The SMARTIES recognises and celebrates brands, businesses and tech enablers that are implementing AI and other tech innovations, as well as demonstrating purpose-driven work, to measurably drive tangible business impact.  

Now in its 11th year, SMARTIES SA has gone from strength to strength, and, as the only marketing awards where business impact is weighted highest in the judging criteria, it is highly acclaimed locally and internationally, says the MMA SA.

"As a natural progression, the MMA SA will be expanding the SMARTIES' global footprint into sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in 2024, making an entrance into key markets like Kenya and Nigeria with the inaugural SSA SMARTIES, where strong innovation tech markets and a burgeoning marketing industry lead the way for the regions," says Sarah Utermark, country director of the MMA SA.  

According to the MMA SA, it has always been focussed on researching and sharing insights into the latest technology trends and tools to provide member CMOs with unique insights that can be applied back into their businesses, at pace. This respected industry body has strategically advanced along with the ever-evolving marketing landscape to be at the cutting edge of industry evolution and is the leading marketing body that supports and enables marketers to drive business impact.

The MMA SA's awards platform, the SMARTIES has evolved to embrace the latest trends in marketing, shifting its focus from mobile innovation to cutting-edge technologies like:

  • AI
  • CX, and
  • Purpose-driven Marketing.

It makes sense then that the SSA expansion will target countries like Kenya and Nigeria first — the technology and innovation hubs of the region — as they, alongside South Africa, lead the AI wave and are at the forefront of digital evolution in this region, says the MMA SA.

CEO of MMA Global Asia Pacific and global head of SMARTIES Worldwide Rohit Dadwal says, "This next chapter in the MMA SA SMARTIES has been spurred on by the success of the SMARTIES — our global awards platform — which has exceeded expectations year-on-year, and the unwavering support shown by CMOs on our South African Board who hold regional responsibilities that stretch into the sub-Saharan region."

"Our ultimate goal is to build a strong presence among key sub-Saharan countries, as we have done in South Africa. The impetus behind this expansion, is to build on the remarkable success of the SMARTIES SA since its inception in 2013, with attendance and entries growing each year," adds Dadwal.

The MMA SA SMARTIES has grown over the years to now reflect 32 categories, ranging from data insights, blockchain and NFT, to social impact and UX & Design. Confirmed categories for the SSA SMARTIES include a dedicated AI in marketing category, an Emerging Tech category and, of course, the industry awards category which includes awards for:

  • Advertiser of the Year
  • Brand of the Year
  • Publisher of the Year
  • Enabling Technology Company of the Year, and
  • Agency Network of the Year

The SMARTIES was recently invited into the ranks of the WARC 100 (the World Advertising Research Centre) and the Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency Industry organisation (RECMA) — making it the first awards platform in South Africa to achieve this coveted status, according to the MMA SA.

This means that all SMARTIES winners — including those selected from the sub-Saharan region — now compete against the best in the world and can win multiple titles of excellence by automatically being entered into the WARC 100 and RECMA rankings, as well as the MMA EMEA's BII (Business Impact Index).

Agencies from across the sub-Saharan Africa region are invited to submit their entries for the first SMARTIES sub-Saharan Africa Awards by Friday, 2 August. Early Bird entries close on Wednesday, 10 July. The GALA Awards evening takes place on Thursday, 14 November.

The MMA SA concludes that Jury Week takes place from Monday, 16 September until Friday, 20 September and the industry is invited to submit nominations for judges from across the region to join the Judging panel for the first SSA SMARTIES

To submit an entry, click here

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