FM AdFocus Awards Recognise Agencies For Marketing And Creative Skills

FM AdFocus Announces 2020 Winners
Tumi Rabanye, AdFocus; Tshegofatso Mnguni, Triple Eight and Jeremy Maggs, Adfocus.

On 25 November 2020, the Financial Mail (FM) AdFocus Awards 2020 crowned the winners at The Empire in Parktown. Since 1990, the awards have become a landmark on the South African marketing and communications landscape.

Despite a loss of three-quarters of their campaigns in March this year, Triple Eight still grew their business and added new clients and team members. They scooped the Agency of Year title for the second time.

FM AdFocus Awards 2020/21 chairperson, Tumi Rabanye, said that in the Specialist Category, Triple Eight stood out for its leadership in the areas of purpose and development. ‘In the Transformation Award, the agency demonstrated that transformation is a lived experience, which transcends race and Corporate social investment (CSI). The industry needs to urgently move past the BEE scorecard and live transformation where critical business decisions are made.’

‘Triple Eight’s entry stood out head and shoulders in the African Impact category, demonstrating both their purpose and the extent to which they are developmentally-led on the continent. There is no question that their time has come,’ said Rabanye.

Student Award

All three finalists were strong contenders for this award and good examples of the resilience displayed by the class of 2020. The winner, Dominic Hobbs, of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), presented an incredible portfolio. The student jury called his approach to media, and the ease with which he mixed medias and disciplines, ‘extremely exciting’.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s Lifetime Achiever and Industry Leader Awards were both unanimous decisions by the jury. Lifetime Achiever, Bernice Samuels, currently MTN CMO, boasts a career that spans large multinationals within the telecoms, broadcasting, information technology, financial services and brewing sectors and iconic and impactful campaigns. ‘Samuels is an individual for whom every jury member has the utmost respect and admiration,’ stated the jury.

Industry Leader

AdFocus Industry Leader 2020, Peter Khoury, CCO of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, is described by the jury as a man without airs and graces. ‘He is universally admired in the industry and as such, is a worthy recipient of the title Industry Leader of the Year.’


2020 Shapeshifter, Melusi Mlu Mhlungu, based in Miami, is remarkable for his bravery. While he could have settled for success locally, he has had the courage to move to new shores where he is continuing to create superb work. ‘The industry should be proud of him given the inspiration that he provides,’ said the jury.

AdFocus Awards 2020 other winners:

Small agency of the year: Rogerwilco.
Medium agency of the year: DUKE.
Large agency of the year: Joe Public (Pty) Ltd.
PR agency of the year: Eclipse Communications.
Specialised agency of the year: Triple Eight.
IAS partnership of the year: M&C Saatchi Abel and Takealot.
Adaptability award: Triple Eight.
Network media agency: The Mediashop.

Tumi Rabanye, AdFocus; Gareth Leck, Joe Public United; Khuthala Gala Holten, Joe Public Johannesburg; Mpume Ngobese, Joe Public Johannesburg, Pepe Marais, Joe Public United and Jeremy Maggs, AdFocus.
Tumi Rabanye, AdFocus; Claire Herman, The MediaShop and Andile Qokweni, The MediaShop.

The winner of the FM Creative Challenge was also announced. This year the Award went to King James for their ad ‘Black lives don’t matter’ for Blackboard Organisation. King James and The Brave Group were finalists for their client ads for Durex and Rose’s Cordial ‘SBWL Hawaii’ respectively. The Creative Challenge features run-of-paper adverts that publish in the Financial Mail during September and October.