Leo Burnett Malaysia named Agency of the Year at 2020/2021 Effie Awards Malaysia

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Leo Burnett Malaysia named Agency of the Year at 2020/2021 Effie Awards Malaysia

The long-awaited 13th edition of the Malaysian Effie Awards saw Leo Burnett Malaysia named as Agency of the Year while Grab was named Brand of the Year. Showcasing campaigns that met and exceeded marketing objectives with a focus on effectiveness, the theme for this year’s Effie Awards was ‘The Pulse’.


From a total of 197 entries, 74 finalists were shortlisted, with 3 Gold, 11 Silver, and 18 Bronze awards presented to brands for their creative campaigns.

Taking the top honour for the second consecutive year, Leo Burnett Malaysia was declared “Agency of the Year”. It received a Gold award for the campaign “Mekdi, Every Malaysian’s McDonald’s” for McDonald’s.

Grab was named “Brand of the Year”, receiving a Gold award for the campaign “GrabFood Delivery Doodles”.

A Gold award was also presented to Reprise for the “Kepci Kitchen” campaign for QSR Stores Sdn Bhd.

First launched in 1968 in New York, the Effie Awards are recognised internationally by agencies and advertisers as the communications industry’s pre-eminent award for marketing effectiveness.

Irene Wong, Organising Chairperson of the Effie Awards Malaysia, said: “In the wake of Covid-19, it has been a fight for survival for individuals and businesses alike. Covid restrictions have shut down the economy, upended lives and disrupted our industry, making these Awards perhaps the furthest thing on anyone’s mind in 2020 and 2021.”

“Even so, I believe the Awards this year are more important than ever. From dealing with the health crisis to weathering the global economic downturn, the numbers and data from the creative solutions to solve business challenges in Covid-19 times are the hard evidence providing critical proof that marketing and advertising are economic growth engines. ‘The Pulse’, this year’s theme, is about celebrating advertisers and marketers who despite going through this testing time, still produce great works because they tapped into the pulse of the people, the situation, and pivoted quickly.”

The 2020/2021 Effie Awards Malaysia were judged by a panel of 50 industry leaders, led by Datin Sri Sharifah Menyalara Hussein, CEO and Founding Partner, M&C Saatchi Kuala Lumpur.

Hussein said: “It was indeed a first to conduct the entire Effies judging virtually with two rounds that were stimulating and engaging. There was a diverse group of judges who added to the range of opinions and definitely there were a lot of healthy discussions. Great cases deserve time and quality judging and I definitely think all the judges gave their time and commitment to making the process smooth and fruitful, engaging, and rich with ideas, discussion and debate.”

“Whilst it was gratifying to see an increase of 27% in the number of Agencies who made it to the finals in this year’s Effies as compared to previous years, I would like to encourage even more participation in the upcoming years so as to be able showcase and celebrate the full depth and body of work that makes our industry in Malaysia so prolific.”

Three new competition categories introduced this year were Sustained Success, for campaigns that have proven successful for more than three years; Marketing Disruptors, for campaigns where brands have changed the marketing paradigm; and Topical Marketing (Current Events), for campaigns that leverage current events such as elections, the Olympics, or a pandemic.

These additions brought the total to 24 Product & Services categories and 14 Specialty categories, with the further possibility of a Grand Effie (best in show) being awarded to one of the Gold award winners. The Grand Effie was deliberated by a special panel of 8 judges.

“This was a challenging task. It was the first time the Grand Effie would be considered in Malaysia, from a worthy list of Gold Effie winners. The jury members were aware of the weighty responsibility of the task and the opportunity to send our best to a global stage. We had a common desire to honour the true meaning of the show: to recognize ideas that work,” said Hussein.

“Winning a Gold Effie is both tough and an honour. For the Grand Effie, the standard is even higher. Ultimately the jury could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt or in majority, that these standards for the Grand Effie were met. As such, no Grand Effie was awarded this year. Nevertheless, we are immensely proud of marketers in Malaysia and confident in their world-class talents. We are truly excited about what lies ahead,” she concluded.

The Effie Awards Malaysia are organised by the 4As and supported by the Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) and Media Specialists Association (MSA), in association with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

In accordance with the prevailing Covid-19 standard operating procedures, the 2020/2021 Effie Awards Malaysia were announced virtually at 3.00pm on Friday May 28, in lieu of the customary gala dinner and awards presentation.

Leo Burnett Malaysia named Agency of the Year at 2020/2021 Effie Awards Malaysia