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 AME Grand Jury member Amy Winger is Chief Strategy Officer for VMLY&R, she leads a multi-discipline strategy group of data fiends, insight hunters, and strategic masterminds who are in relentless pursuit of the truth about humanity and culture.
In her 20-year career at VML she’s worked with brands ranging from cereal to software. Her happiest days at the office are spent with teams of unruly geniuses gathered at a whiteboard, creating ideas that will have an outsize impact on brands and the world.
AME Awards: As a strategic creative, what do ads that have taken the brief and turned it into a campaign that transforms opinions, evokes action and raises the bar for the brand have in common?
Amy Winger: They’re like great food, a great meal – They take a recipe and create a sensory experience.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Amy Winger: AME Awards are critical! Our industry is under intense business pressure and we need these shows more than ever, to remind us what’s possible. For me it’s a stop/think moment that’s meditative and motivating. And jealousy inducing.
AME Awards: What makes you share you time and energy to participate on the AME Grand Jury and what do you hope to learn?
Amy Winger: I’m a total fangirl of the work. I love to fall in love over and over again. I want to see how brands are dealing with the complexity of layering ideas and experiences and technology … yet keeping it simple and human.
AME Awards: What is your favorite most effective ad and why does it hit the bullseye for the brand?
Amy Winger: Our own recent work for Wendy’s, Keeping Fortnite Fresh. It hits the bullseye because it was perfectly the right time, right message, right experience. The beauty of Wendy’s is that it’s a masterclass in short-term and long-term brand-building. No one ever sees the brand foundations, nor should they. All they should see are the totally relevant brand experiences and that’s what the Fortnite program was.
AME Awards: Any advice for entrants? Will you share your tips for entry success?
Amy Winger: Let your passion shine through. As a judge it’s easy to sniff out whether you are telling a story that you love to tell or filling out a form because your agency likes awards.
AME Awards: What cultural and/or social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?
Amy Winger: This year: Guns, immigration, climate change. Next year I hope it’s: Activism, real change, resilience.
AME Awards: What do you do keep your creative and strategic juices flowing?
Amy Winger: Three things: I read fiction not business books. I to talk to strangers. As in, I talk to people who are in Walgreen’s picking out greeting cards. Also grow tomatoes.
AME Awards: Who is your inspiration and how has this philosophy made you who you are today?
Amy Winger: My undergrad advisor, Robert Dana. He was a poet. He loved words, just not a lot of them.