The AME Awards honors campaigns that hit the bullseye for brands, triumphing in both creativity and effectiveness. AME's powerhouse Grand Jury are repected industry pro's known for their contribution to the industry. As award-winners themselves and experts in effectiveness their ability to recognize ground-breaking results-driven work truly sets the bar for this year's competition.
2021 Grand Jury member Leroy Adams is a Creative Strategist and a member of the young advisory board at the world-renowned full-service agency Jung von Matt in Hamburg, Germany. He has worked for international clients such as BMW, adidas, Zalando, Vodafone, Nivea and Bosch. However, his heart actually beats for working with early-stage startups. He believes in building business around brand and has helped shape Jung von Matt’s latest advances into the startup world.
Audio Strategy is one of Leroy’s other areas of focus. Most recently, he was involved in creating BMW’s first fictional podcast ‘Hypnopolis‘, which won Adweek’s Branded Podcast of the Year Award 2020.
In the interview below Leroy shares his perspective on stand-out attributes in winning work, changes in the brands tone of voice during COVID, thoughts about audio as a strategy, his all time favorite and more.
AME Awards: As a strategic creative, what stand-out attributes do you recognize in award-winning creative effective advertising?
#1 They are timely.
Rhetorical theory teaches us that certain speeches are remembered for centuries while others fade in memory not only because of their rhetorical brilliance but because they were held just at the very right moment. This holds true for advertising.
#2 They’re unique.
The simple fact is: our industry doesn’t value re-runs.
#3 They deliver on a strong insight.
Someone smart once said “true insights make the mind grasp what the intuition has always known”. This makes insight-based advertising particularly memorable, which again is the most important attribute of effective advertising.
#4 They’re emotional.
While this is not a general rule it goes for many greatly successful and effective ads. People cared, that’s why they shared.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Leroy Adams: In advertising, creativity works in the service of effectiveness. However, who works in advertising knows this doesn’t always apply in practice. Many campaigns do not have clearly defined, measurable objectives to begin with. And many ad-makers routinely disregard the few established learnings on what makes an ad effective. Of course, creativity can and should never be fully tamed and applied to measure. But it can be used in deliberate ways. That’s our job as advertisers. The more effective we are in using it deliberately, the better we are at our jobs. The AME as one of the most prestigious effectiveness awards makes us (and our clients) remember this and has done so for many years.
AME Awards: How has the brand’s voice changed since the pandemic confinement measures? Speak to the evolution of brand positioning, values, and tone of voice during COVID.
Leroy Adams: When the pandemic struck brands had to find an appropriate tone of voice. Some terribly failed and left us with entertaining bloopers. Many just uttered the same platitudes as the next brand. Most eventually found the right tone of voice and pivoted their brand towards the changed customer values, buying behaviors and so on. Companies that did a great job at this were Netflix, Ford, Guinness and many more.
However, my biggest COVID takeaway was that brands truly reflected on their societal role and purpose. This was further fueled by the massive social upheavals during this time, like the Black Lives Matter Movement. In 2020 brands stood in solidarity with protestors, employees and even competitors, like a small German frozen pizza brand, which urged its customers to buy at their local Italian restaurant. Some brands even pivoted their businesses to provide crucial equipment to fight the pandemic.
COVID made brands switch from a customer-centric to a more human-centric POV. It made them discover and cultivate their societal responsibility. Sure, many didn’t and still used “we’re in this together” rhetoric. Gladly, people were quick to call bullshit (adidas can relate).
In short: 2020 was the year of growing brand responsibility. And that’s a great indication. I’d love myself a world in which most of our creative thinking was applied to helping brands add more actual value to our lives. Sometimes it’d probably be as simple as not adding more debt to our planet.
AME Awards: What new creative trends have come into play this to deliver creative and effective results?
Leroy Adams: While audio is not a new trend its various new technologies and formats have yet to be fully explored in terms of creative potential. Audio strategy is still gravely underappreciated by many brands. That’s why I’m really looking forward to see if any of this year’s entries used audio in cool ways.
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?
Leroy Adams: I recently heard professional strongman Robert Oberst say there were only two things he ate during competition: raw peanut-butter with honey or a Snickers. Admittedly Snickers is a great second option if your first option is raw peanut-butter with honey. Still, I want to believe he said that because of the brilliant ‘You are not you when you are hungry’ campaign. Everything about the effectiveness of this campaign has been said but, of course, two things stand out: (1) it delivered on a very true insight and (2) made snickers the only chocolate bar we consider a small meal.