Most Innovative Media & Marketing Company 2019

M&C Saatchi has been recognised as the Most Innovative Media and Marketing Company in Australia and New Zealand by The Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list.

This is the fifth year in a row that M&C Saatchi has appeared on the coveted list. In 2017 the agency was ranked the Most Innovative Company in Australia and awarded Best Product Innovation and Best Overall Innovation for the NRMA FireBlanket, a fire detection system created by the agency for the insurance brand. In 2018, the business was recognised for Best Innovation Culture.

This year, the agency was celebrated as the most innovative in the media and marketing industry, having exceeded in a range of criteria including its approach to innovation both for clients and its own business.

The innovation highlighted was the creation of Minerva, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot designed by M&C Saatchi’s CX and data specialists, Lida.

Minerva, or Minnie for short, was built using best-in-class and custom-made machine learning tools to provide a complete overview of the components of advertising. These components involve object identification, optical character recognition (image to text), sentiment analysis, gender/age/emotion classification, colour coding and more. This data is then stored in a database with the ability for AI to extract and visualise trends and enable analysis.

On International Women’s Day 2019, Minnie’s analysis of 80 years of advertising to women in The Australian Women’s Weekly was released. The analysis highlighted the change required by advertisers in regards to the depiction of women in advertising.

The initial findings included insights such as the fact that the skin colour of models has not changed. From the 1930s to today, the women in magazine advertisements are still overwhelmingly white-skinned and blonde. Additionally, until the 1980s, the language in advertising in The Australian Women’s Weekly was overwhelmingly patriarchal with the word ‘man’ more prevalent than ‘woman’ despite the advertising being directed at women.

Based on these findings, M&C Saatchi has since engaged with several brands to help decode their advertising and provide an objective view of how they portray diversity.


“At M&C Saatchi, we pride ourselves on using creativity to find innovative approaches that solve far-reaching problems. Minnie is a brilliant example of that, as is the work she has done so far in changing advertising for the better. Being recognised by the AFR’s Most Innovative Companies list is a great honour for our teams and the efforts they put into bringing this to life as well as our overall commitment to innovation.”

Jaimes Leggett, CEO