MMA’s Smarties Awards achieves milestone with Warc 100 and RECMA inclusion

The MMA’s annual industry awards, the Smarties, is the first South African marketing industry awards to be ranked in the Warc 100 and the Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency Industry organisations (RECMA).

This means that all Smarties Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will now be added to Warc 100’s ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies for media as well as RECMA’s global scoring of media agencies.


“Being invited by these highly respected global industry benchmarking organisations is a major milestone in our growth as the MMA. While the MMA already collaborates with Warc on the Smarties Business Impact Index (BII) methodology, we have now been included in its prestigious global Warc 100 ranking. We were delighted to be approached by RECMA in Q4 of 2023 as well, meaning that all our Smarties 2023 winning campaigns will be shared with these two marketing authorities,” says Luisa Mazinter, MMA SA chair emeritus and Smarties jury chair.

According to the MMA, they were invited into the fold because the Smarties is laser focused on assessing the impact of marketing on tangible business results.

“Entrants must demonstrate how their strategic executions impacted the bottom line or aided the business they represented in some fundamental, organisational way. We are not a creative awards programme, we recognise true marketing impact that makes a real difference to the businesses for which campaigns are conceptualised and implemented,” says Sarah Utermark, country director of the MMA SA.

The Warc Media 100 is a ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies in the marketing industry. It tracks the results of media awards programs and is the ultimate benchmarking for marketing excellence, allowing marketers to compare their performance with that of their peers.

Global visibility

RECMA’s twice-annual Diagnostics reports aim to provide a picture of the performance and long-term health of media agencies, based on scores coming from two categories. Vitality is focused on business, evaluating things like competitiveness in pitches over the last three years, balance of new business, client portfolio growth and awards. The other category is Structure, focused on internal factors such as staff in specialised roles like data, digital and content, as well as the stability of client relationships. As a ratings agency it delivers a qualitative evaluation of media agencies based on 19 criteria in 45 countries. These criteria are not financial but based on marketing, reflecting agencies’ capabilities.

Award winning Smarties campaigns – which are automatically entered into the annual MMA’s Business Impact Index (BII), developed in collaboration with Warc – will now, upon review, also be showcased on the WARC 100’s website providing those who ranked with even greater global visibility.

“Creating benchmarks for the marketing industry brings a high level of stature to the sector. Being evaluated and recognised by both the Warc 100 and RECMA is humbling. We are proud that this year’s Smarties award winners will feature within the portfolios of these two industry initiatives and be ranked or scored accordingly, alongside their global peers,” concludes Utermark.

The MMA SA Smarties was launched 10 years ago and has grown over the years to now reflect 32 categories, ranging from data insights, blockchain and NFT, social impact and UX & Design. What began as an industry body that predominantly recognised excellence in mobile, today encompasses all aspects of marketing, with a critical lens on marketing which delivers tangible business impact.

The industry has the opportunity to submit entries up to the extended deadline of 14th February, whereafter 25 pre-screened judges will start the evaluation process. The entries will be shortlisted for a final round of judging by 20 CMO level judges and three international industry leaders. Winners will be announced on 11th April 2024. The Smarties looks for clear business outcomes in the campaigns submitted, not creative execution alone, setting it apart from other industry awards.