10 December 2014
Before this year ends, I wanted to make sure that I thank you – our clients, our partners and suppliers – for your continued support over the course of another demanding year.
Together, we have celebrated a number of milestones in 2014.
In a challenging commercial environment, the value you place on well informed, well-derived creativity is ever greater. And so, I’m happy to say that this year we have continued our drive for continuously improved creative leadership and collaboration across our studios. These efforts have paid off and recognized internationally, where we now rank 5th across SA agencies post Cannes 2014 with awards for Caltex, Colgate and Land Rover – and our first ever Lion in radio. Our agency’s contribution to Y&R’s global creative reputation was impressive this year too: we were a top 8 contributor to Y&R’s global tally of Cannes Lions (that’s out of 192 offices) and a top 3 contributor to EMEA’s regional tally of Lions (that’s out of 43 offices).
At the 2014 Loerie Awards, we ranked 6th where, amongst a number of impressive achievements, we received our second consecutive Ubuntu Award (Pick n Pay’s ‘Scrumptious Cookies’) and our second consecutive Antalis Creative Use Of Paper Award (Joburg Zoo). We also hold a 2nd position in D&AD this year.
Beyond delivering strong creative work, we hosted our second ‘Ad of the month’ function in Joburg and achieved a first ever finalist in AdReview’s Creative Champion Category. We’ve had Rui Alves (ECD at Y&R Johannesburg) flying the flag for us at an International Jury at Busan in Korea, Bibi Lötter (Group Creative Head at Y&R Johannesburg) at the One Show and yours truly at Adfocus 2014. And last but not least, our own Graham Lang (CCO, Y&R South Africa & Africa) was voted joint runner-up in the ‘Most Admired Creative Director’ category in the annual MarkLives! survey.
We have also strongly focused on thought leadership this year through keynote speaker invitations. Y&R has featured prominently at this years’ Marketing Indaba, Retail Indaba, Shopper Indaba and various tertiary workshops and presentations (including AAA, UJ and Boston). Our thought leadership pieces have been shared and enjoyed across 10 different platforms, two of which deserve special mention: our cover design for Brands and Branding 2014 and Labstore’s KOO Heritage campaign featuring in the Visual Brands Museum.
In 2014, we set out to extend our value proposition to our clients. There is no doubt that our design capability and delivery continues to be world-class. The graphic work we have produced for Western Cape Government along with our packaging work for E Snell are just two pieces this year that jump out. Equally, our in-store design work for Pick n Pay across Supermarkets and Hypermarkets demonstrates our drive to go beyond communication and deliver an altogether better customer experience.
In Durban, we launched a new media planning and strategy offer that has already yielded great results. And whilst our Innovation capability has remained largely nascent in 2014, our momentum on GIVA has not, culminating this year with GIVA being unveiled at The Digital Edge conference. Our focus now is to promote and accelerate adoption of this innovative CSI platform across our clients and their staff, as well as our own internal community. If you aren’t yet familiar with GIVA or haven’t signed up, please do so at https://www.giva.org.za
More recently this year, we launched Labstore SA, a socially led and data driven Shopper Marketing unit that has allowed us to deliver through-the-line solutions for our clients by way of a select team of highly experienced, senior professionals. I’m happy to inform that, in less than 4 months, Labstore SA has grown from three people and three clients to 12 people and seven clients.
As an agency, we continually strive towards better operational excellence, and 2014 has seen no let up on that. Though often ‘forgotten’ as the piece of our business puzzle that makes delivering great creativity possible in the first place, we set out to review and replace our operating systems with a much more efficient and real-time alternative which, post recent pilots, we will roll out 1 January 2015.
These efforts combined, have helped us continue to build an improved agency this year – one that is both solid yet agile in its operation, specialist yet comprehensive in its offer. These improvements have been met by some existing clients entrusting ever larger brand portfolios to us – like Willowton Group, Adcock Ingram and Lipton – as well as a series of new business wins from new clients – like Distell, International Hotel School, Sun International, Transnet Port Terminals, Sunfoil Stadium Activation, Bel Cheese, KOO and Hugo’s.
For both your continued and recent partnership, we sincerely thank you.
And so, we expect 2015 to be another demanding year, one where our clients and partners continue to be challenged by the prevailing economic climate and where maintaining or creating a customer remains the absolute priority. We intend to continue to set the high expectations you have of us that will ensure we succeed in that priority.
In the meantime, on behalf of all us at Y&R, we wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and we look forward to engaging once more in the New Year.