AME’s Grand Jury is the powerhouse behind the prestigious AME Awards, their high standard of excellence ensures that AME’s 26-year legacy is upheld and respected globally both by winners and industry reports measuring creative distinction.
2020 Grand Jury member, Paul Grubb is Regional Executive Creative Director ASEAN for GTB and handles the Ford Motor Company business across ASEAN.The legendary Dave Trott hired Paul as the first creative at Gold Greenlees Trott in London, which went on to be named by AdAge in New York as ‘The Most Creative Agency in The World’. He became London’s youngest Creative Board Director and won two D&AD Pencils (amongst many other awards) in his 8 years at GGT.
Paul started Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, which became one of London’s most successful creative independent agencies through the 90s and early 00s. After fifteen years he moved to Bangkok to handle Lowe’s massive Unilever business as Regional and Global ECD, creating successful brand campaigns in India; Japan; Korea; South East Asia and China.
After six years he started a creative consultancy Red Pill but couldn’t resist the chance to handle the Ford Motor Company business across ASEAN, and the opportunity to develop digital as well as traditional media solutions.
AME Awards: Tell us about your process of creating and delivering effective results.
Paul Grubb: Whilst the media landscape has changed considerably over the last decade or so, the fundamental principles of communication haven’t.
The most important skill we can learn is to forget we’re in the rarified advertising/marketing business and empathise with the people we’re trying to persuade.
So, we learn their behaviour, likes and dislikes, motivations and so on, and we may actually disagree with them, but that’s not our job.
Our job is to understand the audience, a skill that seems to be eroding within the echo-chamber, extreme tribalism mentality of social media.
Only when you truly understand your audience, without prejudice, can you begin to create something that will resonate and be effective.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Paul Grubb: Simple: Our job is ultimately focused on the end user.
We’re not in the business of art for art’s sake - clients, rightly, don’t want to spend money on something only an advertising jury sees.
So, proof of efficacy out there in the world is as important as pure creativity.
AME Awards: What is your favorite most effective ad and why does it hit the bullseye for the brand?
Paul Grubb: It was a 110-minute commercial in 1986 directed by Tony Scott, called Top Gun (as cheesy as it is in parts).
Whilst the USAF never released actual figures it was estimated to have increased recruitment by around 500%.
It doesn’t have to be an ad to be a great ad.
AME Awards: What campaign or campaigns are you most proud of and how did it move the needle for the brand?
Paul Grubb: Whilst the creative awards I’ve won are jolly pleasant, two campaigns my agency DFGW did that both won IPA Effectiveness Awards.
A campaign for the UK Health Education Authority’s Anti-Drugs won the IPA Grand Prix, the first time a piece of Government work had done so.
How the campaign “moved the needle” (an unfortunate metaphor in the circumstances) is well documented.
Secondly our campaign for Daewoo Motor Company, which was (again documented) the most successful car marque launch ever into the UK.
AME Awards: What do you do keep your creative and strategic juices flowing?
Paul Grubb: The usual things, read a lot, watch a lot, observe things, stay curious.
Creativity is all around us if we look.
And try to look where everyone else isn’t looking.
Whilst it’s fine to look at YouTube and whatever meme is trending this week; you’ll be getting inspired by the same things that everyone else is.
For example, I only recently learned that the invention of stirrups was a major game changer in warfare (in my defense, I’m involved in neither military nor equine pursuits).
Whoever came up with that idea was pretty damn creative, in my opinion.
AME Awards: What cultural and/or social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?
Paul Grubb: There’s been a massive trend in the last few years towards campaigns for social or worthy causes.
Nothing wrong with that in itself, except that it’s nowhere near representative of the weight of advertising and marketing spend.
The five largest advertisers are Samsung; P&G; L’Oréal; Unilever; and Nestle.
By and large, they sell unnecessary stuff, and we all know what happens when they try and piggyback current social trends.
The worst crime a brand can commit is failing to understand, or worse, overestimate, the role it plays in people’s lives.