The Assegai Awards, the direct marketing industry awards were hosted in Sandton on 12 November 2015 and the Explore Sideways team had much to celebrate!

What started as an initiative put forth by WESGRO to increase tourism into the winelands became an iPhone app and then a full-fledged South African winelands tourism platform. Cape Town based marketing agency, iKineo, didn’t just create a campaign to solve this problem, they created a product that was actually innovative and useful to both tourists and locals alike. Explore Sideways is now a separate entity – a fully functioning startup that is innovating both in the wine industry and the travel industry. This shows that advertising agencies need to start thinking more like solution-oriented “incubators” rather than just short-term marketers.

Debi Loftie-Eaton, managing director of the Explore Sideways incubator, iKineo, has judged the awards for many years and was invited back to the jury again this year. She attended the ceremony and noted a common thread amongst the winning campaigns. “Successful campaign strategies with positive results showed a real focus on customer engagement – customer centricity and not just channel solutions. What’s more, there’s an obvious shift away from just a conventional direct marketing approach to a more holistic, really effective choice of customer touchpoints,” she shared.

Sponsored by the DMASA (Direct Marketing Association of Southern Africa), the Assegais are described as ‘a mark of victory in direct marketing excellence’. It aims to recognise and reward result driven campaigns across creativity, strategy and return on investment.

Explore Sideways’ wins are:

  • Gold Explore Sideways: Integrated Direct marketing in the Campaigns category in the ‘Multi Channel/ Country Campaigns’ section
  • Bronze for Explore Sideways: Ecommerce category in the ‘Media’ section
  • Bronze for Explore Sideways: UX, Interface and Navigation Design category in the ‘Craft Awards’ section

Commenting on the awards overall Loftie-Eaton expressed, “The quality of entries this year was excellent and serves to raise the industry standard. We are very proud to be recognised amongst the top players and aim to continue to deliver innovative campaigns for our clients to help them unlock potential value from their customers.”