Grand Jury Perspective with Levente Bálint

CEO, White Rabbit Budapest, Hungary

New York, NY | November 30, 2017

The AME Awards International Grand Jury represents some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising, marketing, and communications from 5 regions around the globe: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and North America. AME recruits these prominent award-winning industry execs, known globally for their strategic expertise and creative expertise, and tasks them with selecting the World’s Best Advertising & Marketing Effectiveness.

The AME Jury evaluates entries with the utmost attention in two rounds of judging. Following regional judging, the international Grand Jury reviews all Gold-winning work from all regions in an additional round of judging to determine a Platinum Award for each of the five regions.

This week’s Grand Jury Perspective features Levente Bálint CEO, White Rabbit Budapest, Hungary. Bálint found his passion for advertising at J. Walter Thompson Budapest, and as Client Service Director he was responsible for the operation of the agency for more than 10 years. He combined his international knowledge and established White Rabbit Budapest with his creative partners and has been running the agency as CEO for more than 10 years.

Bálint brings years of creative and leadership experience to the judges table. His trophy shelf includes awards for work created on behalf of prominent brands from the top global competitions including a collection of Effie’s (including Platinum), that made White Rabbit the 75th most effective agency of the world. Other accolades include: D&AD, One Show, Cannes Lions, New York Festivals, ADC Global, AdStars, Mobius Awards, Kinsale Sharks, Cresta, Golden Award of Montreux and Lisbon International Advertising Festival.

Bálint spent a few minutes with AME sharing his creative insights on how judging influences his creative process, why he agreed to serve on the 2018 jury, how entries vary from region to region his favorite ad he created and much more.

AME Awards: Does judging the year’s creative work within your industry influence your creative process?

Levente Bálint: Absolutely, yes! As one of the judges of AME Awards I have the privilege to see the best creative and also effective works our industry produced. I believe all of us are following the trends and news, but here is the opportunity to experience the compilation of best practices.

AME Awards: Why did you agree to judge this year’s AME Awards?

Levente Bálint: Actually, it wasn't a question at all! I immediately decided to accept the invitation, because it's an honour to be the member of the world class jury of AME Awards.

AME Awards: How do the entries differ from country to country?

Levente Bálint: From let's say geographical point of view: as much as the countries differ from each other. But I believe it is more relevant to see this from consumer point of view. There are global insights, those require global approaches, global solutions and in the case of such campaigns there is no significant difference defined by the given country of origin.

But if we go local (I love to go local anyway) we find local issues. To experience this we need to dig into the culture and understand the special circumstances. One of the best recent example for this is the Immunity charm campaign for Afghanistan.

AME Awards: What was a defining moment in your career?

Levente Bálint: After more than a decade at J. Walter Thompson with my creative partners we established our own agency, White Rabbit to go on our own way. And then we won several Cannes Lions, D&AD, Clio... One long moment!

AME Awards: What’s your favorite ad that you created?

Levente Bálint: We created a promotional campaign for Heineken Hungary, where the goal was to attract consumers to drink their beer in the pubs, because from Heineken they got the Perfect Draught. So, we got to the idea to have billboards next to each and every Heineken pub, and each billboard featured the actual bartender of the given pub standing behind the tap and saying: "I give you a Perfect Draught!" We had a countrywide Heineken bartender photo shooting roadshow and more than 600 billboard mutations were developed. This campaign was a perfect example of an effective and also creative idea, since it got both Effie Gold and Silver at Cannes Lions.

AME Awards: In your opinion, what is your favorite ad that embodies both creativity and effectiveness?

Levente Bálint: The latest one I was amazed by is the launch campaign of the TV series The Young Pope - Aimen (Papal Artificial Intelligence). It is so smart, the idea and every little piece of the execution is directly inspired and derived from the "product". Not to mention that I was watching all seasons of The Young Pope like "hell".

AME Awards: What iconic individual (past or present) from advertising would choose to join the AME Jury, and why?

Levente Bálint: Unquestionably Howard Gossage, the first hero of creativity and effectiveness. For more reasons read the book of Steve Harrison: Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man.