Grid Worldwide wins Medium Agency of the Year for the second year in a row
Every decade or so, the advertising and communications industry goes through a period of radical change and innovation. The most recent revolution? The rise of machines, astounding advancements and generative AI (GenAI) that can spit out life-like marketing collateral (ad copy, website images, engaging videos, you name it) in a matter of minutes without any human involvement. Scary stuff.
With ease of accessibility and endless utility, it’s no surprise that 73% of marketing professionals surveyed across 16 sectors already use GenAI tools to produce content – according to a recent study conducted by Botco.ai.
‘Over time, our industry has moved away from the magic and mystery of observed facts and human intuition to being driven more by science and technology. And with this massive shift, our role as marketers is being questioned and redefined,’ says Luca Gallarelli, Group CEO of TBWA\SA and AdFocus Awards Chairperson.
This challenge and opportunity to reshape the role of the human touch in advertising is something that the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards are shining a spotlight on, with the 2023 theme of “The alchemy of AI, data and DNA: Ones and zeros, AI, the rise of machines; is the advertising industry really needed and what is its role?”.
‘For this year’s AdFocus Awards, we really wanted to celebrate the merging of the human element and science to solidify our place in the client’s world,’ explains Gallarelli.
As a leading platform for recognising agencies and individuals across the South African marketing and communication landscape, the AdFocus Awards have been around since 1990 and are unique in rewarding merit for both creativity and business acumen. And with a jury of some of the industry’s most admired and respected individuals, an incredibly rigorous judging and auditing process reveals the best of the best.
‘Our finalists this year genuinely represent the cream of the crop in our industry. What sets them apart is their determination and tenacity to meet the demands of the future – not simply content with advertising for the sake of advertising,’ comments Gallarelli.
No stranger to AdFocus wins, Grid Worldwide was awarded the coveted Medium Size Advertising Agency of the Year for a second year in a row, having first secured the title in 2022. The branding and design agency has previously received top honours in the Specialist Agency and Design Agency categories, with 10 AdFocus Awards to date.
Nathan Reddy, Chairman and Founder of Grid Worldwide, muses on the significant achievement. ‘We built Grid around meaning – creating meaning for brands, ourselves and the world. But this meaning has to evolve to retain its significance and, in turn, we have to constantly change based on the people we serve and the dynamic, chaotic world we operate in. It’s the careful blending of these elements: our relentless pursuit of meaning, adaptability, versatility and our Investment Creative™ methodology that make up our brand of magic, our alchemy.’
‘Our growth comes from being true to who we are – an organisation that solves business challenges in creative ways and builds valuable brand equity. We won’t limit the potential of our clients by trying to put limits on ourselves.’
Speaking of growth, the business has achieved an impressive compounded revenue growth of 72% over the last three years, with immense new business value. ‘We have had one of our best years ever from an awards perspective and have grown our relationships with existing clients while welcoming new ones. We consider it no small feat that our biggest accounts also happen to be our longest lasting,’ adds David Cohen, Joint CEO and Partner at Grid.
With a client stable spanning across FNB, MTN, SA Tourism, the Multichoice Group and Spur, the agency has worked with some of South Africa’s most iconic brands. Reimagining brands and relaunching businesses on a massive scale is Grid’s forte – evidenced by FNB being named the Strongest Banking Brand in the World and MTN voted as the Most Valuable South African Brand, both after brand refreshes spearheaded by Grid.
Inverroche Bee&Bee – an innovative packing solution that doubles as a bee hotel for solitary bees – is another noteworthy mention as one of the agency’s most awarded pieces both locally and internationally, including at the ADC Awards, Cannes Lions, The One Show and Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. Pernod Ricard Global will be using it as a benchmark for sustainable and conscious packaging across its global portfolio.
‘Everything we do at Grid comes down to our culture – it’s as much a part of our success as our business model and growth structures. Creating a space where people feel inspired and empowered to push the boundaries of their own minds is what we do best. And because we play in culture as a business, we encourage our clients and brands to do the same,’ explains Adam Byars, Joint CEO and Partner at Grid.
Grid’s new entertainment offering, 608 Experiences, is a testament to this. From curated experiences for the likes of FNB and MTN to inspirational agency events, 608 allows brands to play in culture and have more fun.
‘By providing a strategic platform for some of South Africa’s best creative talent to shine, 608 is redefining the entertainment space and forging its own path as a cultural zeitgeist. Our brands aren’t just on the pulse of our world – they are the pulse.’
‘When we committed to calling ourselves The Make It Mean Something Company, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We knew that the expectations from our clients, peers and ourselves would be high. But we wouldn’t have it any other way,’ concludes Reddy.