Revealed: Winners of The Media Leaders Awards 2023

Revealed: Winners of The Media Leaders Awards 2023
L-R: five previous winners of the Leadership Awards on a panel.

Karen Stacey, CEO of Digital Cinema Media (DCM), Zenith UK, and Ozone each took home two awards at the Media Leader Awards, while Jeremy Bullmore was awarded posthumously for his massive contribution to the advertising industry.

Stacey won the Grand Prix: Media Leader of the Year and Media Owner Leader of the Year, while Zenith UK took home Leadership Team of the Year and Talent Excellence Award and Ozone won Tech Company of the Year and its CEO Damon Reeve won Tech Leader of the Year.

The Grand Prix: Judges Special Choice Award was posthumously awarded to advertising legend Jeremy Bullmore who passed away earlier this year.

Winners of the Media Leaders Awards 2023 were announced yesterday at an in-person ceremony in London following Adwanted Events’ The Future of Brands the day before.

The ceremony featured a fireside chat with WPP CEO Mark Read, the five previous winners of the Leadership Awards on a panel discussing the last 12 months and four members of the inaugural Future 100 Club presenting their manifestos to leaders in the room.

The awards feature 16 categories, including three new categories celebrating excellence in the three core issues The Media Leader is championing throughout 2022: sustainability, talent, and trust.

The Judge’s Special Choice Award was announced live on the day.

This year’s panel of 20 judges includes industry leaders in their own right from across media, including IPA director-general Paul Bainsfair, Newsworks CEO Jo Allan, Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford, Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay, ISBA director-general Phil Smith, Route Research CEO Denise Turner, and The Media Leader‘s very own editor Omar Oakes.

Leadership Team of the Year: Zenith UK

Publicis agency Zenith UK won against DCM, Ozone and Mediabridge.

Media Agency of the Year: Wavemaker UK

WPP agency Wavemaker UK was shortlisted with three Publicis Groupe agencies; Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith.

Media Owner of the Year: Channel 4 / 4Sales

Bloomberg, DCM and Pearl & Dean were also shortlisted for this year’s Media Owner of the Year award.

Tech Company of the Year: Ozone

Entries from Peach, PubMatic, and PwC were considered by the judges for this award.

Advertiser of the Year: Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group was shortlisted alongside another bank Natwest, and FMCG brands Pepsi and Unilever.

Agency Leader of the Year: Nadine Young, Starcom

Nat Cummins, CEO at Zenith UK, James Shoreland, CEO at Initiative UK, and Kelly Parker, CEO at Wavemaker UK were also up for this award.

Media Owner Leader of the Year: Karen Stacey, DCM

Jane Wolfson, chief commercial officer at Hearst UK, Matthew Dearden, founder and CEO at Alight Media, and Verica Djurdjevic were shortlisted.

Tech Leader of the Year: Damon Reeve, Ozone

Emma Newman, chief revenue officer at PubMatic, Karen Nelson-Field, founder and CEO, Amplified Intelligence, Nicola Lewis, global CEO at Finecast, and Sam Tomlinson, partner, PwC UK.

International Leader of the Year: Duncan Chater, Bloomberg Media

Chater won multiple awards at last year’s Media Leader Awards.

Two Wavemaker employees were up for this award: Caroline Tran, group planning director and Ronen Benatar, portfolio investment lead/group director.

Advertiser Leader of the Year: Olya Dyachuk, Heineken

Dyachuk was in this category along with Emily Latham head of digital marketing and martech, Channel 4, Helen Brooks, head of media for EMEA, Kimberley-Clark and Neil Harrison, head of Media, VM O2.

Future Media Leader of the Year: Louise Twycross-Lewis, PHD

There were four other media leaders in this category including: Chris Dunne, head of marketing, Thinkbox, Lizzie Wiltshire, head of client solutions, Europe, Samsung Ads, Rachael Cochrane, regional sales director, DCM and Sammie Eales, insight manager, Mail Metro Media.

Sustainability Excellence Award: Sky

The Media Leader introduced this category, and the following two categories, this year as part of its mission to champion sustainability, talent and trust after these were voted the most important topics facing the industry by a panel of senior leaders and rising stars at The Future of Media in October.

Sky was shortlisted with GoodLoop & GroupM, Havas and Hearst.

Sky said in its entry: “TV and entertainment are a central part of all our lives and plays and major role in informing, educating, and entertaining the nation. To be credible voice on a subject you must embody the behaviours and habits and show leadership –this is exactly what Sky have done in sustainability.”

Talent Excellence Award: Zenith UK

In this new category, there were two other entrants Brixton Finishing School and DCM.

In its entry, Zenith UK stated: “In 2022, Zenith’s talent strategy was about hard financial support to people who need it most, more seats at the table in decision-making and more opportunity to thrive. Initiatives introduced in 2022 included a conscious decision not to pitch until July, for the good of their people.”

Trust in Media Excellence Award: GroupM

Judges also looked at Hearst, PwC & ISBA and The Trust Project for this award.

GroupM wrote in the entry: “GroupM devised a Responsible Investment Framework (RIF) centred on five pillars: Brand Safety, Data Ethics, DE&I, Responsible Journalism and Sustainability. RIF has initiated a new media era and demonstrates GroupM’s commitment to make advertising work better for everyone: clients, partners and consumers.”

Grand Prix: Judges Special Choice Award: Jeremy Bullmore

Jeremy Bullmore died this year aged 93. He was descried as “adland’s greatest philosopher”.

He once said: “Products are made and owned by companies. Brands on the other hand are owned by people, by the public, by consumers.”

Bullmore joined J Walter Thompson (JWT) as a trainee copywriter in 1954, became creative director in 1965 and then chairman in 1976 before retiring in 1987.

He was also chairman of the Advertising Association between 1981 and 1987, a director of Guardian Media Group between 1988 and 2001, and a director WPP Group (which acquired JWT shortly before he left) between 1988 and 2004. Bullmore was appointed CBE in 1985.

Phil Smith, director general at ISBA and one of judges said: “While this would be a posthumous award, Jeremy’s influence over the industry for decades has been huge. His perception and wisdom were unmatched and his ability to get his point across both powerfully and gently was seemingly limitless. He is missed”

Grand Prix: Media Leader of the Year: Karen Stacey, DCM

Karen Stacey has been CEO of Digital Cinema Media (DCM), the largest UK cinema advertising sales house, since 2014.

She led the company through the pandemic when cinemas were closed for months at a time and has since worked to position cinema as an attention leader in media.

Stacey is a member of  Women In Advertising and Communications London (WACL), a keen supporter of the advertising industry’s mental health and wellbeing charity NABS, and a member of The Advertising Association’s Front Foot Committee.

Judges said: “Karen is a true industry leader. Of course she leads DCM with talent, confidence and aplomb but more than that she contributes to excellence in the wider media sector through her contributions to many initiatives in talent and trust in media.”

They concluded she would be a worthy winner any year, but that this year she also had some stellar numbers to back up her case.

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