2019 AME Grand Jury Perspective: Grant Owens
AME’s Grand Jury is the powerhouse behind the prestigious AME Awards, their high standard of excellence insures that AME’s 25-year legacy is upheld and respected globally both by winners and industry reports measuring creative distinction. Their dedication results in truly award-worthy work being recognized.
The AME Awards 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.
2019 AME Grand Jury member Grant Owens is the Chief Strategy Officer at Critical Mass. His role at the agency is to lead strategy teams across the globe to ensure the agency is relentlessly focused on designing meaningful experiences that improve customers’ lives. Grant has a track record of building strong teams that deliver best in class, strategically driven work. Prior to joining CM, Grant was with Razorfish for more than 10 years. Most recently as GVP Head of Planning, he was responsible for digital strategy for clients such as Spotify, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Viacom, CBS Radio, BMW and CNN. Grant also spent four years working in planning at Euro RSCG 4D, and is an Adjunct Professor at New York University, where he has taught for more than two years.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Grant Owens: The work needs to work, or it’s not work. At Critical Mass we love the feeling of taking pride in craft and doing the things that are hard but rewarding. Art is fun, but it’s even more so when it impacts people and makes a dent in something.
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?
Grant Owens: I genuinely enjoy taking stock of the year and looking at what my peers have created. Judging is an opportunity to be inspired and better understand what’s making waves in our industry. Like most I love good stories, and the best entrants deliver great tales.
AME Awards: What is your all time, favorite most creative and effective ad and/or ads (share the link or a visual) and why in your opinion did they triumph?
Grant Owens: My favorite of all time is the Burton Poachers campaign. It’s old enough to be vintage now, but it stands the test of time. It’s simple Jake Burton put up a $5,000 bounty for the best video of snow boarders who find a way to go boarding at the four (at the time) ski resorts in the U.S. that banned snowboarding. It was good harmless fun and the brand carved it’s mark further into culture and lore.
AME Awards: What advice or guidelines would you give to potential entrants on earning an AME Award?
Grant Owens: Look around you (category and competitor marketing) and set out to do something different. When judging a few dozen ideas in a row it’s exceptionally easy to pick out the clichés that the industry can’t seem to avoid. If you can go a different direction or shape something in a way that makes it feel different, it will stand out – to consumers and judges alike.
AME Awards: What philosophy or iconic individual inspires you in both your career and life?
Grant Owens: No matter what your selling or saying in marketing, start with knowing that the person you’re trying to reach has something bigger and more important going on in their lives at that exact moment. It’s humbling and it will ensure you lead with empathy in every bit of marketing you do. It will connect in a human way.