2019 AME Grand Jury Perspective: Carlos Verastegui

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Introduction

The AME Awards competition honors not just campaigns that are creative, but campaigns that hit the bullseye for brands, triumphing in both creativity and effectiveness and AME’s Grand Jury are the genius minds behind many of AME’s award-winning entries.

AME’s Grand Jury is the powerhouse behind the prestigious AME Awards, their high standard of excellence ensures that AME’s 25-year legacy is upheld and respected globally both by winners and industry reports measuring creative distinction.

2019 AME Grand Jury member, Carlos Verastegui is Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Ache in Mexico, a boutique culture agency and festival creation company that specializes in full brand integration through different media channels that has been awarded with several recognitions in the last years including a Cannes Lions, Effies, and others.

He is Partner of Bahidora, the best Mexican music festival or according to The Guardian: “paradise but with more hipsters.” Carlos considers himself “A lucky guy doing what he loves every day.”

 

Interview

AME Awards: AME’s winners and entrants are behind some of the most innovative leading-edge creative work on the planet that delivers the most impactful result. Tell us about your process of creating and delivering creative and effective results. Are your ideas inspired or do they come together as the result of a collective brainstorming session with your team?

Carlos Verastegui: Our ideas are always born from a powerful insight found in the needs of consumers, resulting in a product / brand / project to satisfy them. Most of the time I get them on my own at first by constantly reading, studying, understanding, and imagining. Then I strategically evaluate which ones have real value or provide effective solutions to an existing problem. This is a constant process, not only one I follow when a client brief comes along. Many times, I come up with ideas first and find the best bidder afterwards.

Overall, I think we must create solutions to real problems and this can only be achieved by deeply studying what consumers need, whether they know it or not; it may be an immediate or future necessity, but our job is to find viable options to fulfill it, hence ensuring successful results for both the brand and the audience. 

AME Awards: As a strategic creative, what stand-out attributes do you recognize in award-winning creative and effective advertising…what do ads that have taken the brief and turned it into campaign that transforms opinions, evokes action and raises the bar for the brand have in common?

Carlos Verastegui: I look for ideas that solve transcendental problems and involve brands in a larger, less trivial conversation.

For a while, our industry was very shallow. It didn’t provide real solutions for consumers nor for brands, it was all about aesthetics and disruptiveness –sometimes– with no strategic meaning behind. Some ideas today are still like these.

The difference is that now worthy ideas are those that fully integrate three main points to complement and benefit each other with joint responsibility: consumer, brand, and environment.

Ideas that manage to improve life making all involved parties more aware and active in the process are the ones that truly raise the bar.

AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?

Carlos Verastegui: Effectiveness competitions are important because they separate transcendental ideas from ephemeral ones. They’re sort of a road map to the future of creativity; a sustainable future where the idea’s effectiveness makes it viable on its own.

AME Awards: Why did you agree to participate on this year’s AME Grand Jury and What do you hope to learn by viewing entries into this competition?

Carlos Verastegui: It’s an honor to judge entry cases at the AME Awards and a great opportunity to learn and share with other jurors.

Regarding cases, more than learning I look forward to being surprised and turning that amusement into an inspiration to create new ideas and opportunities to develop our clients’ businesses, as well as new ways to help our consumers.

The most exciting part about being part of the jury is seeing ideas that make you think: “I wish I had come up with this!” It’s about taking the best of those ideas and using it to come up with new ones that in the future will make other jurors jealous. There’s nothing like some healthy competition to foster growth and improvement.

AME Awards: What is your all time, favorite most creative and effective ad and/or ads and why in your opinion did they triumph?

Carlos Verastegui: I don’t think I can choose just one. Every day I see new ideas that I believe are spectacular and highly effective.

Off the top of my head, I think this action by Vangardist magazine is beautiful:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/05/04/this-entire-magazine-is-printed-using-hiv-positive-blood/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f4280391093d

It’s a simple and clear idea with a low budget but infinite impact. These types of ideas are the ones that truly inspire.

AME Awards: In your personal work what are the hallmarks of creative and strategic success? What campaign or campaigns are you most proud of?

Carlos Verastegui: Our idea that culminated in the creation of Hangar 1 Fog Point is the one that to this day makes us really proud.

It has won several international awards in different categories, showing great value as an integral idea. What we’re most proud about is the fact it set precedent not only within the industry it was created for but extended its influence on others as a reference of great work.

For those who don’t know this project, we basically created the first vodka made from fog as an answer to California’s worst drought in over 100 years. Hangar 1 is a local brand from the Bay Area, so we took fog –the area’s most iconic element– and used it as the main ingredient to source our raw material, giving it a unique touch and solving a serious problem with a sustainable approach that proved to be financially viable… not to mention it’s delicious.

AME Awards: What advice or guidelines would you give to potential entrants on earning an AME Award?

Carlos Verastegui: I think the best advice is telling them to think and re-think the entry over and over and figure out how to present it best by using that small window to portray the greatness of their idea.

Also, choose the right categories and profile your entries for each one so they easily make sense to the jury.

AME Awards: AME’s Grand Jury, emanating from 5 regions around the globe provides the opportunity to earn trophies within a region and on the global stage.  Why in your opinion is the idea of AME’s Grand Jury judging both regional and then the entire Grand Jury judging all the Gold winning work to select Platinum winners and Best in Show important to both entrants and to jurors?

Carlos Verastegui: This is a special opportunity to see the best of your region, of your own country, and contrast it with the best of other regions and the entire world.

This unique perspective allows us to know what we’re good at and where we can try harder, what the narrative of each region is like and how their creative teams solve their particular problems. This contrast can only be appreciated by the AME’s and it gives winners the chance to feel even prouder of having successful campaigns from a global perspective.

AME Awards: What is one secret of your success that no one knows about you (till now)?

Carlos Verastegui: I’m always hungry, in every single aspect of my life.

AME Awards: What philosophy or iconic individual inspires you in both your career and life?

Carlos Verastegui: I believe in constant mutation, always questioning standards, never settling for what you already have, and finding new barriers to break.

When you’re comfortable, that means it’s time to move, evolve, and create again from scratch.

I’ve built this pseudo-philosophy from reading several great ones that kept reinventing themselves and starting over from different horizons.

 
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