Dentsu South Africa

Global leading content agency John Brown Media (JBSA) scooped nine awards at the 2021 SA Publication Forum Awards – including Best External Magazine for Old Mutual Corporate Nine Yards and Best Newspaper/Newsletter for Pick n Pay Shelf Talk.

Currently in its 20th year, the corporate publications competition rewards excellence in internal and external corporate communication.

Published by JBSA, Old Mutual Corporate (OMC) Nine Yards magazine took home six awards this year, including top honours in the Best External Magazine (B) and Best Headlines categories. It was also runner-up in the Excellence in Writing and Best Publication Design categories, and ranked in the Best Publication Cover and Best Corporate Publication categories.

Launched in November 2020, Nine Yards is the third magazine brand produced by JBSA for OMC and follows the success of an online SME campaign that ran over six weeks during South Africa’s hard lockdown. OMC wanted to provide possible solutions to small businesses’ most immediate questions, and support them by providing practical advice and guidance as quickly as possible.

Building on the campaign’s strategy to use contributors and interviewees who have first-hand experience in the small-business space, Nine Yards covers a vast range of practical topics, such as funding, marketing and wellness.

Nine Yards Magazine Cover

Old Mutual Corporate, Nine Yards magazine

One of the judges said that ‘with a good balance between narrative, informative and Q-and-A style, the writing of this publication is authentic and without pretence. It is easy to read but not overly simplified, cautious not to insult the readers’ insight. It is also clearly written by the target audience for the target audience’.

‘Based on the SME campaign’s success, we launched Nine Yards magazine to be able to continue providing entrepreneurs with advice and guidance that they can use on a day-to-day basis. The first issue was equally well-received, and I look forward to growing the brand,’ said Gugu-Lisa Zwane-Johnson, Marketing, Public Affairs and Sustainability Executive: Old Mutual Corporate

Nine Yards was not the only win for OMC and JBSA. The OMC resource hub, a dedicated B2B content hub hosted on the Old Mutual website, was voted second runner-up in the Publication Innovation category.

Best Newspaper/Newsletter was awarded to Pick n Pay’s Shelf Talk magazine as well as runner up in the Excellence in Communication category.

Currently in its 7th year, the monthly publication – in print and digital format – goes out to all Pick n Pay’s employees. The publication has to successfully speak to all four tiers of their staff complement – from senior management and head office staff, through to store management and store staff, in both the corporate and franchise divisions. It focuses on being a continued support and investment into internal communication for the company as a whole.

Pick n Pay Shelf Talk Magazine

Pick n Pay, Shelf Talk magazine

One of the judges said that it’s a ‘jam-packed publication with tons of information. Without a doubt, it focuses on employees – it is clear that the people of the organisation are important and recognised. Information varies between company and relevant current information, employee education, recognition and entertainment. With such a strong and proud legacy this publication communicates with its most important brand ambassadors. The content supports this notion very clearly. Lay-out results in easy access to information with bold visuals’.

Commenting on the success of the awards, Celeste Venter, Manager: Communications at Pick n Pay, said: ‘We are so proud of our internal staff magazine winning this award, which represents our inspirational store teams and their amazing service and stories.’

Group MD of John Brown SA, Lani Carstens added: “It is a privilege for our talented teams to collaborate with client partners who understand the importance of editorialised branded content in driving deep customer engagement. These awards are a testament to a relationship built on trust, innovation and mutual respect.”