Special NZ named Campaign UK Global Creative Agency of the Year; Australia’s Thinkerbell ranked #2, Howatson+Company ranked #3

Special NZ named Campaign UK Global Creative Agency of the Year; Australia’s Thinkerbell ranked #2, Howatson+Company ranked #3

Special New Zealand has been named “Global Creative Agency of the Year” by UK advertising title Campaign. Australian agencies Thinkerbell ranked #2, Howatson+Company ranked #3


The Special network first achieved the remarkable accolade in 2021 which created global headlines, but to win it for the second time in 2023 is a true testament to creativity from the edge of the world.

Special managed to fend off stiff competition from other finalists including Åkestam Holst NoA (Sweden), Leo Burnett (Taiwan), Howatson+Company (Australia),  Rethink (Canada), Thinkerbell (Australia) and TBWA (Turkey).

The UK accolade adds to Special being named Campaign Brief NZ Agency of the Year, and Thinkerbell taking out the CB Australian AOY title.

Says Tony Bradbourne, co-founder, Special: “This really is a phenomenal achievement. To win a global award of this scale and prestige, from such a revered and established institution, not once – but twice – has never been done before.”

The Campaign Global Agency of the Year awards are judged by a panel of leading marketing and industry experts.  In their summation, Campaign commented:  “Special is a small agency group that packs a might punch, and its work is proof” describing it as “an awesome portfolio of work from a dream team” and praised Special for its “compelling story of growth, with a strong culture of inclusivity and equity.

Says Bradbourne: “Special is a growing and highly effective network – and our entire agency, dedicated partners, and brave clients should be very proud of themselves – but most importantly, I’m proud of what this says about creativity from our corner of the globe.  A big congratulations to Thinkerbell and Howatson+Company for taking out the Silver and Bronze categories. Three independent agencies from New Zealand and Australia, named as the three best in the world is a real watershed moment.”

Special started in Auckland before expanding to Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, London, Wellington and New York.  It now employs more than 230 staff across all seven offices and has recently expanded its remit from advertising and design to include PR.

Says Rory Gallery, chief strategy officer at Special New Zealand: “We have an ambition to build the best creative network in the world from the bottom of the world up – and we’re well on our way.  Regardless of whether you’re speaking to Special in New Zealand, Special in Australia, or Special in the United States, you’ll receive the same level of strategic rigour and creative execution that has made our network so strong.”

Says Lisa Fedysyzn, executive creative director at Special New Zealand:  “I’m so proud of the hard work of our teams who have produced an incredible body of work.  The work recognised by the judges includes the full spectrum of skills at Special – from Special Wellington’s efforts with Hell Pizza’s ToMeatO Sauce, to Special PR’s work with Tourism Fiji for Booster of Happiness, and the thousands of hours spent by our Auckland office building Optus’ brand platform of It Starts With Yes.”