Fishermen Integrated Named Agency of the Year, Creates History at 2023 Malaysian Effies

Fishermen Integrated hauled in its biggest Effie catch to date and made history when it was declared Agency of the Year at the recent 2023 Effie Awards Malaysia, beating out some of the industry’s bigger and more established players for the prestigious title.

This is the first time a locally-owned independent agency has won the top honour since the title was first introduced in 2015.

The Effie Awards are a showcase of campaigns that meet and exceed marketing objectives, and represent the highest standard of any marketing effectiveness award programme in the world.

No other accolade in the marketing communications industry is as widely recognised and as coveted as the Effies. Globally, it is considered the pre-eminent award by professionals in the business, and winning an Effie has become a universally recognised achievement for advertising agencies and their clients.

Apart from clinching the top award for agencies, Fishermen also scooped up four Silver and two Bronze awards for its work on campaigns for Grab (named Brand of the Year once again, its third consecutive win), TIME Internet, Gaviscon and WONDA Coffee.



Award Brand Campaign Category
Silver Grab The HUATever Saga Sustained Success – Services
TIME Internet TIME’s Kabel Besar Gives Malaysians’ Internet a Well-Deserved Promotion Internet & Telecom
Attack on a Titan: Using Data To Hijack Goliath’s 2Gbps Launch
Gaviscon Winning Untapped Segments Who Are Unaware About Heartburn Health & Wellness – OTC
Bronze TIME Internet Attack on a Titan: Using Data To Hijack Goliath’s 2Gbps Launch Data-Driven (Media)
WONDA Coffee Wonda at Every Corner
Engaged Community – Products

Fishermen’s list of accolades has been growing steadily over the past decade. Among others, it has won the Golden Kancil twice (in 2015 and 2019); honoured with the Grand Prix at the Malaysian Digital Association (MDA)’s d Awards in 2022; and named Advertising Agency of the Year at the APPIES 2022 Malaysia Marketing Campaigns Awards.

This latest recognition from the Effies comes as the team marks its eleventh year in the creative business, further cementing its reputation as among the industry’s best.

Co-founder and Managing Director, Mark Darren Lee said the victory is a tangible reminder of how far the team has come since its early days of working out of cafés.

“It’s not easy to win an Effie, let alone being crowned an Effie Agency of the Year — that honour usually goes to one of the big network agencies. So this is a momentous occasion in our 11-year history, and we are incredibly proud to have done it as an independent player, and being the first to do so. Plus, being a top honouree with Grab, our client who’s also made in Malaysia, makes the experience that much greater!

“I’m thankful to God for blessing us with an exceptional team and great clients, and we remain humbled by all our success. We’re also very happy for our clients who won and can’t thank them enough for their continued support and faith in us,” Lee added.

For Joyce Gan, Fishermen co-founder and group brand director, the Effies achievement is just the beginning of more to come. “As a Malaysian born and bred agency, we are overwhelmed and truly honoured by this recognition. In an industry as competitive and fast paced as ours, we are nothing without our clients’ collaboration and trust, as well as our team’s passion for the work.

This award is the culmination of our late nights and dedication to the craft. It has certainly inspired us to continue producing more meaningful and impactful work that elevates the Malaysian creative industry,” she said.

Commenting further on the milestone, Adam Miranda, Fishermen co-founder and Executive Creative Director, said: “All we wanted to do was to solve our clients’ business problems with ideas and creativity that had a twist of entertainment. Thankfully, this has been very effective for us.”

Miranda’s fellow Fishermen co-founder and ECD, Andrew Tan concluded: “Every year since we started our agency, we strive to provide a winning formula for our work. It’s no longer just a win-win situation, but rather a win-win-WIN situation — winning the hearts of the consumer, winning the hearts of our clients, and winning the hearts of the industry. Our Effie wins this year are a testament to that.”

The teams from Fishermen and Grab celebrating their big wins.

Meanwhile, from the client side, Hassan Alsagoff, Grab’s Regional Head of Marketing, said: “Great work is not from opportunity but momentum. Grab set out to solve for impact with creativity, and partnering with fellow homegrown brand Fishermen since 2019 empowered us to deliver effectiveness consistently. This is a heartfelt Effies milestone for both made-in-Malaysia brands.”

Andrew Yeoh, Group Head of Marketing for TIME dotCom, said its symbiotic partnership with Fishermen is built on mutual trust, respect, and an unwavering belief in what each party brings to the table, beyond just commercial considerations.

The teams from Fishermen and TIME Internet.

“Fishermen are an embedded extension of our marketing team, and they have an innate ability to connect commercial objectives with insightful creative solutions that cut through the clutter and resonate culturally with our target market.

While it is historic that they are the first local, independent agency to win Effies’ Agency of the Year, it is totally unsurprising to us as their clients. Every client gets the agency they deserve, and we’re glad to have an agency as creatively effective and effectively creative as Fishermen. Kudos!” added Yeoh.

Fishermen and Reckitt Benckiser with their Silver award for Gaviscon.

Tiffany Tang, Marketing Director at Reckitt Benckiser for Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, said a good client-agency relationship involves clear communication and mutual respect, and also encourages honest and healthy debates.

“Only then can we produce consumer-centric creative ideas that result in effective campaigns. This is how we started our journey with Fishermen, and I’m sure we will continue to have more healthy debates that produce more amazing campaigns.”

Fishermen and Etika Group with their Bronze award for WONDA Coffee.

Last but not least, Amy Gan, Etika Group Vice President of Marketing, said working with Fishermen on its 2022 World Cup campaign for WONDA Coffee was an absolute game changer.

“From the get-go, Fishermen’s approach was highly efficient. They brought fresh and innovative ideas to the table, which enabled our campaign to stand out in a crowded field. The team also exuded a passion for football that’s unparalleled, and this translated into every aspect of their work.

But what truly sets Fishermen apart is their collaborative spirit and keen understanding of our brief. We couldn’t be happier with the results and look forward to many more successful collaborations with the team.”

Fishermen Integrated burst onto the Malaysian advertising scene in 2015 with its Golden Kancil-winning Kucing Happy campaign for BSN Bank. Since then, the agency has continued pushing its creative boundaries in the Branded Entertainment zone.

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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