Lowe’s renaissance continues

Lowe & Partners notched up a stunning victory at the Apex Awards on July 20, topping the points table and winning a Grand Prix to underscore the  renaissance taking place at that agency. The Lowe group, which includes OIL, also outscored the powerful Ogilvy line-up of O&M Cape Town and Johannesburg, and Gloo. The APEX Awards were presented on July 20 at a glitzy awards dinner that saw the advertising and marketing community, uncharacteristically, decked out in their shiniest tuxes and gowns. The APEX Awards, hosted by ACA, celebrates performance excellence in campaigns and the night saw some well-known and some not-so-well-known winners getting rewarded.

Top of the heap, winning a Gold and Grand Prix, was the Organ Donor Foundation’s “Get me to 21” campaign by Lowe + Partners Cape Town. Let me go on record as saying that I love this campaign. It was emotional, honest and had a real and significant impact through increased organ donor sign ups. But there is a “but”. I wish the agency hadn’t entered it. Perhaps it’s just me but knowing that Jenna Lowe, the star of the campaign, died only a few months ago from complications resulting from her new lungs, makes the jubilant celebrations of a big win seem a little cynical.

The other two Golds on the night went to Castle Lite’s “Extra Cold” by Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town and FNB’s ATM Switch campaign by Gloo and Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, which last month won a Bronze at Cannes. Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg also won a Silver and a Bronze for KFC “Discover the crunch” and “Ka-ching” respectively.

Other Silvers went to House of Brave for 1Life, FoxP2 for Ster Kinekor Theatres and Oil @ Lowe+Partners Johannesburg for Merck Pharmaceutical. Bronzes went to Joe Public and Mediology for Canine Cuisine, FoxP2 for Garagista Beer Company, King James Group for Sanlam’s One Rand Man and DDB South Africa for Unilever’s Aromat.

At face-value, it seems a bit of a motley crew of winners. Other than KFC and SAB, there aren’t many big brands featured nor many of the usual suspects that you see in creative awards. Where were they? Was it a case of not having the data available to prove the effectiveness of their campaigns, or where the campaigns simply not effective? We’ll probably never know, but it was nice to see smaller clients with smaller budgets getting recognised. SamanthaKoenderman.

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