Additionally, Sanlam took the top spot as the number one brand in the country for the second time in four years.

When the King James Group was founded by Alistair King and James Barty in 1998, it was a brand and advertising business. However, according to the group, it had clients demanding more of the brand's quality in corresponding communications disciplines.

It then partnered with top specialists to found RSVP (BTL & Design), Atmosphere (PR), Hammer Live Brands (activations and experiences), Mnemonic (digital) and Society (social media).

In precedent, the King James digital offering was rebooted under a new brand name, Punk. New management was brought in, and Punk started up in 2014.

In 2015, Punk acquired the top-ranked digital agency in South Africa, Flnt + Tndr, and rebranded it to Punk Johannesburg. Punk then further added Media + Data as a separate offering by purchasing the growing media shop SOC in 2016.

In 2017, all the digital services were combined into a single brand entity – King James Digital – in an aim to allow it to develop and change at the speed of culture.

"The terms 360, through-the-line, integrated, digital or full-service are, as far as we’re concerned, redundant," says Nimay Parekh, CEO of King James Digital.

"On a broad level, our role is to create investment-worthy ideas that bring our clients' businesses closer to their customers – regardless of the channel," says Matt Ross, King James Digital founder and CCO.

King James Digital’s offering is set in four interconnected verticals. They are:
  • Communications – The creation of integrated and digital campaigns designed to be shared and make an impact on culture.
  • Service and platforms – The designing and implementing of digital products and services that help businesses digitally transform and seize new opportunities.
  • Media – The planning, executing and tracking of transparent digital media solutions.
  • Data – The collection and analysis of data, which aims to provide audience insights and the ongoing improvement of digital services and platforms.
"There are so many charlatans and snake-oil salesman taking advantage of clients’ confusion in this exponentially complex digital age. We bring the quality, certainty and calm of the King James brand to the full digital brand ecosystem," Ross adds.

An addition to the communications offering has been the promotion of Lauren Chavez to executive earned media director – a newly created role – whose purpose is to provide specific earned media insight and knowledge as well as creative and functional support to integrated campaigns.

"All of our clients love the concept of earned media. They see it as more bang for their buck – and rightly so. But critical to success is fully appreciating the many levers you need to pull to create it," says Chavez.

"We talk more of an impact on culture. To deliver the measurable impact we expect of our campaigns, I bring my 13 years of PR experience and apply it in a laser-focussed way to ensure we maximise the earned media potential of our ideas," Chavez adds.

"As an independent company, we can invest in people first, then find the work. Not the other way around. We don’t construct the airplane while the runway is being built. That’s how things go bad," Ross says.

The King James Loeries individual rankings are as follows:
  • #1 and #2 – Executive Creative Directors
  • #1 and #2 – Creative Directors
  • #1 and #2 – Copywriters
  • #1 and #2 – Art Directors
  • #1 – Strategist
  • #1 – Developer
  • #1 – User Experience
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