Colenso declared the smartest creative agency in the world

Much has been written, said and trolled about the value of awards to creative agencies. And while the industry is still divided between those who choose to enter the slew of international competitions and those who shun them, it’s difficult to overlook how successfully Colenso BBDO has represented Kiwi creativity on the international awards circuit over the course of the last year.

And now, with an award that shows the cumulative value of all this success, the agency on College Hill has been named as the world’s smartest creative agency in new rankings released by Warc.

The Clemenger-owned agency scored 115.2 points on of the ranking system, which tracked 1,773 individual award winners across 75 different effectiveness and strategy awards schemes held around the world.

Warc has developed a complex methodology to calculate its ranking system, which assigns points based on the awards won (for example, gold, silver or bronze), then weights those points based on the competition’s rigour and prestige in the global industry.

Colenso BBDO’s tally of points saw the agency placed above UK-based AMV BBDO (on 103.4 points) and Egypt-based JWT Cairo (on 101.6 points).

The only other Kiwi agency in the top 20 was DDB, which placed 18th on 65.2 points.

There was no New Zealand contingent in the list of the most successful media agencies, which was topped by Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago. And the only Kiwi agency to ranked among the top 20 digital agencies was Colenso/Proximity, which topped the category with 96.3 points. 

Warc has also released global rankings of agency networks and holding companies. BBDO Worldwide scored 1232.9 points to become the number one agency network. Ogilvy & Mather (1164.1) was second, with DDB (743.9) third.

Omnicom Group narrowly topped the holding companies rankings, on 3520.4 points to WPP’s 3480.9. Publicis Groupe and Interpublic were third and fourth, scoring 1889.6 and 1731.2 points respectively.

Warc’s announcement of the top 20 smartest digital agencies follows on from the July release of the Warc 100, a compilation of the 100 smartest marketing campaigns released over the course of the year.

The overall list was topped by JWT Cairo’s ‘Vodafone Fakka’ campaign, but there were also four Kiwi campaigns included in the list, with Colenso landing three spots and DDB one.

The three Colenso campaigns selected by Warc were the ‘Feel Tip Top’ campaign for Tip Top, the ‘V Motion Project’ for V Energy and Beyond the Wall for Mountain Dew.

Interestingly, all these campaigns extend beyond the remit of traditional advertising by incorporating experiential elements that include consumers in the action.

During a recent interview on innovation in the creative advertising industry, Colenso’s operations director Paul Courtney told NZ Marketing that agencies were increasingly thinking beyond the campaign to create things that have greater longevity. And he says that this is by no means unique to Colenso. 

“My peers in other agencies are getting better at setting up projects for the future,” he says. “We’ve gone past creating great big white elephants for our clients, in terms of building things that are not going to be used for additional platforms in the future.”

And he says that this trend is set to continue in future campaigns that Colenso is poised to release.

“We’re building something for one of our biggest clients right now. And while it’s for a campaign now, we’re already looking at how it’s going to be used over the next two or three years, and building it with that in mind. Whereas in the past, I don’t think we would’ve done that. I think we would’ve built and just done the comms project.”

This shift in the way creative agencies approach their communications is largely attributable to the fact that a simple TVC or radio ad is no longer as effective as it once was. These days, consumers need to be given something that they are interested in and willing to share. And Colenso’s selection as the world’s smartest creative agency stands as testament to how effectively the agency has managed to engage with consumers in this way over the course of the last year. But to hold onto this title, the agency will have to continue responding to the changes in a media landscape that’s evolving faster than it ever has before.

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