By Lynette Dicey


There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on advertising agencies and their clients as they navigate the new normal.

Never before has the client-agency partnership been as critical in successfully positioning brands to be relevant to consumers, agreed both the FM AdFocus outgoing jury chair, Phumi Mashigo and the incoming jury chair, Tumi Rabanye during a recent digital conversation with FM AdFocus editor, Jeremy Maggs.

As consumers look for connections, the role of communications specialists is more important than ever, said Mashigo. Rather than going dark, brands need to be spending more now in order to ensure they are top of mind. To survive, brands need to be selling more, more often. To achieve that requires being top of mind.

Rabanye agreed, adding that conversations need to be deeper and more impactful than ever. This is not the time for brands to be burying their heads in the sand particularly given the fact that this pandemic is likely to be part of our reality for the next few years. At the same time the pandemic has reiterated the need for brand purpose, and for brands to live their purpose.

The FM AdFocus Awards recognise the business of advertising and those agencies, partnerships and individuals who are particularly successful.

Discussing what constitutes a successful FM AdFocus entry, Mashigo said entries that are able to critically articulate what makes their business successful and their achievements of the past 12 months tend to do well. Their numbers tend to be accurate and they don’t try to pull the wool over juror’s eyes with ambiguous statements or claims. “Entries that tend to stand out are those that are brutally self-critical, succinct and concise,” she said.

What she is looking for in the 2020 crop of entries, revealed Rabanye, is consistency in terms of business sustainability. The new Agency Adaptability Award is an opportunity for brands and their agencies to demonstrate their response to Covid-19 and to successfully explain how they have overcome the challenges of the current environment.

Entries for the FM AdFocus Awards close on 31 August while entries for the media categories close on 24 August 2020. To enter, register on

To watch FM AdFocus LIVE discussion:

For further information on the awards process contact Danette Capper ( or mobile 0824944174. For advertising and sponsorship opportunities in the 2020 Financial Mail AdFocus publication please contact Cortney Hoyland ( or Kay Naidoo (

The big take-out: FM AdFocus entries that tend to stand out are those that are brutally self-critical, succinct and concise.

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