelling chicken without selling outNando'sM&C Saatchi Abel
ChangeSilverKGA Life 30 Year PromotionKGA LifeGeometry Global
ChangeSilverNo risk is the biggest riskJetJoe Public United
ChangeSilverSter-Kinekor Open EyesSter-KinekorFoxP2
Change SilverDoing good is good (for) businessCloverJoe Public United
ChangeBronzeMoms are thinking again about McCainMcCain SAJoe Public United
ChangeGoldSomebody Set Me FreeTelkom SADDB SA
LaunchSilverBecause. It Worked.DatsunTBWA\Hunt Lascaris Johannesburg
LaunchBronzeActing on ImpulseMondelez InternationalOgilvy & Mather Johannesburg
SustainBronzeThe Real Democratization of DSTVMultiChoice Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg
SustainBronzeSinutab clears the way to YOY double digit growthJohnson & JohnsonJ Walter Thompson Cape Town
SPECIAL AWARDS - The entry that demonstrates the most ingenious response to limited advertising or research funds
Special AwardVagina VarsityLibresseNet#work BBDO

In the Mindshare and PMG Launch Category a silver was awarded to TBWA\Hunt Lascaris for their campaign 'Because. It worked' for client Datsun, with Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg taking home the bronze for their client Mondelez International for the 'Acting on impulse' Cadbury 5Star campaign.

Ogilvy & Mather also took home their second bronze for their client Multichoice for the campaign, 'The real democratization of DSTV' in the Liberty Sustain category along with Cape Town-based agency, J Walter Thompson, which won a bronze for its client Johnson & Johnson, for the campaign 'Sinutab clears the way'.

The Unilever Change category awarded Joe Public two silver awards and one bronze, with M&C Saatchi Abel also taking home a silver and bronze. Geometry Global and FoxP2 also won silver with Net#work BBDO taking home a bronze, for its client Libresse for its 'Vagina Varsity' campaign.

This campaign also won the Kantar Millward Brown Special Award for an entry that demonstrates the most ingenious response to limited advertising or research funds.

It is also the only African campaign shortlisted for this year’s Cannes Glass Lion Award, says Kerry Hibberd, Network BBDO strategic planner. “We had so little budget for this campaign – under R1 million – so we had to think smart. We used a deep human insight and the combination of the two allowed us to punch above our weight and break the category. It is very rewarding to be recognised for this and we are really pleased for our client.”

She adds that this is the second time she's entered the Apex Awards. “It’s very difficult to win an Apex and it takes hard work, so we are thrilled about this Award.”

DDB is not no stranger to winning an Apex, having won a Grand Prix for its client FNB in 2008, but despite this, Gerhard Sagat, head of strategy, says while they always hope for good results, they know from experience never to expect to win. “It is a phenomenal feeling to be the only gold winner at the Apex, an award that is so tough to crack.”

He says you cannot cheat an Apex; the results are either there or not. The strategies must be good and they should be creative, and success comes from aligning the two. “That is the secret.”

We are also humbled by the hard work we put in with our client Telkom, he adds. “The campaign was driven by strong insights about how people felt about the category and we it capitalised on the tension in the category.”

Joe Public’s Gareth Leck was also thrilled. “We had six finalists and had three conversions, two silvers and one bronze, so we are very happy. We know how hard it is to win an Apex, but these awards are aligned to our agency purpose which is celebrating the growth of our clients. The Apex Awards are a big testimony that we are getting that right.”

Kyle Dodds, head of strategy and Catherine Boucher, account director at J Walter Thompson attribute their success, winning a bronze, to presenting consumers with an easy to understand message, with a character they could relate to, but showing the symptoms and relief in a very different way. “The campaign was humorous and played in the entire head cold space as opposed to only the sinus space. It allowed the consumer to know what the product does with key takeouts that are obvious.”

Last year the agency also won a bronze at the Awards.

Odette van der Haar ended the ceremony reiterating that the Apex Awards are a statement of credibility for agencies and clients. “We do not award awards for awards sake. The Apex Awards is not a one night affair; it is the culmination of a nine-month process. It is not easy to win an Apex and there was much debate around awarding a Grand Prix.”

The Apex Awards took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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