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Awards: TBWA/SMP, Seven A.D., and MediaCom win big at this year’s Agency of the Year Awards

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — With the toll that the new normal had on creative industries, it definitely is about time to recognize how the advertising industry has not just survived but continued to thrive. So, it’s fitting that the field’s best of the best were lauded last September 24, 2021 at 4As Philippines’ 23rd Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards.

The list of finalists was packed with promising players that displayed excellence in the past two years, but three agencies in particular won big tonight. Winning the top prizes, Seven A.D. won the Independent Agency of the Year award and TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno (TBWA/SMP) took home the prize for Network Agency of the Year. Meanwhile, MediaCom swept all the media agency categories, including Media Agency of the Year.


With their win, TBWA/SMP continues to make AOY history as this is their 9th time receiving this award. This is the most times an agency has been awarded this honor at the AOY. Aside from their Network AOY triumph, the agency also won Activation Excellence in Creativity & Effectiveness, Best in Creative, and Best in Community Service & Industry Leadership awards.

Other contenders who vied for this top award and made it to the list of finalists were former Independent AOY winner IdeasXMachina (now part of the Hakuhodo Network), BBDO Guerrero, Wunderman Thompson, and Publicis JimenezBasic.

Moreover, this marks Seven A.D.’s sixth Independent AOY win. Their victory also includes a Best in Creative award for independent agencies.

For the Best in Management of Business awards, Propel Manila 360 and Wunderman Thompson emerged victorious for the independent agency and network agency categories respectively.

Propel also went home with the Best in Market Performance award for the independent agency category, while MullenLowe Treyna took the win for the network agency category.

Outstanding production houses who took to the spotlight last Friday were Film Pabrika and Hit Productions. The two finalists won the Production Excellence for Film and Production Excellence for Audio awards respectively.

Leo Burnett and Ogilvy & Mather took the digital stage as well with both agencies winning in multiple categories each. Leo Burnett’s haul comprised of Activation Excellence in Creativity & Innovation and Digital Excellence in Creativity & Effectiveness awards. Ogilvy & Mather, on the other hand, were awarded for the other two digital excellence categories: Digital Excellence in Innovation and Digital Agency of the Year.

Despite this being the first AOY Awards since lockdown started, the event remains relevant and crucial in recognizing the brilliance that the industry has had to offer. In fact, this year, the AOY received a record number entries of from the 29 participating agencies and production houses.

The 23rd AOY Awards came with a twist too. This year, the various sections of the awards show were introduced with musical numbers, making this year’s show a virtual musical as well. Each number was a stunning performance with high-quality production, catchy tunes, and funny and ultimately relatable lyrics about the highs and lows of what’s it like to work in the ad industry, particularly in a pandemic.

The show kicked off with 4As Philippines Chairman Melvin Mangada delivering his opening remarks. “Tonight is not just about excellence, it’s also about defiance. We’ve proven that creativity thrives despite our isolation and fear,” Mangada said.

Tats Cruz, the 23rd AOY Chairman, also spoke to recognize everyone who made the event possible and talk about the significance of this year’s event, especially after last year’s AOY was canceled due to lockdowns. “Being absent for the year, we wanted to make it different. We needed to adjust, make it more relevant, and raise the level of competition even more.”

Towards the end of the show, Cruz also announced next year’s AOY Chairman — Ronald Barreiro. “Thank you to the 4As Board for the trust in my leadership for next year’s AOY,” Barreiro said. “I commend all the people behind the industry for hanging on and powering through this crisis. I am confident that we will emerge stronger next year.”

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