How AKQA became our 2020 Agency of the Year - #AnnualSpotlight

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It is not every day that you get to become Creativepool's top ranked digital agency. The folks at AKQA are all incredibly talented and work hard to make sure their unique voice is heard in the industry, and no one year passes without them sharing some wonderful and groundbreaking work.

AKQA has been entering work and nominations into The Annual since its inception in 2016, winning at least one prize every year ever since. In 2020, they were crowned our Agency of the Year, one of the most prestigious prizes in the Annual competition, and were also awarded two Silvers and two People's Choice. This should be enough to highlight the fact that the team at AKQA is truly something keep an eye on – but if you needed any further proof of that, keep reading to learn more about their winning entries below!

For this Annual Spotlight, we caught up with the team at AKQA to discuss their experience with The Annual and how to impress the judges this year.

The Annual 2021 final submissions deadline is on 10th June! Enter now for your last chance to grab a slice of creative immortality this year.


A shot of AKQA's lovely London offices.

What feels unique about The Annual?

Having a People’s Choice award is really important, it gives the wider industry and those who engage with our work the chance to say what resonates with them the most, that is such a boost for our teams. 

How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?

AKQA were fortunate to receive not only awards from the judges but also in the People’s Choice and the Talent awards. Becky Swarbrick received the Emerging Talent award as voted for by the public. Commenting on the win Becky said “It is a real privilege to work with clients that trust us to make beautiful work for them and I felt so humbled to be nominated by the team at AKQA. To then go on to be able to achieve something so rewarding in such an unusual year was an unexpected but wonderful surprise; made even more special by the fact I was voted for by my peers in the industry.”


Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?

AKQA receivied both The People’s Choice and Silver award in the website category for the Rolls-Royce Perfect Host web build. Paul Ostryzniuk Creative Director, AKQA London said “It is an advanced digital platform that connects people, inspires intrigue, understands individuals and adapts. Created to the specific requirements of Rolls-Royce and their singular brand, the principles of the website establish a foundation for success. I think this was key for the judges, being able to recognise the nuances within the platform and how we see and understand the Rolls-Royce audience as individuals.”


How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

It’s become apparent that remote working has accelerated many facets of what we do. It’s enabled us to bring together countries, cultures and people in a way which was not possible before. Johnny Budden Executive Creative Director AKQA London and Sweden said “Our clients now have one studio that thinks and acts globally. For example, our work with H&M to bring the garment recycling system Looop to their Swedish stores was produced across different teams, time zones and countries.”


What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond? 

We are fortunate to work with the worlds most respected and fastest growing companies. For us to receive this recognition makes us proud that as an industry we all share the same values, purpose, and ambition, to make a positive impact on society and the environment through our work.

A good friend’s cross-country coach once told him if you look back you lose 1.5 seconds. With that in mind, we couldn’t be more excited about the future, with knowledge that next project should be our best. We are taking great care to ensure our work contributes to the world and whilst we are on this journey it’s important that we enjoy working together and supporting each other.


What is your most exciting project in the next year? Will your victory in The Annual give it a boost?

Our São Paulo and Melbourne teams have made a significant development to the Code of Conscience work, an open-source software that restricts the use of heavy-duty vehicles by throwing a cyber shield around protected land areas. The industrial scale of the destruction of the world’s nature reserves is made possible by heavy machinery. Taking the project off land and into the seas using the UN’s World Database, the cyber shield now fights illegal fishing by supervising boat activities in protected ocean areas, we are excited to see the impact of this new work and how it could preserve protected areas.


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