Landing It in Ad Land: The Brains Behind Effective Advertising

On the Trophies

The Effie Awards celebrate excellence in marketing effectiveness. This year’s winners all have one thing in common: a desire to create work that works – meeting key objectives, inspiring positive action, changing behaviour and making a real difference.

Clear leaders have emerged, driven by instinct, insight and a healthy respect for long-term results. Ogilvy South Africa bagged a Grand Effie and a Gold for the Carling Black Label #NoExcuse Bride Armour campaign, aimed at raising awareness around intimate partner violence – an issue of profound and dire importance in South Africa. Says Ogilvy’s Chief Strategy Officer Neo Makhele: “An effective campaign not only meets objectives but exceeds them. What we wanted to do was change people’s minds, change sentiment and therefore change behaviour. When people take a campaign and put it on their timeline, it means that they are owning being part of broader societal problem but also volunteering to be part of the solution – and that is impactful for us.”

Having used data to effectively marry music and fashion for Superbalist, M&C Saatchi Abel took home two Gold Effie awards. Their Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Robert Grace, talks to the power of insight and effective creativity. “Sometimes we get so caught up in terms like big data and data analytics, but actually you really do need to apply intuition and insight – that’s where the value is. Creativity is a superpower. When harnessed correctly, understood and measured, we can show that creativity is something that businesses really need.”

Metropolitan and VMLY&R were also awarded Gold for their Eskort #ILoveEatingRussians and Hollard Big Ads for Small Business campaigns respectively. The awarding of 3 Silvers and 7 Bronze awards also acknowledged those agencies who have produced highly effective campaigns this year. Find the full list of winners here.

On the Trends

If you’re feeling moved to join the big brains behind effective advertising, here are three
marketing trends to keep in mind moving into the new year

Soothing Gen Z

There continues to be a surge of new video content, viewership and tech. Gen Z consumers are seeking out video content that transports them or resonates with them on an emotional level. Aesthetic and soothing video content, as well as familiar creators, are captivating this crucial consumer group. They are also chasing personalised platform recommendations and fan communities. And if your brand is still taking a backseat when it comes to social
commerce, it’s time to take action. Think seamless integration (particularly with Instagram and TikTok), meaningful consumer engagement and continuing to harness influencer power.

Next-level Responsible

Many consumers are paying extremely close attention to the impact of the products they
purchase, as well as the brands they choose to associate with. There’s a growing expectation for brands to do good in the world, but we’ve moved beyond simply minimising harmful practices – more and more, consumers are getting behind brands that actively support their causes and battle injustice.


Strategic marketing transformation remains a springboard for effective work. To see real results, brands need to start aligning their objectives with WHY they are doing business in the first place – that crucial ‘Why’ the springboard for strategic planning, pinning down purpose and reassessing business processes. Brands that work smart are augmenting this by prioritising data collection, streamlining customer experiences, boosting online presence and investing in content creation.