DDB continues Singapore Effies decade of dominance

DDB's gold-winning campaign for DBS

DDB Singapore’s gold-winning Effie campaign for DBS

DDB’s triumph at the Singapore effectiveness awards last week – the tenth year in succession it has outgunned its competitors – has prompted a rival to question the credibility of an awards show dominated by a single agency for so long.

One agency executive, who wished to remain anonymous, told Mumbrella: “DDB are good – and consistently good – but is it fair to argue that they’re the most effective agency in Singapore every single year?”

“You have to question the credibility of an awards show that has one dominant winner over such a long period of time,” he said.

DDB Singapore president and CEO David Tang was one of founders of the Singapore Effies in 2003, bringing the original format over from New York, and his agency has consistently been one of the awards biggest supporters in terms of entry numbers. The awards’ headline sponsor is one of DDB’s biggest clients, Starhub.

DDB was given a special award this year – Most Effective Creative Agency – which recognised the company that has picked up the most Effies since the awards began.

This year, DDB won a gold for its ‘Expect the Unexpected’ campaign for DBS. It also picked up a silver for Courts and two bronzes for StarHub.

Its nearest rivals were BBH, which won two golds, BBDO, which picked up a gold and a bronze, and Ogilvy, which claimed four silvers. The full list of winners can be viewed here.

In a statement to Mumbrella, DDB spokeswoman Karen See said: “DDB has been involved with the Effies since its inception and we have always been big advocates of the award and what it stands for. Yes, we have dominated the awards, but every year it gets harder and harder – and this is a good thing for the Industry and our clients.”

“The challenge is to always produce the best creative and effective campaigns for our clients. And we have been doing this consistently – I don’t believe any other network can claim to be the most awarded agency locally, regionally, and globally – by a number of different shows – so it concerns me that someone would question the credibility of the Effie’s based on our performance.”

Others defended DDB and its status as the Singapore Effies top agency.

Josh Grace, MD of Leo Burnett Singapore and an Effies awards judge, told Mumbrella: “I am new to this market and can’t comment on the history of the award show. I was a part of the jury for Effies Singapore this year and saw first hand the quality of the overall submissions.”

“During my session, the winning entries stood out and I don’t think you can blame DDB for doing a good job. If anything, the rest of us have to up our game,” he said.

Fiona Bartholomeusz, MD of local integrated agency Formul8, added: “I think DDB is a very solid, results-focused agency and kudos to them for winning this multiple times and for having supportive clients who back them all the way.

“I think any agency who says it’s “unfair” for them to win is merely in denial and not being very gracious about it,” she said.

“Sometimes winning a competition is almost formulaic as you become very familiar with what the judges are looking for, so it does get easier if you know exactly how to sell the campaign, results and spiel. Maybe this what other agencies need to focus on rather than being sour about one agency winning it multiple times,” she said.

Bartholomeusz added that most agencies in Singapore do not have clients who are comfortable with releasing campaign performance results, which restricts entry numbers.

Some suggested that since the Asian Marketing Effectiveness awards were held recently, agencies were suffering from “awards fatigue” and did not support the show.

DDB Singapore’s win comes ten days after the Omnicom-owned network triumphed at the Hong Kong effies with its work for McDonald’s.


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