The Loerie Awards are presented annually with great prestige to honour South Africa’s finest brand communications specialists in architecture, direct marketing, live events, video, digital media, design and print and radio advertising.

According to John Beale, Managing Director of the Cape Town branch of MEC Nota Bene, a leading global communications strategy, planning and buying agency, The Loeries play an important role in the media industry.

“The awards serve as a fundamental litmus test of our creative ability as agencies. Line of site of the best work for inspiration and of course a yardstick as to what should be, the winning standard.”

As an integrated media specialist with 10 years in the industry, Beale has won many accolades himself, he is a recipient of an individual Bookmark Award for Social Media Marketer of the Year for the 2012/13 period, as well as taking home to agency over 6 Bookmarks awards to date.

He says, “Awards like The Loeries drive agency and client to both want to enter and win great work.” On the flip side, he adds, “Many campaigns and client budgets are spent on Loerie work that never sees a single consumer eyeball.”

Having submitted three entries into this year’s Loeries – in the Digital and Interactive for mobile and media innovation categories – Beale believes one of the key elements needed to win in these specific categories is innovation, with a link to obvious client driven objectives.

“We have submitted joint entries with Opera Mediaworks and I think that speaks volumes for where the agency landscape is at. Innovation works when you work closely with your partners to deliver first to market winning work,” he says.

Hannes Prinsloo, Managing Partner at Opera Mediaworks Africa adds, “MEC are embracing the speed and direction of change in mobile advertising. It’s incredibly rewarding to have such an influential partner that is so motivated to join us at the edge of innovation.”

“It marks a refreshing trend away from the straight media agency buying model we have traditionally seen, towards longer term strategic cooperation that makes use of the best each organisation has to offer,” Prinsloo concludes.

Beale adds, “We need to make sure that we drive the mobile agenda in South Africa, we’re doing fantastic first to market things here, and very few folk know about it so a key element is building up that picture for the judges to see.”

When considering the outlook of the media space in South Africa, Beale believes the future of integration in South Africa is going to be abysmal if media agencies don’t learn to integrate digital into the traditional fold quickly, “Media agencies need to start thinking content first, platform and then channel.”

He continues, “I don’t think the media space is transforming quickly enough, so smaller changes will cause shifts, but due to client budgets shrinking, marketers will default to channels they know work (e.g. TV) and channels that are mainly measurable.

“This leaves Radio, Print and OOH with little to defend themselves. That said, I see a growth in community radio and smaller format digital OOH. On the digital front, video, and video content across platform will continue to transform the way we consume content, with brands acting in native content quicker, and hopefully being more on-point and contextual this year.”

In comparison with its international media counterparts, South Africa is doing very well. Beale says, “I was once again surprised at the Festival of Media Global held in Rome earlier this year that the trends being presented were not too far ahead of where we are at. Digital Terrestrial Television will elevate us to better integrate digital and traditional planning, but overall our ideas are first class.”

Beale believes the sure winners set to emerge at The Loeries this year are campaigns that resonate outside of the traditional white market, “These campaigns are getting huge coverage, and should. Multi-appeal-campaigns, that integrate through a few channels – now that’s the golden Loerie there.

“Great work should be admired and awarded not only for its beauty of idea or design, but also for the objectives met, because phenomenal campaigns do both,” he concludes.


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