Out-of-Home specialist Massiv Media and full-service media agency PHD were rated the best-of-the-best media owner and media agency respectively in this year’s MOST Awards Survey.
The MOST Awards survey, conducted between June and August 2017, rated and ranked the service performance of over 150 media owners and media agencies in South Africa.
We were very pleased that almost 600 people voted this year, which is our biggest sample size in the nine years that we have been conducting the survey. It is reassuringly indicative of its continued relevance and importance to our industry. Every year, prior to launching the survey, Wag The Dog Publishers invites influential industry stakeholders to informal group forums to review and discuss the MOST Awards methodology and listings.
This year we invested a considerable amount of time and effort on the category listings as we wanted to be sure every company was rated in the appropriate category by the appropriate people. This process resulted in quite a few changes to the lists and yielded a new category in the MOST for Media Agencies section of the survey. In recent years it has become more and more difficult to categorise some companies that have evolved into ‘hybrids’, offering both media planning as well as media sales services, and others whose brands have extended into multiple media formats. But so far, I believe that we have gotten it right.
As has been the case every year, respondents were initially asked to rank in order of importance the criteria used to measure the performance of companies being rated. This ranking data was then used to weight the criteria scores for each company. Once again, the criteria rankings this year confirmed that any company wishing to be ranked in the top of its category had to get the basics right. For media owners, the basics were “in-depth knowledge of the brands that they represent” and “sales service delivery”.
Similarly, for media agencies the most important performance criteria were “knowledge of client brands” and “knowledge of media” respectively. Once you have the basics right, you have to get the ‘softer’ issues right too, We have seen time and time again that criteria such as ‘communication’, ‘involvement’, ‘innovation’ and ‘professionalism’ are what separates the men from the boys. The bottom line is that you must not fail at even one of the criteria if you want to win.
The importance rankings of the rating criteria for media owners and media agencies in 2017 were:
MOST Awards for Media Owners
In 2017 over 300 people participated in the MOST for media owners section of the survey, which is the largest sample collected since the first survey was conducted in 2009. It included respondents from large, medium and small sized agencies operating predominantly from the metropolitan areas of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. As has been the case since the inception of the MOST Awards Survey, the profile of respondents in the media owners section was skewed to experienced practitioners working at media agencies.
To derive the overall MOST score for a media owner, the media owner’s six individual criteria scores were averaged, then weighted by the six criteria ranking scores respectively and finally averaged to yield a single score out of 10. Once respondents had finished voting for media owners in a particular category, they were routed to a question in the survey asking them to select the media owner in the category that they rated as the best overall in that category. These ‘best in category’ votes were not included in the calculation of the overall MOST score for each media owner, but rather used as a tie-breaker in instances where the overall MOST scores between media owners were numerically so similar that they were statistically ‘tied’.
Television Category 2017
The winner in the Television category in 2017 was e.tv, which achieved an impressive overall score of 7.40 and 51 ‘best in category’ votes. Ranked second in the Television category in 2016, e.tv last won the Television category in 2010.
The e.tv team was particularly highly rated for its ‘sales service delivery’, achieving an average score of 8.2 for this criterion. A respondent said of the team: “They are quick to turn things around, they are open to ideas and implement new things at a reasonable cost. They are innovative and always assist where they can – not scared of hard work!” Another had good things to say about the e.tv team in Cape Town: “e.tv has a great sales team in Cape Town. They are always available, nothing is too much for them, they revert timelessly. e.tv as a channel is going well and they clearly know what their viewers want.”
Second spot in the Television category in 2017 went to DStv Media Sales. While this is a very good achievement, given its previous MOST Awards results (overall MOST Awards winner in 2011 and 2016 and five times category winner since 2009), the team is likely to be disappointed at this year’s result. DStv Media Sales remains a formidable and highly rated sales team in the industry. One MOST Awards voter validated this notion by commenting, “DStv Media Sales delivers across a wide variety of criteria from service delivery, knowing and loving their own brands and attempting to our understand the brands so they can tailor-make and submit ad-hoc proposals for consideration.”
Another said: “Year in and year out they are consistent in their commitment and delivery of service and innovation.” And a third said: “They are the most innovative, have the best products, and are continually educating my team. Great all-round service!” With 92 best-in-category votes in 2017, there is little doubt that the DStv Media Sales team will fight back hard to regain the top spot in 2018.
Third place in the Television category went to The Home Channel, BDTV and Ignition sales team. The team was described by a voter as, “A nimble, smaller team that is most responsive to clients’ needs.” As a relatively smaller media owner in the Television category, the Home Channel sales team has done well to compete against its bigger competitors.
Cinema Category 2017
With only two media owners in the Cinema category, the competition for the top spot was always going to be fierce. This proved to be the case again in 2017 where the winner was the Cinemark media sales team, beating Cinevation Popcorn into second position.
The Cinemark team is a perennial high achiever in the MOST Awards survey, winning its category on four previous occasions. This year, the team was rated best in its category by 42 voters. This is what some had to say about the team:
- “They are involved in my business and are always keen to show off new technology. They are excited about their brand.”
- “Their service delivery is exceptional, innovative and really understand what a client needs out of a campaign.”
- “We have a good sales rep who has been on our business for a while. She understands the brief and turns up with solutions quickly. She goes the extra mile for our agency and keeps us continuously informed on what’s going on in Cinema.”
Cinevation Popcorn was placed second in the Cinema category this year. One voter had to say about the team, “Cinevation has an outstanding work ethic, a deep understanding of the media landscape and not only their specialised medium. The cumulative knowledge held within the company is invaluable and the value of which comes through in all proposals and concepts put forward. They are an absolute pleasure to work with.”
While Cinevation Popcorn is likely to be very disappointed as this year’s result, the highly competitive team should take comfort from the fact that it is certainly not a one-horse race in the category. One respondent summed this up neatly by saying: “It’s really a toss-up for me; you don’t give me the option to say both. So, if I must choose one, then Cinemark, but only by a hair’s breadth!”
Radio Category 2017
The winner of the radio category in 2017 is Mediamark, just pipping the Media Connection into second spot. Third in the category was Primedia Broadcasting.
The Mediamark team has an enviable record in the MOST Awards, winning its category on no less than seven occasions since 2009. The Mediamark team’s success can, to a significant extent, be attributed to its strong and consistent sales leadership and to its capable and energised sales executives. Respondents said:
- “They have a low staff turnover, strong leadership and know the market and their products well. Excellent customer service and educate the industry.”
- “They are the most innovative group; they understand my business and if they don’t understand they make a point to set up a meeting with me. Very often they bring ideas to the table even when I haven’t asked. And when I do ask they are one of the few to get back to me in time.”
- “They give very good service. The creative campaigns that they propose for our clients are always very innovative. They bend over backwards to meet the needs of our clients in creative campaigns. The service from our sales rep is outstanding!”
Mediamark achieved particularly high scores for the criterion ‘administration service delivery’, which is a very important and potentially differentiating factor between companies.
Second place in the Radio category this year was The Media Connection team, which moved up two places from last year’s rankings. It is notable this relatively small team that represents many community radio stations in the market has been able to compete at the highest level. The team achieved particularly high scores for the criteria ‘sales service delivery, innovation and involvement’. Very often with ‘smaller’ media owner teams it is the passion and energy displayed by the sales representatives that stands out. This was clearly the case with the Media Connection team. “Their knowledge of this industry, their brands and competitors is impressive. The most important factor is their attitude – nothing is too much trouble and they try to find solutions to every problem. I love working with Media Connection!”
Primedia Broadcasting secured the third spot in the Radio category. The Primedia team has also performed well in the MOST Awards in the past, winning its category in 2014 and being second in 2016. As with most categories where there are strong competitors vying for the top positions, there was little separating the Primedia team from this year’s winner. The team was rated strongly against the criteria ‘knowledge of client brands, innovation and administration service delivery’. The Primedia Broadcasting team also collected 57 best-in-category votes. One respondent commented, “They know a lot about their clients; they are very involved with all of their clients and are innovative with their experiential executions”. Another said the team has, “proven to be great at building long-term and fruitful relationships with their clients. Their strategy aims at having a strong understanding of the brands that they work with and they really want brand owners to be happy with the results they see. Additionally, they always show flexibility and strive to review plans whenever requested by their clients”.
Out-of-Home Category 2017
The Out-of-Home category, which arguably has been one of the most competitive categories in the MOST Awards, revealed two companies in the top positions for the first time. The Massiv Media team was ranked as the best in the category in 2017, while the Relativ Media team was placed second. The Relativ Media team has clearly made an impact in the industry, coming from ‘nowhere’ to a very strong second position in the Out-of-Home category. The Relativ Media team scored particularly well against the criteria sales service delivery, innovation and involvement’.
The Massiv Media team has clearly maintained its positive momentum from the 2016 MOST Awards where it was the winner of the Lamb Award category. Notably, had the Massiv Media team collected the minimum number of votes to qualify (it was one vote short of the 30 required), it would have won its category in 2016 as well. Massiv Media was scored very highly against all of the MOST Awards performance criteria, and was especially strong against ‘sales service delivery’ where it achieved the highest average score out of all media owners across all categories. A respondent summed this up neatly with, “Brilliant service! A great company with an understanding of what their clients’ needs are.” Another said, “The Massiv team is flexible, negotiable, innovative, entrepreneurial and an absolute pleasure to work with!”
Last year’s Out-of-Home category winner, Primedia Outdoor, again delivered a good result in 2017. The team also collected 29 best-in-category votes, more than any other media owner listed in the category. Many voters scored Primedia Outdoor very highly against ‘knowledge of client brands and involvement’. This was supported by the following comments from people who participated in the survey:
- “They consistently try to motivate for the medium itself, not just to hard sell their own inventories. They are happy to partner with agencies and to share information. And they are trying to drive innovation.”
- “Always willing to share research and insights from marketing team. Happy to collaborate on proposals and not just send the available sites.”
- “Always goes the extra mile, proactive, thinks through a proposal, does the right thing. Always.”
Digital Category 2017
Digital media has experienced vigorous change with numerous new entrants and companies exiting the category in recent years. In addition, some media brands traditionally classified as ‘mainstream’ in the past, have broadened their propositions to Digital, thereby blurring the lines. Notwithstanding this, the winner of the Digital category in 2017 was the pure-bred Digital player, Google Inc.
The Google Inc. team is a first-time winner in the MOST Awards, moving up from its second position in 2016. Impressively, of the 65 people who rated the Google Inc. team, over half (51%) also rated the team the best in its category. In addition to achieving a very high score against the criterion ‘knowledge of own brands’ the Google Inc. team achieved the highest criterion score amongst all media owners for the criterion ‘administration service delivery’, delivering a good reminder to media owners of the critical importance of having a strong, efficient administrative support function within their businesses.
One voter described the Google Inc. team as, “Google are the most innovative and involved in the category. They add a lot of value to agency and client, and are always willing to help out. Google constantly improves on their services and upskills members of the agency. They are a great partner from pitch through to execution.” Another said, “They are the biggest media owner in the world, but work daily with my team on even the smallest campaigns. They work with us to provide amazing campaigns for all my clients. Amazing client service and best team in media!”
A media owner that has maintained its relevance in the very dynamic Digital category is The SpaceStation. The SpaceStation has proven its class by winning its category in the MOST Awards on five previous occasions and winning the overall MOST Award in 2013. So, its second spot (on a tie-break) in this year’s MOST Awards should not come as a surprise. This is what some of the voters had to say:
- “They are far ahead of most publishers in that they are able to accommodate pretty much most of what we need. Their service is speedy and their technical knowledge of the digital medium is streets ahead of most media houses.”
- “They remain innovative in an ever-growing digital environment, and have done well to keep their platforms desirable to media buyers.”
- “They’re agile, innovative and have the best admin team whose turnaround is almost immediate.”
While Mediamark Digital was placed second in its category in 2014 and 2015, it dropped outside of the top three positions in 2016. This year it made a strong return by being ranked third (on a tie-break) in the Digital category. A voter described the Mediamark Digital team as, “It is always a pleasure to deal with Mediamark Digital, they are very knowledgeable partners and work with us to put forth world class strategies. They are also very innovative and first to market with products.”
Newspapers Category 2017
Companies within the Newspapers category have traditionally been strong performers in the MOST Awards with AVUSA Media winning the overall award in 2009, NAB Caxton winning the overall award in 2010 and Times Media Group [now known as Tiso Blackstar] winning the overall award in 2014 and 2015. While the overall winner of the MOST Award in 2017 did not come from the Newspapers category, the top performers in the category this year nevertheless ranked high up in the overall placings.
The winner of the Newspapers category in 2017 was the Ads24 team, which also received 67 best-in-category votes. This is an impressive achievement considering that the team was ranked fifth in 2014. The team achieved very high scores across all six of the rating criteria and impressively achieved the best criteria score amongst all media owners against the criteria ‘knowledge of client brands’ and ‘innovation’. These comments from respondents applaud a job well done by the Ads24 team:
- “Ads24 constantly innovates through linking print and digital for 360 campaigns. They are also one of the media owners championing innovation in content marketing. Their workshops add a lot of value and they are forward thinking in their approach. Their responses to briefs and spontaneous proposals have great insight into the brand itself and the brand’s target audience.”
- “Ads24 own the space of providing new solutions across Social, Press and Digital. Their sales reps are efficient and they always go the extra mile for their clients. Recent roadshows have also been more innovative than previous years, which shows that they understand their clients’ needs.”
- “Working with Ads24 is a dream! The involvement of their staff on my campaigns whenever I book with them is amazing. I get my stuff on time, and occasionally if client pulls out at the last minute, they are happy to assist where it is humanly possible.”
- “They are the best! Simple.”
The second position in the 2017 MOST Awards Newspapers category went to the sales team at Times Media Limited (now the Tiso Blackstar Group). The team was recognised for its overall strong service delivery to clients. One voter commented: “Great team to work with. Very knowledgeable on their products and fantastic turnaround times.” Another said, “Times Media are ready and willing to go the extra mile. Their service delivery is very high and they actually care about their clients.”
The Independent Media Group was ranked third in the Newspapers category, maintaining its 2016 position. The Independent Media team achieved the highest criteria score of any media owner for the criterion ‘Involvement’. One respondent said, “We’ve managed to do some very exciting work with them this past year. They were willing to accommodate and to take risk.” Another said: “They always give fast and accurate service. They are friendly and a pleasure to work with!”
Magazines Category 2017
The top media owner position in the Magazines category was contested by two media owners separated only by a statistical analysis to check the significance of the variance between their overall MOST scores.
The Ndalo Media team is no stranger to top positions in the Magazines category, having won the category in 2013 and being placed in the top three on five occasions. In 2017, it did well to improve its previous year’s fourth placed ranking to number one, ahead of Media24 Lifestyle and Caxton Magazines respectively. The team achieved high rating scores for ‘knowledge of client brands’ and ‘innovation’ and one voter had the following to say: “Everything they do is well researched and produced.” As a relatively small team, it is evident that Ndalo Media punches well above its weight.
Last year’s category winner, Media24 Lifestyle, maintained its high sales service standards by placing second this year. The team also collected 39 best-in-category votes. Judging by the following comments, one can appreciate how close Media24 Lifestyle came to winning again this year:
- “Media24 makes it easy for one to be a media planner. They are very efficient, from their rate cards to their turnaround time. Amazing reps!”
- “Very visible in the agency; interested in our clients’ business needs; proactive; speedy service, and a pleasure to work with.”
- “Always available; innovative ideas; check in all the time; share info/proposals; communicate effectively.”
- “Relevant proposals; a willingness to look outside the box and the provision of useful, broader magazine information to help persuade clients.”
Caxton Magazines has earned its place in the select group of perennial top performers in the MOST Awards, this year ranking third in its category. The Caxton Magazines team has been placed second in the Magazines category on five previous occasions and the winner in 2014 and 2015, an incredible achievement. This respondent neatly sums up how the Caxton Magazines team is perceived in the industry: “They offer solutions to suit your objectives and your budget. They are innovative in all that they do and are willing to try something new. Their feedback times are very impressive and their sales team are the cream of the crop.”
Lamb Award (Media Owners) 2017
The winner and runner-up for the Lamb Award for media owners in 2017 were Spark Media and Condé Nast Magazines respectively.
The Spark Media team was recognised for its performance in the Digital category specifically. “They consistently provide good service. They are prompt to revert to queries and provide added value wherever possible for my clients,” a respondent said. Condé Nast Magazines is not a stranger to the top positions in the MOST Awards, having won the Magazines category in 2010.
Media Owners Africa Category 2017
The Media Owners Africa category is aimed at recognising service excellence in selling media in African markets outside of South Africa. To be eligible for the award, a media owner’s head office must be based in South Africa. This year, owing to the niched nature of the category, a minimum qualifying criterion of 15 votes was set.
The strong winner of the category in 2017 was Alliance Media that collected an impressive 27 votes, 17 of which were best-in-category votes. Second in the category was last year’s winner, JCDecaux, showing strong consistent performance.
The Alliance Media team impressed many voters, achieving particularly high scores for ‘knowledge of own brands’ and ‘sales service delivery’. This is what some people had to say about the Alliance Media team:
- “A real example of a true Pan African media partner! Excellent service, great understanding of our needs and constantly finding innovative solutions.”
- “Alliance Media always assist with any query you have in any country. They accommodate tight budgets and quick turnaround in multiple markets. If there is anything you need to know about your client’s brands and competitor brands, they will go the extra mile to get the information. They have offices in each market and eager to take client on site tours when we visit the markets.”
- “The simple fact that the CEO and MD are hands on and always directly involved in the day to day running of the business. It enables us to work directly with the decision makers thus allowing innovation and high-level client service!”
Media Sales Consultants Category 2017
The Media Sales Consultants category had only one qualifier in 2016, but grew phenomenally in 2017 to six qualifiers and 17 companies listed in the survey. This category is one to watch.
The winner of the media sales consultants category in 2017 was the team from MMAP, which also won the category in 2016, an excellent achievement. Second place in the category went to Mark 1 Media and the third spot went to Red Cherry Media.
The MMAP team, operating in the Out-of-Home space, achieved impressively high scores across all of the rating criteria, but especially against the ‘knowledge of own brands’, ‘service delivery’ and ‘knowledge of client brands’ criteria. The MMAP team received 17 best-in-category votes. This is what some people had to say:
- “An objective, focused and impartial approach to providing the best outdoor solution. An agnostic view that is routed in delivering the best results against campaign and client business objectives. They do not sell inventory, they sell innovations.”
- “The most efficient media people to work with. Always reliable and excellent service delivery.”
- “They offer 360 degrees service. Once you have given them a brief they give you everything you need and more.”
The Mark1 Media team is clearly strong, having won the Digital Media category in 2016. Now in the media sales consultants category, it is likely to be a strong contender in future years. One voter described the team as: “My rep actively seeks me out to ask if I need anything as opposed to the other way around. This shows that the relationship is dynamic and that Mark1 value their clients as business partners and not just another business lead opportunity to meet their sales targets.”
Another said, “The Mark 1 team have a passion for the industry, an innate knowledge of the landscape and an incredible willingness to always assist, regardless of whether or not the queries are related to work with which they are a part of. The team is truly committed to building the Industry through whatever means they have access to.”
Moving from the Television category to the media sales consultants category has arguably allowed respondents to rate Red Cherry Media in a more appropriate context. It is good to see the Red Cherry team that has been around for a long time, competing at the highest level of service excellence. The team collected an impressive 18 best-in-category votes and had positive comments from voters:
- “Red Cherry are a very innovative company and are constantly changing and striving to be relevant all the time. They have become a one stop shop where you can get a full turn key solution. Their service is outstanding.”
- “Red Cherry walks the extra mile; good media planning; extra services like lead tracking. Really good service.”
MOST Award for Media Owners 2017: ‘The Best-of-the-Best’
The number of tie-breaks in the top-20 MOST Awards for Media Owners 2017 ranking is indicative of the competitiveness of the top performers in the industry. Where two media owners’ final MOST scores were too close to be statistically different i.e. they were statistically ‘tied’, the best-in-category votes were utilised to break the tie. To do this, the best-in-category votes as a proportion of a company’s total votes was calculated to yield a best-in-category percentage (%). The best-in-company percentages for the two ‘tied’ companies were then compared to find the winner.
In 2017, the overall winner of the MOST Award for Media Owners was Massiv Media. As a relatively small sales team in the industry, this is a massive achievement. A voter summed up the team by saying, “They help me with my business which is completely above and beyond the selling of media space. They are also innovative (launch of Massiv Metro) and exceptionally knowledgeable about the LSM B segment. In addition, they also include research as part of the package and are never shy to increase the value of a campaign.”
The Ads24 team can justifiably be proud of its second overall position in 2017. Here is what a voter had to say, “The Ads24 team is diverse and ever-growing. Their wealth of knowledge has not hindered them from learning more about the Industry and passing it onto the client in an effort to further empower our own business growth. Their commitment to building the relationship adds a very human feel to the professional partnership. Their senior team members are transparent and self-critical which goes a long way in ensuring the relationship is a mutually beneficial one. I enjoy collaborating with the Ads24 team and driving innovative ground-breaking and life changing campaigns to the market that we both serve.”
Third spot overall in the MOST for Media Owners overall ranking went to team Cinemark. This player in the Cinema category has repeatedly featured in the top overall ranking in recent years, showing that a consistent approach to delivering sales service excellence is noticed and valued by its clients.
MOST Awards for Media Agencies
In 2017, a sample of over 230 media owner respondents participated in the MOST Awards for Media Agencies survey, which is the largest sample collected since the inception of the Media Agencies survey in 2010. The sample, which was reliable to within a 5% margin of error at the 95% confidence interval level, was sufficiently representative of the South African media owner universe actively involved in the selling of media space to media agencies. The methodology and survey results were audited by an independent market research and analytics expert at the University of Pretoria.
As in previous years, the MOST Awards for Media Agencies was split into categories according to their classification. An outcome from the industry forum that reviewed and discussed the MOST Awards methodology for 2017 was the introduction of two new media agency classifications and categories, namely Traditional Specialist Agencies and Category Specialist Agencies respectively. With the introduction of these categories, the MOST Award for Media Agencies survey comprised four categories in 2017.
- Traditional specialist agencies
- Category specialist agencies
- Full-service agencies
- Media agencies Africa
The Traditional Specialist Agencies category created was for media agencies that provide either their own in-house media planning or media buying services for more than one media type. “Category Specialist Agencies” were defined as companies that provide in-house media planning and/or media buying services for one media type only e.g. Digital or Out-of-Home. Full-service Agencies were defined as companies that provide in-house media planning and media buying services across multiple media types. “Media Agencies Africa” were defined as South African based media agencies that provide in-house media planning and/or media buying services in African markets outside of South Africa.
Traditional Specialist Agencies 2017
There were six Agencies listed in this category in 2017, two of which collected the required 30 votes to qualify for the MOST Award. The winner of what is expected to be a hotly contested category in future was Alphabet Soup which pipped Mediology into second place!
The Alphabet Soup team was rated highly across all six performance criteria and especially well against the criteria ‘knowledge of client brands’, ‘knowledge of media’ and ‘communication’. This is what some media owner voters had to say about the team:
- “This agency is just so current. Their communication skills are what makes them stand out. They are always available to meet, they are passionate about the Industry and always up to date with current changes and developments. They are a small agency but have big hearts. Their annual book drive has grown and seeing them give back to the community with this CSI project, is amazing. Visiting this agency is like visiting family. I hope they win.”
- “I enjoy our partnership with Alphabet Soup. They understand our strengths, which always makes for good conceptualization of strategy which spills over to planning. But it is definitely the communication and constant respect between us that drives our success together.”
- “The team are amazing to work with. They are hands on in all campaigns we have done so far. Their patience and willingness to understand challenges faced by media owners is most commendable. They are also open to new and innovative solutions.”
While Mediology is likely to be smarting at placing second in category this year, it may take some comfort at the very impressive number of ‘best-in-category’ votes received. Almost 75% of the people who voted for the agency also rated it as the best in the category. The winner of a category MOST Award in 2013, Mediology was described by a voter as, “The team always provides feedback on proposals; they know what their clients want and they are open and honest when talking through what would and would not work. They are open to what we present and understand the pressure that we are under. They accept our nagging and pushing with grace. Everyone gets along well with each other within the agency and there is always a very pleasant vibe in the office.” Another media owner said, “Mediology has a young team who is always looking for innovative ways to assist clients to meet their objectives. They are also open to partnership with media owners to build relationships and execute client campaigns correctly.”
Category Specialist Agencies 2017
Regrettably there were no agencies that qualified for this new category this year. However, there were two companies that collected enough votes to qualify for the Lamb Award:
Winner of the Lamb Award for Media Agencies in 2016, the Hitch Digital team, received a spectacular 24 out of 26 best-in-category votes this year. This clearly highly rated team was described by a voter as, “A team that understands digital as well as media in its full capacity. They offer a high level of service excellence, understand their clients’ brands, especially when communicating to media owners, and are highly professional in their approach overall. A pleasure to work with them.”
Another said: “It is an owner run agency and the staff turnover is low. The team have been together for years and are happy and passionate working there, which shows in everything they do. They are knowledgeable in many areas and have a deeper knowledge of their clients’ business than any other agency I have worked with. Professional, helpful, and I have a level of trust which would ensure that I go back to them time and time again.”
Posterscope, a specialist agency that has been around for some time, has consistently achieved high scores in the MOST Awards. The company has built a reputation for innovation in the out-of-home channel. One voter said: “Posterscope has had great involvement in creating exciting media opportunities and testing the market with innovative product offerings. They have also invested time in researching its platform of out-of-home media.” Another commented, “Great knowledge of the OOH medium. Always looking for new ways to target consumers in the OOH environment. Always available when you need information. Great communication and administratively strong.”
Full-service Agencies 2017
The category for “the big guns” has always been highly competitive in the MOST Awards in the past, and was again so in 2017. This year saw a first-time winner, PHD, which beat the perennial winner of the category, The MediaShop Johannesburg, into second place. Third spot in the full-service agencies category went to OMD, just pipping Vizeum Johannesburg into fourth place on a tie break.
The PHD team, which previously chose to enter the MOST Awards as separate Johannesburg and Cape Town agencies, collected 57 votes and high rating scores across all six performance criteria. The team achieved the highest average score for any agency against the categories ‘knowledge of client brands’, ‘knowledge of media’ and ‘professionalism’. Here are some comments from voters that provide deeper insight into why the agency was rated the best:
- “Outstanding knowledge of clients’ brands. Strong communication and will push on their client’s behalf for the best solution. They are knowledgeable about the industry and constantly learning. They are always professional in their dealings with us as well as with client.”
- “PHD continue to push media boundaries while always taking their clients’ needs into account. They are extremely knowledgeable about the various media and always ensure that they are up to speed with media owners’ offerings.”
- “Their commitment to write better media strategy for clients and their implementation of that said strategy has seen the rise of great work, better briefs to media owners and exciting opportunities for innovation.”
- “Staff are amazing and innovative. Great use of global tools. friendly. Accommodating. Great team work with media owners. A happy place to visit and call on!”
The MediaShop Johannesburg has won the MOST Award for full-service media agencies no fewer than six times and the overall MOST Award for Media Agencies five times since 2010. So, while many agencies would be very pleased at ranking second in their category, it is likely The MediaShop team will not be satisfied with its showing this year. The team, which received 40 best-in-category votes this year, has never been outside of the top two placings in its category, an outstanding achievement.
One voter apply summed up the MediaShop’s ability to consistently perform at the highest level: “The MediaShop believe in the value of partnerships with their media owner partners and make themselves available to new ideas at all times. The MediaShop have stood out year-in and year-out, and it has been a pleasure working with the team on all of their projects.” Another voter said, “They are consistently on top of their game and go above and beyond the call of duty for their clients’ best interests. They are fair and professional towards media owners and generally an absolute pleasure to deal with.” A third voter said: “Every brief is complete and detailed. The agency takes a lot of time to up-skill their own staff, which makes them progressive in this space. They look for the best solutions for their clients. They are also awesome people!”
OMD is another agency that has delivered consistently good results in the MOST Awards. While not yet having achieved the highest accolade, woe betide any agency that does not consider the OMD team to be a formidable competitor. A media owner voter had the following to say about the OMD team: “I have worked with OMD since the start of my advertising media career and they have been the agency that is been the most professional when it comes to communication, briefs, knowledge of media and their clients. They also open to suggestion and new ideas.” Another said: “The agency involved the media owner from the word go. The journey is joyful till the end. The OMD staff are extremely accommodating and supportive. It is an absolute pleasure dealing with OMD from reception to kitchen.”
Lamb Award (Media Agencies) 2017
The winner and runner-up for the Lamb Award for media agencies in 2017 were Vizeum Cape Town and Hitch Digital Media respectively. Posterscope was ranked third out of the agencies that qualified for the award.
Vizeum Cape Town has consistently been rated as one of the best media agencies in the MOST Awards. The Vizeum team won the Lamb Award once previously in 2012 and won its category as well as the overall MOST Award for Media Agencies in 2010 and 2014 respectively. It appears that when Vizeum Cape Town collects enough votes to qualify, it wins. Here are some voters’ perceptions of the Cape Town agency:
- “They have an incredible knowledge of media, and are highly professional in all aspects of their business. They also have a thorough knowledge of their clients’ brands and are highly accessible to media owners. They have a fantastic administrative support team, which makes dealing with all departments a pleasure.”
- “They are a pleasure to work with, always happy to meet and to try new things. They always give you a wealth of client information which makes it easier to find relevant opportunities for their clients.”
- “The whole team is driven by a desire to be the best and it shows in their attitude towards their clients, media owners and other partners.”
Media Agencies Africa Category 2017
The media agencies Africa category aims to recognise the performance of South Africa based media agencies that plan and/or buy media in other African markets. A niched category, a minimum of 15 votes were required for a company to qualify for this award in 2017, one of which did, the Omnicom Media Group Africa.
Judging by the very high proportion of best-in-category votes to total votes that Omnicom Africa received, it is evident that the agency knows its stuff in Africa. The following comments from voters speak for themselves:
- “The truth is that the Omnicom Africa team are always willing to help me when I am enquiring about any African country. They are super friendly and know both their clients’ needs and the African countries better than any other agency.”
- “Their open-door policy and receptiveness to new fresh ideas allows them to be ahead of the pack in delivering solutions in the Africa landscape for their clients. They are professional and on point! They always give you feedback and straight answers. Their knowledge of the Africa landscape and their clients makes them the No 1 go-to agency!”
- “This is a market (Africa) that not many agencies understand, but with its years of service, OMD Africa have understood the market and know what they want for their clients.”
MOST Award for Media Agencies 2017: The Best-of-the-Best
Out of the 41 media agencies listed in this year’s MOST Awards for Media Agencies survey, the one rated the ‘best-of-the-best’ was PHD! Second overall was Alphabet Soup, with The MediaShop Johannesburg third.
The PHD team can be justifiably proud of its achievement in the MOST Awards for Media Agencies this year, achieving an overall score that was significantly higher than the rest. Commenting on why she rated PHD the best-of-the-best, a voter said: “They excel in all areas of media, especially in diversifying their services and delivering true value to their clients. They make media more relevant and show their actual understanding goes beyond media.” Another said: “PHD is outstanding. It is well informed, professional, hungry for growth and hard working. This agency has the right attitude and continues to grow. It also has great leadership which passes through to all staff.” A third respondent summed PHD up succinctly by saying: “They are just simply the best!”
Proving that dynamite does indeed come in small packages, Alphabet Soup was ranked second overall. The following two comments from voters neatly sum up the sentiment towards the agency:
- “For a small agency, they have come such a long way. They have great relationships with their clients and media owners are always welcome. They are always available to see you and when they are busy, they tell you. You never feel that you are wasting their time. They have fantastic people!
- “You can feel the passion for what they do. They invest in knowledge development and they know their brands well. It is always a pleasure walking through their office.”
Finally, as the most consistent and best performer in the MOST Awards survey since its inception to date, it predicted that this year’s overall third placed agency, The MediaShop Johannesburg, will be back in the top position soon.
Brad Aigner is managing director of research house, Freshly Ground Insights. He has conducted the MOST Awards survey since its inception.