Utopia Managing and Creative Partner, Carl Cardinelli, believes that being the best agency means having the best people – a hardworking, brand-loyal team who say ‘what’s the solution?’ not, ‘we have a problem’.
Cape Town’s Utopia is ranked the number one small agency in the Loeries Official Rankings, the most authoritative index of creative excellence across Africa and the Middle East, and the only creative award in the region that informs the global WARC Report (previously the Gunn Report).
‘You need to put your staff’s health and happiness above the client’s. People don’t say that enough, but creatives need to feel safe and managers need to feel the agency has their back,’ said Cardinelli.
Nedal Ahmed, the Loeries 2019 Film and Radio Jury President and speaker at the DStv Seminar of Creativity during Loeries Creative Week, agreed that advertising professionals thrive in an environment that nurtures creativity and excellence. ‘For creatives, when we are around each other, we spur on each other’s creative thinking. When we’re exposed to work that other people do, it pushes the boundaries of the way we approach our own work, it opens avenues of possibility that we may not have thought about and expands our frame of reference. And this happens not only when we work as a cohesive team, but it thrives on an arena of respectful competition such as the Loeries.’
Small agencies should not be intimidated in competitions by the presence of the global giants, but should rather see it as an opportunity to have their creativity and successes viewed on the world stage. ‘It is generally acknowledged that brand communications is an industry of inspiration,’ said Loeries CEO Andrew Human. ‘Awards offer an opportunity to show brands and fellow creatives what you’re capable of, and to help you improve your product.’
‘Used in a healthy way, awards like the Loeries are a good way to push each other and motivate each other,’ Ahmed agreed.
Human, however, pointed out that awards should not be given out just for the sake of it, nor should work be done just for awards. ‘The authority, confidence and economic validation awards can impart is one of the reasons the Loeries are judged by people who understand the industry from the inside, with industry professionals judging the work, people who know what it takes to produce great work, what is truly effective, and that results are not as black and white as ROI,’ he explained.
Cardinelli believes it is important for smaller agencies to enter and pursue awards like the Loeries because, ‘awards give clients the confidence that a smaller or younger team is as capable as the larger heavyweights. It’s also a way to benchmark and test your own quality of work.’