A sell-out crowd of just under 1000 well-dressed advertising folk convened at the Viaducts Event Centre last night for the 2018 edition of the Beacon Awards, which annually celebrates the smartest media agencies in the business.

In a repeat of the past two years, FCB Media again emerged as the dominant agency at the event, collecting 12 of the 21 gold awards handed out.

These awards were spread across campaigns for Water Safety New Zealand, Westpac NZ, European Motor Distributors (Audi), Foodstuffs (NZ) – Pak'nSave, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Testicular Cancer New Zealand.

The agency also picked up the best in show for a Westpac campaign, which served to draw attention to the imbalance between men and women in the workforce.

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The campaign removed all but 29 per cent of the content on the front page of the New Zealand Herald in a bid to show how few business leaders in New Zealand are women.

Interestingly, this is the second year in a row that an innovative print campaign has claimed the best in show at the Beacons, with last year's award going to a New Zealand Fire Service campaign that saw ash from a burned down home mixed with the ink used in the print run for the paper. Both these campaigns, of course, also bled into digital, becoming major talking points across social media and giving their respective messages reach well beyond the pages of the paper.

FCB Media also picked up gongs for smart digital campaigns, none of which were more memorable than Water Safety NZ's "Swim Reaper" and Fire and Emergency New Zealand's "igniting action" campaigns. The former featured a hilariously sarcastic grim reaper giving Kiwis swimming advice, while the latter gave users a virtual reality experience of a burning house.

Due to its massive haul on the night, Fire and Emergency New Zealand also walked away with the Advertiser of the Year Award.

Fire and Emergency NZ was declared the advertiser of the year. Photo/File.
Fire and Emergency NZ was declared the advertiser of the year. Photo/File.

FCB's numerous awards on the night were not enough, however, to give the agency the coveted Media Agency of the Year gong. This accolade went to PHD for what the convening judges called an outstanding year for the agency.

In contrast to other awards events that simply give the agency of the year award to the entrant with the highest tally of the awards on the night, the Beacon entrants are judged on business vision, employee development, financial performance, client acquisition and development, industry contribution and creativity.

In addition to this award, PHD also picked up a tally of three gold awards on the night.

Advertising awards shows are almost always dominated by the massive internationally owned agencies, but last night also brought good news for Kiwi agency MBM, which won three gold awards.

The major individual aware of the night went to Dentsu Aegis chief executive Robert Harvey, who won the Inspiring Individual award.

Kanoa Lloyd with Inspiring Individual Award-winner Rob Harvey. Photo/Supplied.
Kanoa Lloyd with Inspiring Individual Award-winner Rob Harvey. Photo/Supplied.

Rounding out the awards was MediaWorks, which won media business of the year, and Adshel, which picked up sales team of the year.

See all the gold, silver and individual award winners here: