Two agencies tied for the top award at last night's 'Research Excellence and Effectiveness Awards', hosted by the MRS in London. Judges could not choose between FreshMinds and Flamingo International as Best Research Agency 2006.
The event is an annual ceremony intended to showcase the best of market, social and opinion research. The 2006 awards were held at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel and hosted by Channel 5 and ex-BBC broadcaster Kate Gerbeau, with over 500 industry guests in attendance.
Both Flamingo and FreshMinds were praised for their integrity and core values, with Flamingo recognised for the 'quality, depth and rigour of its thinking' while FreshMinds also picked up the award for Research Innovative Employer of the Year. Judges said FreshMinds, which grew its revenue 40% in 2005, 'demonstrates an exciting approach to research and the ability to deal with a broad range of projects in a highly innovative way' – they also praised its ability to attract and retain the best talent: 'FreshMinds has risen to the people challenge in a creative and inclusive way which makes it a worthy award winner.'
Also picking up two awards were Oxford Strategic Marketing & Research International for Vodafone, winning the MRS / AURA Insight Management Effectiveness Award and the Best Research Campaign award for their work in the challenging mobile telecoms market.
Spring Research followed up last year's Conference Award for Best New Thinking by winning Best New Agency, while Ruth Buchanan, an Insight Manager with Royal Mail Group, won the Research Newcomer of the Year award for her combination of technical ability, enthusiasm and commitment to the industry. Tony Cowling and John Samuels were presented with MRS Gold Medals in recognition of lifetime contributions.
Awards presenter and ex-MRS President Professor Michael Thomas said the industry was enjoying 'a purple patch; tonight the awards have honoured an exceptional level of quality and commitment. The future is bright with some of the best researchers emerging that we have ever seen.' MRS Chairman Simon Lidington was similarly impressed with the calibre of winners and finalists: 'This year's awards were truly exceptional. With such a fine array of developing talent being celebrated, they represent the vitality and the young entrepreneurial spirit that is invigorating the industry... It will be interesting to see the impact that some of the names mentioned tonight will have on the industry in the future.'
Full information and photos from the Research Excellence and Effectiveness Awards can be found on the MRS website at www.mrs.org.uk/awards/dinner/index.htm .
The full list of winners is as follows: