Beacons 2017: FCB Media and Mediacom steal the show

Last night, the almost 1,000 attendees at the Beacon Awards were treated to a surprise rebrand as PHD’s Louise Bond took to stage to announce that the CAANZ would be rebranding as the Commercial Communications Council (CCC).

Bond, who chairs the organisation previously known as CAANZ, said it was time for the industry body to reflect the evolution of the role of communications in business.

She said that the three C’s (evident in the logo designed by Special Group) serve to succinctly summarise what the organisation stands for in the current media ecosystem.

From there, Bond handed the podium back to MC Laura McGoldrick, who put in a resilient effort to shush the rowdy crowd assembled for the proceedings.

As always, there was a level of exclusivity to the Beacons, with only 16 gold and 31 silver awards distributed over the night. Suffice to say, each gong meant a lot to the teams assembled on the stage.

In a repeat of last year’s dominant performance, FCB Media was again named Media Agency of the Year and also won Best in Show for its innovative ‘Made From Remains’ campaign for New Zealand Fire Service.

Best in Show judge Anna Chitty, CEO of PHD China, had this to say about the campaign: “From the campaign objective, the driving insight, creativity in execution, business results and the degree of difficulty for delivering the entire effort, all elements were scrutinized and we are thrilled to see that the New Zealand media community is still delivering world class work. The technical expertise in the industry came through many of the entries, and the power of collaboration and integration both cross function and discipline is delivering brilliant outcomes for New Zealand clients.”

In total, FCB Media collected a haul of nine golds and seven silvers for campaigns spread across Flight Centre, Volkswagen, Inland Revenue, Maritime NZ, New Zealand Fire Service and Mitre 10.

FCB Media managing director Rufus Chuter describes it as another incredible night for the agency.

“Media Agency of the Year is a very special accolade to win again and validation of the hard work everyone’s been putting in to evolve our offering,” he says.  

“We believe in the power of integrating media, creativity, and technology, it’s been a big part of our business success and it was also reflected in the awards and categories the team won across last night which was fantastic. To have such a powerful collaboration idea win Best in Show speaks to that. I’m just so proud of the team, our clients and partners that continue to build the FCB Media story and make this place so special.”

The other big winner on the night was MediaCom, which picked up four golds for Safekids Aotearoa’s driveway safety campaign, as well as a gold and three silvers for Maori Television’s launch of Game of Bros, and a silver for KFC’s ‘Bucketheads’ campaign.

The team at MediaCom would’ve also have been pleased to see Safekids New Zealand walk away with the advertiser of the year award for its haul of awards.

“Last night was the culmination of a great period of work and momentum that we’re eager to maintain,” MediaCom managing director Nigel Douglas says.

“We did really well at the regional FOMA’s and Spikes and now the local Beacons. We’re especially pleased with the width and depth of the high-quality work across our teams, clients and the agency and we’re looking forward to continuing this in global forums at FOMA and Cannes. Special shout out to Julie Ann Hedges, a very deserving recipient of the Sandy Smith Inspiring Individual award. Nice one JAH!”

Another standout performer on the night was indie agency MBM, which won a gold and two silvers for its K Bar Experience campaign for Whittaker’s, as well as two additional silvers for Loyalty NZ and Slingshot.

The only other gold of the night went to Ogilvy & Mather Media for its already well-awarded ‘Do you care enough to be a cop?’ campaign for the New Zealand Police.

While Dentsu Aegis missed out on a gold, the agency still had good night picking up four silvers across ASB, Holden and Microsoft.

The same also goes for Zenith, which landed three silvers for Lion’s Tokyo Dry launch campaign.

While there was constant bustle at the tables throughout the evening with partisan cheers saluting each of the winners, the volume knob was turned down slightly when MediaWorks’ Samantha Hayes took to stage to announce Juli-Ann Hedges as the Sandy Smith Inspiring Individual of the Year.

As Hedges stood on stage to a standing ovation, she gave a nod to the winners who came before her, acknowledging how much this award meant to her.

She spoke about the privilege she felt in working in this industry.

“We don’t save lives, and we get to attend events [like these],” she said. “It’s important to keep some perspective.” 

She also emerged as a fierce defender of the what media agency specialists do, saying that placing an ad in the wrong channel is akin to hosting an opera singer in the local Dog’s Bollix pub.

The point being that even the best creative in the world still needs the right media strategy to ensure it’s properly appreciated.

This doubled as a nod to the local media companies that ensure media agency folk have somewhere to place ads. And last night, Adshel was confirmed as the best in the batch as it walked away with the Media Business of the Year award.

Bauer also had a good night, as it’s Media Collective was declared the sales team of the year.

As an interesting aside, the Beacons judges did not announce any winners in the social or media categories. Given the amount of budget shifting into these two channels, it’s quite disconcerting to think that the judging panels did not deem any of the entries worthy of either gold or silver.

If anything, this should give the nation’s media agencies added motivation to better use these channels over the next year. With mobile and social only set to grow in the coming years, it’s beholden on local media companies to show that they can be as strategically savvy in these channels as they are in traditional media.

Here’s the full list of winners from the night:

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