Winners of the 2019 APEX awards and the end of an era announced

The highly anticipated annual APEX events were held on the 11th July in Johannesburg, where the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) hosted the NeXt Level of Thinking Masterclass in the morning followed by the APEX Awards Ceremony in the evening. Marketing moguls and brand barons converged on The Venue at The Houghton to attend a historical day as the ACA announced that this, the 24th edition of the APEX awards would be the last.

To great fanfare, Mathe Okaba, CEO of the ACA announced that with effect from 2020 the ACA would be hosting the very first African edition of the Effie Awards – Effie South Africa. The Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry, and recognize any and all forms of marketing that contribute to a brand’s success.

The evening however belonged to the 2019 APEX winners, and what an evening of celebrating effectiveness in advertising and communications campaigns it was. 

Ogilvy South Africa and Kimberly-Clark received the top honours for 2019 with a Gold APEX and the GRAND PRIX for their ‘Making them Move to Huggies’ campaign.  A second Gold APEX on the evening also went to Ogilvy South Africa and KFC South Africa for their ‘KFC Make A Meal of It’ campaign.

Added to this, and to celebrate 24 years of campaigns that have delivered tangible and measured results, the APEX Committee resolved to award the most effective of all GRAND PRIX Awards announced over the last decade.  A Lifetime Grand Prix was awarded to 2014 APEX Grand Prix winners DDB South Africa and FNB for their ‘FNB Switch – Beating the Beep out of Beep Bank’ campaign.

APEX Categories

The APEX awards recognise communications campaigns’ performance excellence across three key categories:

 1. Launch – sponsored by Vodacom, for brands or services that are less than 12 months old with no significant history of advertising;

 2. Change – sponsored by Provantage Media Group, for new campaigns from previously advertised brands that resulted in significant short-term effects on sales and/or behaviour (short term i.e. 18 months);

3. Sustain – sponsored by Kantar, for campaigns that benefited a business by maintaining or strengthening a brand over a long period, i.e. 36 months;

Additionally, this year the jury awarded a special award, sponsored by Kantarfor an entry that demonstrated the most ingenious response to limited advertising or research funds


The 2019 APEX Award winners are:

Vodacom Launch Category
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
Toyota Rush Launch Toyota SA Motors FCB Johannesburg Bronze
Newlands Spring – Not That Newlands ABInBev King James Group Bronze
A Wedding Party of One Million, SA’s Biggest Online Wedding Showmax Showmax Internal Creative Agency Bronze
Hatching Nando’s E-Chicken Nando’s South Africa VML South Africa Bronze
Provantage Media Group Change Category
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
IndieFin “Responsible, yet Selfish” IndieFin FoxP2 Bronze
Audi Q Range Campaign Audi South Africa Ogilvy South Africa Bronze
When the Craving for Creativity’s Got You, It’s Got You Chicken Licken Joe Public United Bronze
Can One Extra Swipe be Worth a Billion Absa FCB Johannesburg Bronze
Wimpy Grill Up Fill Up 2018 Wimpy FoxP2 Bronze
Vodacom Summer Vodacom Ogilvy South Africa Bronze
Get It Back Castle Milk Stout Joe Public United Silver
Mahindra Tough Guys Mahindra South Africa Joe Public United Silver
Wimpy Summer 2018 Wimpy FoxP2 Silver
Rethink Freedom Hyundai South Africa FoxP2 Silver
Taking a Brand Stand ABInBev Ogilvy South Africa Silver
KFC Make A Meal of It KFC South Africa Ogilvy South Africa Gold
Making them Move to Huggies Kimberly-Clark Ogilvy South Africa Gold  
The Kantar Sustain Category (NO 2019 AWARD)
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
The Kantar Special Award Category
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
Newlands Spring – Not That Newlands King James Group ABInBev The entry that demonstrates the most ingenious response to limited advertising or research funds
Grand Prix 
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
Making them Move to Huggies Kimberly-Clark Ogilvy South Africa Grand Prix
Lifetime Grand Prix 
APEX Submission Name Client Name of Agency Award
FNB Switch – Beating the Beep out of Beep Bank DDB South Africa First National Bank Lifetime Grand Prix

Said Mathe Okaba, “Winning an APEX is the ultimate accolade because it is a testament to the importance of investing in advertising and communications when building a successful brand or business.  The winners and finalists were showcased as the best of breed in the profession.”

The 2019 APEX events kicked off early in the morning with the PMG NeXt Level of Thinking Masterclass at which an esteemed line-up of speakers unpacked effective marketing and advertising within the African continent in line with the 2019 APEX theme of AFRICA: The Revolution. This year’s line-up and topics included:

  • Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and CEO Brand Leadership Group: African Brands Revolt (How global brands dominate Africa and the brands that are challenging them)
  • Jane Ostler, Global Head of Media Insights Division Kantar: The Power of Connection (How marketers can develop successfully connected, multichannel campaigns that build brands and avoid the pitfalls of fragmentation)      
  • Tbo Touch, CEO Touch HD and Marketing: The Township Economy
  • Refilwe Maluleke, MD Yellowwood: Africa and the female revolution (How on the African continent businesses need to consider how prepared they are for the female revolution)
  • Stan Slap, CEO SLAP (New York Times bestselling author Stan Slap is a renowned thought leader on business culture): The Hungry and the Hunted (Stan looked at how employee and customer cultures really work and how to really cause them to brand a company)

In bidding farewell to APEX together with a warm Mzansi welcome to Effie South Africa, a special award was handed out to the individuals that have been responsible over the years for building and elevating the APEX programme to the level it has reached today.  Seven individuals were thanked for the tireless effort, passion and energy put into the awards programme over the years.  A Legend of APEX award was awarded to the following: Andy Rice, Gareth Leck, Ivan Moroke, Michael Gendel, Neil Higgs, Nina De Klerk, and Odette van der Haar.

“Without these incredibly passionate supporters of the ACA and the APEX Awards programme over the years, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to look back on over two decades of celebrating marketing and communications effectiveness in advertising in South Africa. We pay homage to them and thank them for their most valuable and effective contribution to the success of APEX,” notes Okaba.

While APEX is about effectiveness, it is also a programme which supports education, specifically within the context of the industry. It was announced at the 2019 APEX awards ceremony that 8 bursaries were being awarded to deserving students from the AAA School of Advertising.  This brings the total number of APEX bursaries awarded since the programme launched in 2010 to 88. Four bursaries were awarded to students from the AAA School’s Johannesburg campus and four to students from the Cape Town campus.

“It is with honour and privilege that we applaud the winners, finalists and bursary recipients of the 2019 APEX awards – an opportunity made possible through the investment, generosity and support from APEX key partners Provantage Media Group, and sponsors Vodacom and Kantar.  And to all our partners, sponsors and contributors over the past 24 years, thank you.

This programme reinforces and continues to bring credibility to, and confidence in, the business of advertising and communications.

Tonight, we celebrated not only the efficacy our profession delivers, but also the future bright minds that are today’s students, and tomorrow’s award winners. It may be a sad farewell to APEX, but we look forward with great excitement to celebrating our local industry alongside our global peers as we introduce the Effie South Africa programme in 2020,” concludes Okaba.