Weber Shandwick was named 2017 Global Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report at the annual Global SABRE Awards ceremony. Weber Shandwick is the first agency ever to sweep The Holmes Report’s Regional Agency of the Year honours in one year, already winning top recognition in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa earlier in 2017. This is the fourth time in five years the firm has received the global top agency honour. Weber Shandwick also was presented with two Global SABRE awards for outstanding client work with partners ActionAid UK and Alba Chunkuk, which were recognised among the top 40 global campaigns of the year.
“Being recognised by The Holmes Report as the leading agency in every major region of the world this year reflects the strength of our global network – the teams across our offices who passionately and consistently deliver value to our clients, who leverage strategic communications to help solve problems and who generate results,” said Andy Polansky, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick. “Congratulations to our people around the world, and to our client partners who inspire us to create some of the world’s most engaging and impactful campaigns year after year. Earlier this year, Weber Shandwick was honoured with the top ranking on The Holmes Report’s 2017 Global Creative Index, marking the second time in three years that the agency has been recognised as the industry’s leading creative firm.
Standout Client Campaigns
The firm’s work with ActionAid UK’s “#BrutalCut” campaign, which raised awareness of female genital mutilation in Kenya, was recognised by The Holmes Report among the top 10 campaigns of the year. The campaign, which has reached over 152 million people and sparked thousands of conversations online, is Weber Shandwick’s most awarded campaign of all time in EMEA, including earning two Silver Cannes Lions in 2017.
Weber Shandwick was also honoured in partnership with Alba Chunkuk, Korea’s biggest portal for part-time work, for giving a voice to marginalised and mistreated part-time workers in the country. The campaign has earned international recognition and praise, including being named Campaign of the Year at the Asia Pacific Excellence Awards and winning Silver and Bronze awards at the PR Awards Asia 2017.
The Culture Conundrum
At the The Holmes Report’s Global Public Relations Summit, which took place earlier in the day, Weber Shandwick President Gail Heimann led a discussion about the relationship between brands in culture with senior marketers Judy Berei, Excedrin Global Brand Lead, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Tracy Quan, Associate Vice President, Global Brand Communications, Royal Caribbean. The session, “The Culture Conundrum – Culture-in-Brands or Brands-in-Culture. Or both. A Meditation. And Conversation” examined the opportunities, realities and risks for brands engaging in real-time culture, and provided insight on how to navigate culture to deliver effective work and long-term value for brands and companies.
Commenting on Excedrin’s “Migraine Experience,” which used augmented reality to tackle the misconception that having a migraine is “just a bad headache,” Berei said the work was a great example of anchoring on a central point and using technology to tell the story. The campaign earned three Cannes Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Royal Caribbean has also had success integrating itself into culture, recently leveraging the summer’s solar eclipse to host Bonnie Tyler for a once-in-a lifetime “Total Eclipse of the Heart” concert live on the high seas. Quan added that when it comes to culture, it’s important for brands to think proactively and react swiftly.