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Assegai Awards provide roll call of direct marketing greats

The Oscars, the Emmys, the Loeries - every industry has its annual awards ceremony to reward those who achieve excellence. These award ceremonies also light the way forward.
Assegai Awards provide roll call of direct marketing greats

Since 2007, the Assegai Awards have fulfilled this role for South Africa’s dynamic direct marketing industry. Like all awards, they provide not only a roster of the greats, but herald the arrival of the contenders.

“Successful teams receive deserved recognition at annual award ceremonies, but they also perform an even more important function by allowing new stars to announce their arrival,” notes David Dickens, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA), which hosts the Assegais.

Looking back over the 12 years that the Assegai Awards have been running, it’s clear that one agency has indeed established dominance — Ogilvy tops the list with a total of 39 awards won over the years, some in collaboration with other agencies. Hot on their heels, however, is a group of contenders ready to make the running: Joe Public Connect with 15 awards and Gorilla with 14.

Ogilvy’s Pete Case says it all comes down to the constant measuring of all their work in terms of both creativity and effectiveness. “We call this approach ‘Twin Peaks’ — as we believe our creativity has to always create a deep impact for our client’s business,” he says. “The Assegais celebrates exactly this type of ‘work that works’, so perhaps that’s why we’ve done so well there consistently. Awards are never the end goal for us, however we know that if we create standout ideas that generate above average impact, then awards will follow.”

Assegai wins are jointly celebrated by the agency and its customers, Case adds, because great work is only possible through a partnership between the two.

Total coverage

Direct marketing has been revolutionised by the advent of digital channels, and the broad spectrum of ways to reach customers or potential customers has unleashed a torrent of creativity. At the same time, it’s a cliché that the technology industry has a furious rate of change.

“It’s thus very important that an awards programme like the Assegais keeps up to date with the way the industry is mutating in line with the profound changes generated by proliferating technology and its impact on business and, particularly, on how businesses can interact with customers,” says Mr Dickens. “As a result of this, the convening committee keeps a very close eye on developments to ensure we introduce new categories or adjust existing ones as necessary.”

This year’s awards will have 40 award categories. They are: 3X; Direct Mail: Addressed and Unaddressed Campaigns; Direct Response Mass Media: TV, Print, Out-of-home and Radio; Email Marketing; Experiential Media; Face-to-Face Activations/ Field Marketing; Integrated Direct Marketing Campaign (R500 000 budget or less); Mobile Marketing: Interactive (Display, Games, (pull) Banner ad, Mobi Sites); Mobile SMS, MMS; Most Effective Use of Content; Online Campaigns: banners, micro sites, remarketing and other online campaigns; Search Marketing: SEO and PPC; Social Media (Social Media Platforms); Websites; Integrated Direct Marketing Campaign (R500 000 budget or less); Integrated Direct Marketing Campaigns; CRM Programmes; Database and Analytics Innovation; ERM: Employee Relationship Marketing; Loyalty Programmes; Art Direction; Branded Content; Innovative Solutions; Most Effective Use of Content; Use of New Technologies; UX, Interface and Navigation Design; NPO Direct Marketing; Public Benefit Direct Marketing Campaign; and Student Direct Marketing Campaign.

Special Assegai Awards also exist for certain categories. Last year’s winners were:
  • Young Direct Marketer of the Year: Clarissa Fleischer from Rogerwilco
  • Agency of the Year: Joe Public Connect
  • Brand of the Year: Black, the future of entertainment (Joe Public Connect)
  • Newcomer Award: Social CREACHAs
  • Zinthatu Award (recognises those more seasoned agencies who demonstrate continued and consistent excellence as evidenced by the quality of the work we see from them each year): Joe Public Connect and Ogilvy
  • Nkosi Award (recognises a campaign which received the highest overall rating): Levergy
Entries for the DMASA’s Assegai Awards 2019 are now open online at, and close at midnight on 23 August 2019. Follow the Assegai Awards on Facebook or on Twitter.

6 Aug 2019 11:59