Judges announced for the IAB SA Bookmark Awards 2017

The IAB SA has announced the list of judges that will decide which contenders will scoop a coveted Bookmark Award in 2017. The team of judges, led by Jury President John Dixon, features more diverse industry players than ever before.

Josephine Buys, CEO of IAB SA says, “Our mid-year, judges workshop yielded valuable insights from the best in the business for judging the Bookmarks 2017. We have secured the time and talent of some of the brightest minds in digital and have expanded our pool of experts to include gamers, innovators and engineers.”

Judges will now fall under the categories of Marketers, Builders, Publishers, Gamers and Innovators & Engineers. A special team of judges has also been formed to award the Special Honours for 2017.

Buys adds, “The new categories have diverse teams of judges, representing agencies, corporates and niche businesses. Each judge brings their own distinctive experience and opinion, resulting in an objective final score that is representative of their field as a whole.”

John Dixon will be Jury President for 2017, bringing with him several years’ experience leading the judging of the Bookmark Awards, including extensive knowledge as board member of the Association of Communication Agencies (ACA), and participant on the Financial Mail Adfocus and Finweek AdReview jury panels.

“I am excited to lead the Bookmarks judging for 2017. Each year, the talent gets stronger and stronger, and it is fascinating to witness how the leaders in our industry are driving digital forward.”

Each category will be chaired by a leader in the industry. The Marketing Jury will be led by Gareth McPherson Executive Director at Publicis Machine, a trailblazer in the advertising industry and digital-led marketing. The Builders Jury Chair is Claire Cobbledick, Head of SA marketing for Gumtree South Africa, who merges her experience with one of the country’s biggest classifieds with extensive agency experience. Publishers Jury Chair Izak Minnaar is Editor of Digital News for SABC and brings extensive experience in broadcast and hard news. Gamers Jury Chair Johann von Backstrom is business owner at Inside Half Productions, a leader in deployment and management of gaming portals and the conceptualisation, execution and management of computer and console gaming related events. The Innovators & Engineers Jury will be led by Graham Talbot, Technical Director at multiple award winning digital agency, Gloo@Ogilvy. Finally, the Special Honours panel will be led by Miles Murphy, Owner and Managing Partner of Liquorice, one of Africa’s leading digital marketing agencies.

The first round of judging will take place remotely from 20 January to 13 February 2017, where each of the judges will enter their scores confidentially online. Then, on 24 & 25 February, all judges will meet in Johannesburg and Cape Town to debate and submit their final vote.

Entries are scored as follows:

General Criteria

  • Creativity/Innovation: 30%
  • Technical Accomplishment: 30%
  • Results Achieved: 40%

Craft Criteria

  • Quality of Work Produced: 60%
  • Technical Difficulty or Accomplishment: 40%

At this stage, judges will view the material on a screen, discuss the entry and then vote on a handheld device, allocating a percentage to the criteria above.

The system ignores the highest and lowest scores and averages out the rest.

Each entry gets a percentage, with the final scores being verified and signed off by the Jury President.

Dixon adds, “This year’s entries show terrific scope and promise. The decision on the winners for each category will undoubtedly be a tough one. This only reinforces why winning a Bookmark Award is such a defining achievement.”

The full list of judges are as follows:


  • Jury Chair:  Gareth McPherson (Publicis Machine)
  • Brian Carter (Liquorice)
  • Jason Xenopoulos (NATIVE VML )
  • Kerry Friend (FCB)
  • Melissa van Zyl (M&C Saatchi Abel)
  • Anna Vaulina (Showmax)
  • Chris Gotz (OFyt )
  • Tseliso Rangaka (Ogilvy)
  • Justin Gomes (FoxP2)
  • Carl Jordan (The Newsroom)
  • Eric van Rookhuysen (MEC Global)
  • Kabelo Moshapalo (Digital Arts Network)
  • James McKay (Mirum)
  • Felix Kessel (Leo Burnett)
  • Alistair King (KingJames)
  • Greg Banach (Greg Banach)


  • Jury Chair: Claire Cobbledick (Gumtree)
  • John Beale (Eight Thinking)
  • Antonio Petra (FCB)
  • Mzamo Masito (Vodacom)
  • Adam Brandt (Gorilla)
  • Paula Hulley (Gloo@Ogilvy)
  • Luke Jedeikin (Superbalist)
  • Jessica vd Westhuizen (Punk)
  • Catherine Murray (Creative Spark)
  • Anne Dearnaley (PHD South Africa)
  • Camilla Clerke (Hellocomputer )
  • Ivo Vegter (Ivo Vegter)
  • Johan Steyn (Nurun)
  • Prakash Patel (Fogg)
  • Miles Murphy (Liquorice)
  • Jacqui Maroun (NATIVE VML )


  • Jury Chair: Izak Minnaar (SABC Digital)
  • Claire Cobbledick (Gumtree)
  • Philani Mdingi (Maverick Mind)
  • Mark du Plessis (Spark Media)
  • Chris Louw (Caxton Digital)
  • Tim Bradley (ColonyHQ)
  • Lisa Mac Leod (Times Media)
  • Cathryn Reece (24.com)
  • Chris Borain (Mail & Guardian)
  • Renato Balona (Daily Sun)
  • Tanya Pamplone (Media Hack Collective)
  • Jannie Momberg (Jannie Momberg )
  • Lynne O’Connor (ENCA)


  • Jury Chair: Johann von Backstrom (Telkom Digital Gaming League)
  • Zaid Kriel (IGN Africa)
  • Danielle Moolman (Mondia Media South Africa)
  • Glen Gillis (SeaMonster)
  • Colin Webster (Mind Sports South Africa)
  • Geoffrey Tim  (Lazygamer)

Innovators & Engineers

  • Jury Chair: Graham Talbot (Gloo@Oglivy)
  • Nevo Hadas (&Innovation)
  • Saul Kropman (SLV&CO)
  • Adrien Dawans (NATIVE VML )
  • Nathan Gates (Freelance Creative technologist)

Special Honours

  • Jury Chair:  Miles Murphy (Liquorice)
  • Catherine Murray (Creative Spark)
  • Jason Xenopoulos (NATIVE VML)
  • Jarred Cinman (NATIVE VML)
  • Gareth McPherson (Publicis)
  • Claire Cobbledick (Gumtree)
  • John Dixon (Saatchi &Saatchi)
  • Chris Borain (M&G)
  • Josephine Buys (IAB SA )


  • Yaron Assabi (Digital Solutions Group)
  • Andrew Felbert (WhySatisfy)
  • Leila Davies (World Wide Creative)
  • Shane Joseph (World Wide Creative)
  • Denvor Daniels (Vodacom)
  • Henk Pieterse (Allan Gray)
  • Andre van Niekerk (Nespresso)
  • Adam Whitehouse (NATIVE VML )
  • Greg Russell (Injozi)
  • Coenraad Sutton (Unknown)
  • Ivo Brodnik (Qdivision)
  • Sean Wilson Smith (Solo Content)
  • Jason Smit (Saatchi Synergize)

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