AME’s Grand Jury represents some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising and marketing communications. The AME international 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 Jury member Alessandro Panella is Managing Director for Serviceplan Consulting Group. Since 2016 Alessandro has served as Managing Director of the Serviceplan Consulting Group, a brand and marketing consultancy that is part of the Serviceplan Group. Additionally, Alessandro heads the CMO council: an exclusive group of C-Level marketeers that meet regularly to share their thoughts on current marketing challenges.
His client experience includes numerous prominent brands (excerpt): Beck’s, Deutsche Telekom, P&G, Vodafone (Client side), Allianz, REWE, Swisslife, Google, Ferrero, Metro, GSK.
Alessandro started his career at Grey in Geneva, moved to Grey in Brussels and Düsseldorf where he was responsible for the European Account Lead of several P&G Brands (Mr. Proper, Fairy, Lenor). After 5,5 years he left Grey to join Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in Düsseldorf and Münich as Senior Project Manager. Alessandro spent 4 years at Roland Berger and then joined Vodafone in Düsseldorf as a Marketing Manager. He later returned to Grey to serve as Head of Planning and then took on the role of Chief Strategy Officer for the Grey Group. In the last 7 years Alessandro helped Grey EMEA become Agency Network of the Year 6 times in a row. Throughout his career he has won more than 20 effectiveness awards. Alessandro sat on several Effectiveness Juries (Euro Effie & AME Awards)
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?
Alessandro Panella: First they are all based on a human and a cultural truth which we can all relate to and which creates emotional relevance for the work. Second: in my view campaigns that transform opinions all take a stand and express a clear point of view: that point of view shouldn’t necessarily be shared by everyone, but it clearly states what the brand stands for and what not and thus serves as a rallying cry for the ones who share that point of view. Marmite long standing campaign “you love it, or you hate it” is in my view a great example of a brand that dares to take a clear stand and do that in a very consistent manner over the years. Nike’s much discussed “Dream Crazy” is another example.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Alessandro Panella: Such competitions are key because they demonstrate the value that creative ideas can help create for businesses or organizations. Although there is a body of evidence (The Long and the Short of it from Les Binet & Peter Field) that prove the economical relevance of creativity – for instance the fact that fame-driving campaigns are 4x as efficient as the average campaign – it remains often challenging to convince key marketing and communication decision makers to embrace outstanding creative work.
AME Awards: What makes you share your time and energy to participate on the AME Grand Jury and what do you hope to learn?
Alessandro Panella: What I’ve learned from participating to effectiveness juries is that you always get very different perspectives from the jury members when discussing the cases. The way a creative or a strategist looks at the case is very different, and even two people of the same discipline can have a very different point of view on the case. Another thing that is very interesting is to see what matters most to jury members from year to year. Depending on what’s going on in our industry and the topics that are being most actively discussed, some judging criteria become more important than others. Last but not least, Grand Juries are always a great opportunity to meet great people within our industry!
AME Awards: Any advice for entrants? Will you share your tips for entry success?
Alessandro Panella: When we write cases, we put a particular attention to the following topics:
- Don’t fill a form but tell a story: the most convincing cases are the ones who manage to engage the jury from the first line with a story that acts as a real threat from beginning to end. To get there it also helps to involve the person with the most heart for the campaign in the writing of the case study.
- Be clear and concise: juries have a very limited time and read your case on their laptop or mobile: so, make it “reader friendly” by focusing on the most important elements
- Match the category: make sure the metrics you will use fit perfectly to the category. Sometimes entrants tend to use the data points that are most impressive and build a story. around it. But if those metrics don’t fit the category, you’re entering the case in, it just weakens it.
- Nail the insight: make sure you really have a powerful insight as the base of your creative strategy. If you have consumer research to back it up even better.
- Context is key: Do not underestimate the importance of benchmarks - and providing reason for those benchmarks. Give enough context around the challenge, so that a judge that is not familiar with that category can understand why the situation for your brand was challenging. The best cases clearly articulate the challenge for the brand, the category and competitive landscape.
- Make your idea shine: The idea is the pivot which turns the smart analysis of the problem into a unique solution that none of our competitors could emulate. Therefore, spend enough time in crafting the formulation of your ideas and demonstrating how it fits to your insight. Crafting the idea doesn’t mean writing a complex text to describe it. If you can’t describe your idea in one sentence, then that means there wasn’t an idea to start with.
- Present results effectively: There should be clear proof that the communication campaign played a role in driving success. Make sure the way you present the results align with the objectives established upfront. Use simple graphs. Last but not least, make sure the results are “believable”. Jury members tend to be skeptical when they see an overachievement of +850% and think the objectives were simply not ambitious enough.
AME Awards: What cultural and/or social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?
Alessandro Panella: With all the discussion going on about environment, I am curious to see whether some ideas will be entered that support that cause and helped make a real difference. Also, I’m expecting to see some entries build on the topic of Brand Purpose and show how a brand made itself strong to support a societal cause. Looking at the work that won in Cannes, Brand Purpose played an important role and I’m eager to see how many of these campaigns can also prove that they truly help make a difference and change people’s behavior for the better.