Opinion

Mumbrella Awards shortlist – and why we’ll miss the missing agencies

We today reveal our 2018 Mumbrella Awards shortlist. But there are a few media agencies missing. Mumbrella content director Tim Burrowes explains how we’ve dealt with the MFA boycott of local publishers.

We today publish the shortlist for this year’s Mumbrella Awards.

You’ll find it at the end of this article.

At first glance, it’s the usual list of great agencies, top brands and high-achieving media companies. Indeed, I think it may be our strongest ever mix of creative agencies, and certainly features our most competitive shortlist yet for Marketing Team of the Year.

Clemenger Melbourne, CHE Proximity, The Monkeys and Cummins & Partners are among those with the strongest showings.

And without wanting to show favouritism by revealing which I’m thinking of, I’m delighted that some of my favourite ads of the year have made it through.

It will also be fascinating to see the major youth brands of Junkee Media, Pedestrian, BuzzFeed and Vice head-to-head in the same competition for the first time.

And we’ve got our longest ever shortlist for Marketing Team of the Year, as we attempted to reduce 30 strong entries to the eight you see listed.

But if you look closely, there’s something missing.

There aren’t many media agencies.

I’ve known this would be the case for a few weeks now. So I’ve had time to think about how to deal with it. The main reason I’m writing this article is to explain our thinking.

It’s fair to say that the week back in March when we learned that the member agencies of the Media Federation Australia had agreed to boycott all domestic awards programs for 12 months was not the best.

It came as part of the backlash to a number of awards organisers perceived to have failed to deal with the issue of Atomic 212 making dubious winning claims in a number of competitions.

In all honesty, I lost some sleep. Not so much for the commercial hit we’d take – while organising awards is an important part of our commercial model, media agencies only made up about 15% of the entries last year – but because it felt unfair.

As regular readers may remember, it was Mumbrella that carried out an intensive investigation into the activities of then Atomic CEO Jason Dooris, and the many unsustainable claims he had made in various awards contests.

And last year’s Mumbrella Awards was the one contest where our juries asked the tough questions, and didn’t award Atomic anything after they heard Dooris’ answers.

Dooris did not persuade the Mumbrella jurors

The timing of the boycott – just days before the closing date for our awards – also left us with few options. With the call for entries live and the year’s criteria already published, it was too late to consider suspending the Media Agency of the Year and Media Campaign of the Year categories.

What made it hurt is that the awards are one of the things Mumbrella does of which I am most proud.

Over the years we’ve never taken the short cuts you might see elsewhere.

Expect tough questions from the Mumbrella Awards jurors

We’re the only one that judges every single category with presentations to a live jury. The judging day is a stressful, logistical nightmare as hundreds of people come and go through the Hilton. There are easier ways of making a dollar.

We’re the only ones who send our juries to see the agencies in their offices for Creative Agency of the Year and Media Agency of the Year. In previous years, that involved flying and accommodating the juries in Auckland and Melbourne.

Last year the judging cost us $43,000. If we eliminated that live presentations stage, we’d save that. But we’d also end up with a weaker process. So the Hilton will once more be heaving for our judging day on May 23.

And we’re also one of the few awards that won’t give clues ahead of time about who’s won. I’ve lost count of the number of calls I’ve had from agency bosses promising to buy extra tables if they’ve won, and insisting that the other awards will tell them in advance.

And yet, after a few days of anger and lost sleep, I woke up to the hard fact: The market is always right, and the market (or a portion of it) wasn’t going to be entering the Mumbrella Awards.

And that failure is down to us. We’d failed to communicate well enough about what sets the Mumbrella Awards apart. Which made it too easy for us to be lumped in with the rest when the MFA made its decision. We’ve also been asking ourselves whether our relationships were close enough with these media agencies, as we didn’t see this coming beforehand. That’s a lesson we’ll learn, and work on.

I suspect, by the way, that part of the decision by the MFA was also a pragmatic one. A lot of agencies are having a tough year. And if they can all save money on entering awards without a rival getting an advantage, then that’s a relatively painless saving to make.

But of course, rivals to media agencies also come from outside the MFA. So although you will see MFA members mentioned on the list below – including Havas, Bohemia, Starcom, Ikon and Mediacom – many of those featured in the media categories are not traditionally media agencies at all.

Which is going to make things interesting.

We were determined to maintain our standards. So you’ll see that the shortlist for the Media Agency of the Year category consists of two agencies. And in the spirit of full disclosure, that’s out of just two entries.

But both entries have been before the jury who chose to shortlist them in the knowledge that if they did so, a winner would be chosen. If they hadn’t been satisfied, we wouldn’t have done it.

The jury – made up of the same jurors as last year, so they know what a winner looks like – will now visit both agencies in person.

And in the Media Campaign of the Year, the shortlist features agencies you’d generally think of as creative rather than media agencies.

For media agencies facing their current existential challenge, ceding this turf may prove to be short sighted.

To those shortlisted below, good luck. If you make it on to the stage at The Star on June 28, you’ll have just been through Australia’s toughest media industry awards judging process, and you’ll deserve it.

And to the MFA members who missed out this year: You’re welcome to come back next year to try to wrestle back your territory from your creative rivals.

More details on the 2018 Mumbrella Awards and ticketing information can be found here.

And here’s that shortlist:

Official Shortlist – Mumbrella Awards 2018

1. Best Use of User Experience, sponsored by CarsGuide:

  • Bring Cinema Home – Tonic The Agency with Looper for LG Electronics
  • Camry Web Configurator – R/GA Sydney with Rotor for Toyota Motor Corporation Australia
  • DogCheck – The Works Sydney with Born Group for Masterpet
  • The Paradox of Choice – P&O Cruises with Swissworx & Sapient.Razorfish
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia

2. Mumbrella Award for Innovation, sponsored by SMH:

  • 6 Second Sale – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for Myer
  • 90 Seconds Australia
  • Palau Pledge – Host/Havas with Red Agency for Palau Legacy Project
  • Rescue Rashie – Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney with Map and Page, Scoundrel, CPR Australia, Take Heart Australia for Westpac Banking Corporation
  • theright.fit

3. Mumbrella Award for Data-Driven Marketing:

  • To Affinity & Beyond – P&O Cruises with 2Datafish & Mediacom
  • Alley for Youfoodz
  • The Billion Point Giveaway – CHE Proximity with Goodoil Films for Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Making the List – CHE Proximity with Yell Design for LEGO Australia
  • News Corp Australia for Suncorp
  • Weekly Saver – Woolworths Rewards

4. Best Use of Real-Time Marketing:

  • 6 Second Sale – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for Myer
  • Answer the Call – JCDecaux with AFL, Virgin Australia, Vizeum for AFL & Virgin Australia
  • Australia’s Most Hungover Day – CampaignLab for Go People
  • Making the List – CHE Proximity with Yell Design for LEGO Australia
  • The Race for Hungry Thirsty – The Monkeys for Parmalat
  • The Wentworth Rat – The Works Sydney with Mindshare for Foxtel

5. Best Use of Face-to-Face/Interaction Marketing Through Events, sponsored by EEAA:

  • Bring Cinema Home – Tonic The Agency with Looper for LG Electronics
  • Cadbury Christmas Experiential – XPO Brands for Cadbury
  • Down to Test – Banjo Advertising for NSW STI Programs Unit within NSW Health
  • Pixel’s Escape – Deakin University for Liminal 360
  • Project Botanicals – The Round Table Communications with Bacardi-Martini, Ogilvy PR, Present Co. & OMD for Bacardi Martini / Bombay Sapphire

6. Content Marketing Strategy of the Year:

  • The Billion Point Giveaway – CHE Proximity with Goodoil Films for Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Born This Way – Edge for Nulon
  • Said I Read You But I Lied – Emotive & Poem with M2M for Audible.com.au
  • War On Waste – ABC for War On Waste
  • Womankind – The Monkeys for Berlei

7. Marketing Technology Company of the Year:

  • HubSpot
  • Performance Horizon
  • PLAYGROUND XYZ
  • Programmatic Guaranteed & Exchange Bidding – Google for DoubleClick
  • Quantcast
  • Sinorbis

8. Promo or Experiential Agency of the Year:

  • Because Creative Experiences
  • Marc Edward Agency
  • Traffik Group
  • XPO Brands

9. Specialist Agency of the Year:

  • Alley
  • CHE Proximity
  • Emotive
  • We Are Social
  • The Works Sydney

10. Emerging Agency of the Year:

  • CampaignLab
  • Poem
  • SDWM (Sick Dog Wolf Man)
  • Usual Suspects Creative
  • VERSA

11. Production Company of the Year – TV/Film & Commercial:

  • Engine Room Productions
  • FINCH
  • Jungle Entertainment
  • Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Visual Domain

12. Pro Bono Campaign of the Year:

  • Bachelors & Bachelorettes – AIRBAG with Leo Burnett Melbourne for Australian Marriage Equality
  • The Bottom 100 – Host/Havas with Red Agency & FINCH for The Fund for Peace
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia
  • Your DreamJob – Hill+Knowlton Strategies with J Walter Thompson & Wavemaker Global for Vodafone Foundation

13. TV Ad of the Year:

  • Bachelors & Bachelorettes – AIRBAG with Leo Burnett Melbourne for Australian Marriage Equality
  • Celebrate Every Family – FINCH with Colenso BBDO
  • First Dance – TBWA\Media Arts Lab with OMD\M2M
  • Long Way – The Monkeys
  • Mini Legends – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
  • No One Deserves A Serve – Campaign Edge
  • Profit Hungry – BWM Dentsu Sydney for HCF

14. Media Campaign of the Year, sponsored by SMH:

  • The Billion Point Giveaway – CHE Proximity with Goodoil Films for Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Scorchy Integrated – BWM Dentsu Sydney for Jemena
  • SMARTWiG, Powered by The Star – Bashful with TSE for The Star Sydney
  • Until We All Belong – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne with Starcom for AirBnB

15. Ad Campaign of the Year:

  • ALDI Good Different – BMF for ALDI Australia
  • Dundee Tourism Campaign – Tourism Australia with Droga5 & UM
  • Feels Like Home – The Monkeys for Qantas
  • First Dance – TBWA\ Media Arts Lab for Apple
  • Keeping It Real – Clemenger BBDO Sydney with FINCH for Hungry Jack’s
  • Putting the ‘Roid in Android – BMF for Sportsbet
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia

16. Mumbrella Award for Insight:

  • The Child Replacement Program – Colenso BBDO for Mars NZ
  • The Passport Take-off – BWM Dentsu Sydney for Qantas
  • Reimagine Mealtime – Alley for Youfoodz
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia
  • Surrender Portal – Liquid Interactive for RSPCA Queensland
  • Womankind – The Monkeys for Berlei

17. Mumbrella Award for Bravery:

  • Australian As It Gets – The Monkeys for IAG/CGU
  • Down To Test – Banjo Advertising for NSW STI Programs Unit within NSW Health
  • Dundee Tourism Campaign – Tourism Australia with Droga5 & UM
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia
  • Until We All Belong – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for AirBnB
  • Womankind – The Monkeys for Berlei

18. Mumbrella Award for Collaboration:

  • Bachelors & Bachelorettes – AIRBAG with Leo Burnett Melbourne for Australian Marriage Equality
  • Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia
  • Until We All Belong – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne with AirBnB
  • Vector Lights – Colenso BBDO with Auckland Council, Vector, NZTA, Assembly, Franklin Rd, Mandy VFX, Content Boutique for Auckland Council in Collaboration with NZTA and Vector
  • Working Class Man – News Corp Australia with Harper Collins & Eleven Music for Jimmy Barnes
  • Your DreamJob – Hill+Knowlton Strategies with J Walter Thompson & Wavemaker Global for Vodafone Foundation

19. Sales Team of the Year:

  • Adshel
  • Junkee Media
  • Nine
  • NOVA Entertainment
  • PEDESTRIAN.TV
  • Quantcast
  • Val Morgan

20. Social Idea of the Year:

  • A Very Merry Mistake – Host / Havas with FINCH for Air New Zealand
  • Aussie News Today – Tourism Australia with Clemenger BBDO, One Green Bean & UM for Tourism Australia
  • Bachelors & Bachelorettes – AIRBAG with Leo Burnett Melbourne for Australian Marriage Equality
  • Breakpoint – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for Transport Accident Commission
  • Coolest Suit on the Planet – TBWA Sydney with Eleven for M.J. Bale
  • Gatorade ‘Bolt Rate’ – TBWA Sydney with Eleven for Gatorade
  • UnMute – Cummins&Partners for Movember

21. Media Brand of the Year:

  • BuzzFeed
  • Cricket Australia Digital
  • PEDESTRIAN.TV
  • Punkee – Junkee Media
  • Starts at 60
  • VICE Australia

22. Under-30 Achiever of the Year:

  • Grace Espinoza, Connections Strategist, Bohemia Sydney
  • Mez Homayunfard, Co-founder & Head of Partnerships, Online Marketing Gurus
  • Michael Laps, Co-Founder, Yoghurt Digital
  • Stuart Marsh, Editor, 9Finance
  • Rebecca Mason, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Google Australia
  • Sylvain Simao, Technical Director, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

23. Industry Leader of the Year:

  • Robert Galluzzo, Founder, FINCH
  • Nick Garrett, CEO, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
  • Jules Hall, CEO, The Hallway
  • Simon Joyce, Founder & CEO, Emotive
  • Richenda Vermeulen, CEO & Founder, ntegrity agency

24. Marketing Team of the Year:

  • AirBnB
  • The Australian Ballet
  • Berlei
  • HubSpot
  • Menulog
  • Optus
  • uno Home Loans
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer

25. Mumbrella Award for Culture:

  • HubSpot
  • The Monkeys
  • REA Group
  • The Royals
  • The Works Sydney

26. Independent Agency of the Year:

  • Cummins&Partners
  • The Hallway
  • The Royals
  • Social Soup
  • Special Group

27. Full Service Agency of the Year:

  • CHE Proximity
  • Cummins&Partners
  • Ikon Communications
  • The Monkeys
  • WiTH Collective

28. Media Agency of the Year:

  • CHE Proximity
  • Havas Media Australia

29. PR Agency of the Year:

  • Eleven
  • FleishmanHillard
  • History Will Be Kind
  • Poem
  • Pulse Communications (Part of Ogilvy Public Relations Australia)
  • Red Agency
  • WE Buchan

30. Creative Agency of the Year, sponsored by Facebook:

  • BMF
  • BWM Dentsu
  • CHE Proximity
  • Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
  • The Monkeys
  • R/GA Sydney
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