Johanna McDowell

CEO of IAS & Mazole Holdings
Location:South Africa


Johanna McDowell counsels clients and agencies around expectations in the advertising, marketing process. She is CEO of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS) and managing partner for SCOPEN in the UK and South Africa.
Contact Johanna on tel +27 (0)10 594 0281, email her at and follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.
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Media agencies' hidden treasures

Media agencies are notoriously bad at self-promotion - like the cobbler's kids with bare feet, these agencies have a wealth of value at home, but don't wear it where we can all see it, writes Johanna McDowell...

By Johanna McDowell 25 Sep 2019

Relationship management: Don't draw the 'divorce card' too quickly

Understanding client-agency relationships is just the tip of the iceberg, it's managing them that is the recipe for success, writes Johanna McDowell...

By Johanna McDowell 13 Sep 2019

Agency Scope South Africa 2019 trends: Evolution or revolution? Part 1

As the Agency Scope team finalises the 2019 South Africa study, analysts have noted some brief but stand-out trends...

By Johanna McDowell 10 Sep 2019

Strategy vs creative: The number one pitch killer

It is not a new issue, but one that continues to create angst for marketers and agencies - writes Johanna McDowell, CEO of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) and Scopen partner...

By Johanna McDowell 5 Sep 2019

Results from Agency Scope UK 2018/2019 indicate concerns with consumers and the changing digital environment

The completion of the third edition of Agency Scope UK 2018/2019 enable us to note where South Africa stands in comparison...

By Johanna McDowell 19 Aug 2019

Has the cobbler's kid got no shoes?

Advertising, communications and marketing agencies are the core of creativity for brands across the globe. Scopen's Agency Scope studies around the world show some 45% of potential clients visit an agency's website to see who they are...

By Johanna McDowell 20 Jun 2019

#AdForumSummit2019: Key learnings

Johanna McDowell shares key learnings from the AdForum Worldwide Summit in Los Angeles, where she and other top players in the advertising industry visited various agencies and experienced how they are shaping the future...

By Johanna McDowell 17 Apr 2019

PoPI, social media and influencers

What we all should know and how to make your business compliant...

By Johanna McDowell 1 Apr 2019

#BizTrends2019: Vertical video, Amazon muscle and integration in 2019

Keeping ahead of global trends is always on my bucket list. I'd love to predict precisely what's going to become a 'thing' for marketing houses and agencies, but I'll go with emerging trends I've noted this year - and possibly put money on my predictions...

By Johanna McDowell 11 Jan 2019

Marketing spend per platform - and who takes the lead?

IAS managing director and Scopen Africa and UK partner Johanna McDowell takes BizCommunity readers through current trends in marketing to communications investment ratios, highlighting where South Africa ranks compared to the global average...

By Johanna McDowell 20 Dec 2018

Perfect pitch: Getting the brief right first

If your pitch brief does not adequately explain the "job to be done", it's time and money wasted. To get a functional brief in writing, you need to create a document that communicates enough for an agency to put their heart into getting the job...

By Johanna McDowell 14 Dec 2018

Optimising the marketing vendor database

At a time when both resultant cost and resource savings are scarce, the database review can be a key factor in competitive advantage...

By Johanna McDowell 30 Oct 2018

Collaboration and changing role of lead agencies

A seven-member panel of leading marketers met with more than 30 agencies last month at an IAS Masterclass to discuss the thorny and often misjudged, issue of collaboration among agencies for the purpose of achieving business objectives for marketers...

By Johanna McDowell 3 Aug 2018

Marketers to take digital in-house at unprecedented rate

Johanna McDowell writes that in 2018 more and more marketers will handle more and more digital marketing in-house...

By Johanna McDowell 22 Feb 2018

Partnering with a black-owned agency could change your mind about BEE

25 years ago, there were very few - if any - black owned and run agencies. Probably the only one at that time was Herdbuoys. They represented the start of a new era in South Africa where black advertising professionals were taken far more seriously than in previous times...

By Johanna McDowell 27 Sep 2017

Influence of procurement departments on marketers

Agencies working - or hoping to work - on major corporate accounts in the advertising, marketing and communications industry can no longer ignore or misunderstand procurement departments and their importance in winning both government and corporate clients...

By Johanna McDowell 13 Sep 2017

Scopen 2017 planning, ready to meet top marketing execs

With the first edition of Agency Scope South Africa completed in 2016, Spanish-based independent research company Scopen and the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) are well on the way to getting the research required to produce the 2017 edition...

By Johanna McDowell 12 May 2017

AdForum Worldwide Summit 2017 insights

The Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) represented SA for the ninth consecutive year at the global AdForum Worldwide Summit and it's CEO shared some insights...

By Johanna McDowell 5 May 2017

Marketers will be required to implement stringent measures to effectively manage media costs

A major cause for concern is brewing in the South African media, advertising and communication industry. A trend that was recently blown wide open in the United States by the American Association of Advertisers (ANA) is also taking place on our shores on a seemingly widespread scale...

By Johanna McDowell 8 Feb 2017

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