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Award-winning Agencies join forces as the DUKE Group

Creative agency, DUKE; digital media specialist, Mark1 and PR firm, Positive Dialogue Communications have announced that they have come together as the DUKE Group. Over the past year, the three owner-managed businesses have been working together on end-to-end marketing campaigns for major brands such as Pepsi and Jive. These highly successful collaborations have organically led the three specialist agencies to formalise their relationships with the shared ambition of igniting significant growth in the both the local and global advertising industry. All three, fiercely independent, award-winning agencies with their proven track records and significant client bases will retain their own brands under the auspices of the DUKE Group.

According to Wayne Naidoo, CEO of DUKE and newly elected chairman of the Association for Communication and Advertising, this is the natural next step for the agency which has experienced explosive growth over the past five years. He said, ‘In an industry beset with negativity and implosion, we’ve emerged as a positive force. We’ve attracted a raft of great local and international brands and experienced fantastic growth. We’ve enticed some of the country’s most exciting talent to work with us under the mentorship of Mike Beukes and the guidance of our Head of Strategy, Steve Miller. Now, we have entered into a new, exciting and maturing phase by creating a formidable, full-service communication offering by partnering with Mark1 and Positive Dialogue Communications to form the DUKE Group which is one of the very few 100 per cent black owned and BBBEE Level 1 offerings in South Africa.’

Together, the three teams of the DUKE group consist of more than 60 people, most of which are senior, experienced players. The group has a footprint in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Tracy Jones, owner of Positive Dialogue Communications noted, ‘What has really brought us together as a robust, collaborative team is our shared ethos of doing the best possible work for our clients that delivers meaningful, measurable results for their brands and organisations. As independent businesses, while focused on our different core strengths, we each evolved through these radically changing times in similar ways. We are new generation communication businesses with different structures, roles, and outlooks when compared to other agencies.

We don’t see an industry that’s full of doom and gloom; we see an abundance of opportunities to do cutting-edge, results-focused work that makes a genuine difference. We could easily recognise and appreciate this agile, forward-thinking and positive “doing” in each other, and this underpins the excitement and inspiration we have for going forward together.’

Across the three agencies, there’s an impressive array of industry awards that back up these claims. Positive Dialogue is a regular winner in the annual Prism Awards, amongst others, twice taking best agency gold awards over the past five years. DUKE featured at Cannes and One Show, was a top-three small agency at AdFocus; and was ranked 3rd best small agency at the 2018 Loeries Awards. MarkLives declared them the Cape Town’s Agency to Watch in 2019, and had Wayne Naidoo (CEO) named as the runner-up for Cape Town’s Most Admired Agency Boss. Mark1 too has significant industry recognition, the latest being a big win at the 2018 IAB Bookmark awards and MMA Smarties awards for a cutting-edge virtual reality campaign for KFC.

Mark1 MD and co-owner, Daan du Toit highlighted the big benefits to clients who need seamless, on-message, omni-channel campaigns to reach consumers and deliver real-life value to them through brand engagement. ‘Combining creative, digital and new generation PR forces in one team provides the integration we all know our clients want and need to adapt successfully to changing consumer expectations and behaviours,’ he said. ‘We share a determination to operate at the highest level of customer service and exceed our customer’s expectations by strategically working with them to help them achieve their actual business and brand goals. Mark1 is delighted to join forces and be a part of the DUKE Group.’

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