The New Gen Awards: The journey so far...

The year 2012 marked a turning point for the digital industry, with rapid growth in online and mobile marketing channels and a surge in innovation. This shift brought about a renewed focus on social and digital media by many brands. Stephen Paxton, the founder of the awards, identified a gap in the market and took the bold step of launching the New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards.

Stephen had a vision to create an awards program that would give a voice to corporate marketing teams and allow them to showcase their best marketing campaigns. He noticed that many corporations did not have agency partnerships, which made it difficult for them to get recognition for their hard work.

The New Gen awards aimed to celebrate the exceptional creativity and innovation of in-house marketing teams. By harnessing the power of social and digital media, these teams have created groundbreaking online strategies, captivating storytelling content, and utilized technology in pioneering ways. The awards would provide a well-deserved platform for these teams to shine and receive the recognition they truly deserve.

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Stephen Paxton, Awards Founder

In 2012, Stephen's idea came to life as he opened entries for the first New Gen Awards. With a vision to recognize excellence in marketing and business, he gathered some of the industry's top leaders to form the first judging panel. This team of six remarkable judges evaluated 64 outstanding entry submissions, setting the foundation for a new era of industry recognition.

Soon after, the awards attracted their first sponsors, including Unilever SA and Endemol South Africa, adding immense credibility to the program. The first awards gala ceremony was held at the Sandton Convention Centre, with 86 attendees celebrating their achievements.

Since that very first judging experience, Stephen has perfected New Gen's approach to marking submissions, boasting a judging panel of 25-30 judges from various industry sectors and disciplines.

New Gen celebrates ingenuity with a specific focus on results and insight-based success. The judging process is rigorous, ensuring each entry is marked by at least four judges, measuring them against criteria such as strategy, innovation, creativity, content, results, reach, engagement, and usability.

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The Awards Gala Ceremony, 2023 at Hilton Hotel, Sandton

New Gen continues to witness an increased number of submissions from the agency sectors, accompanied by a rise in new trends as the years pass by. In 2018, Stephen introduced the student category awards, which the University of Johannesburg partnered.

He also shifted his attention towards recognizing individual talent from within the corporate, agency, and student teams.

Since the creation of the student categories, many of our student winners have been able to jumpstart their careers and secure jobs with prominent agencies and corporations in South Africa.

Currently, New Gen boasts 59 industry-focused categories, including the Corporate Awards, the Agency Awards, the Online Media & Tools Awards, the Student Awards, and the Overall Main Award Winners Categories.

The New Generation Awards have been running for 12 years and have now become the largest, performance-based independent digital media awards in South Africa, with over 500 entries received every year. The distinguished awards gala ceremony attracts hundreds of industry leaders from the corporate and agency sectors, and many of them consider these awards to be crucial business gatherings where significant deals are made.

New Gen's growth continues, just like the digital world it represents...