Behind the Awards: Octagon

19 Nov 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

With under two weeks left to enter the Sport Industry Awards 2020, we're going Behind the Awards to take a look back at the winners over the last few years. What made them successful? How do they stand out from the crowd? And what has life been like since they picked up the award?

This time we’re talking to Octagon, 2019's Agency of the Year.


What did it mean to Octagon to win Agency of the Year at the Sport Industry Awards 2019?

It was hugely significant for us. We have been on a journey for the past five years to evolve the agency from a traditional sponsorship agency to a creative agency with a specialism in sport and culture. 

To share that vision with the judges, and to see that they acknowledged the work we have done and the results we have achieved, was a great validation for the shift in direction we have taken. Winning Agency of Year showed that the fruits of our labour are paying off through the work we are producing. 

What work do you think helped you stand out among the crowd?

There were a number of campaigns we were particularly proud of. AIG x Effort is Effort was a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on the Black Ferns and tell a powerful D&I story; Mastercard x Goodwood was one of our smaller pieces of work for Mastercard, but probably one of the most emotive, and of course the Budweiser x FIFA World Cup was something that touched every single aspect of our business, and delivered tremendous results for the brand across all key metrics. It was special for us because it demonstrated the full service offering of our people: brilliant sponsorship management, execution and delivery, combined with our new creative ambition.

More recently, the Paddy Power Save Our Shirt campaign, which we were sitting on at the time of the Awards, has been something we have all been delighted to see come to life, and has been a great example of our continued desire to push the ambition of creative work in sport. 

How important was winning the Award to your journey as an agency and your current business?

Journey is a really important word. We are still on it of course! Indeed this year we have fully integrated FRUKT into the business, to reflect the convergence of sport, entertainment and culture. 

Nevertheless, it was an extremely valuable to receive the affirmation that the vision we had was the right one. It’s been beneficial to our people, our clients and of course to new business.

What does the Award win mean going forward and your future business prospects?

It means that we can push harder! We have asked a great deal from our people this year. We have integrated all our key departments across creative, planning, design, live production, content and shared services. We have also invested heavily in external training for our staff, to evolve their integrated marketing skill set and developed a new creative development process, so we can deliver even better integrated work for our clients. 

We believe this constant ambition for better work will only result in better business prospects.

Have you seen a change in the industry’s perception of Octagon since winning the Award?

We would like to think that shift had already started, based on the body of creative work we had been producing for our clients over the past few years. However, clearly the Award has helped to reinforce that message to a wider audience.

How important do you feel it is that your UK team is recognised by the Sport Industry Awards, particularly as a large global organisation?

It’s great for the team in the UK to see our local work and clients rewarded, but equally Octagon is a genuinely international agency with a brilliant network of people, so we always celebrate every win as one business! 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying to Agency of the Year?

Stay away from Mark Durden-Smith if you go on stage to collect the Award...

Describe your Sport Industry Awards victory in 5 words…

A long time coming!