Cannes Lions Honours VMLY&R South Africa


It’s only 10 years since VMLY&R South Africa launched as NATIVE, a small, full-service digital marketing agency, which is why Ryan McManus, Chief Creative Officer at VMLY&R South Africa, acknowledges that having taken 10th place in the Cannes Agency of the Decade awards for the Middle East and Africa region is a gratifying achievement for such a young agency.

‘This award reinforces our belief in purpose-driven work that lives in people’s lives,’ he said. ‘This is an ethos with real meaning, a practice we live and breathe every day. We actively create real connections between brands and their consumers. And it shows in the work.’ In 10 years, the agency has worked with some of the country’s, and continent’s, biggest and most influential brands, consistently winning awards for the work produced. 

McManus said, ‘Our clients are brave enough to trust us – they give us the freedom to push the work beyond the obvious and deep into the communities they serve.’ A retrospective view of some of VMLY&R South Africa’s more recent wins at Cannes shows that work with the ability to really engage the customer in a culturally relevant manner is work that wins awards.

‘We always strive to create work that is popular culture, rather than advertising – work that people choose to spend time with,’ said McManus, who believes that brands should not exist in the pre-roll before a consumer’s chosen content, but should bring consumers the entertainment they actually want to watch. VMLY&R has topped and tailed the top 10 agencies in the region, with VMLY&R Dubai taking the top spot as the number one Agency of the Decade.