Pearl Vas, Vice President Strategic Planning, Taproot Dentsu

AME Grand Jury POV: Pearl Vas

2021 AME Grand Jury member Pearl Vas is Vice President Strategic Planning for Taproot Dentsu, she brings years of experience in Account Management, Global Marketing, and Strategic Planning to the jury panel.

New York, NY | February 23, 2021

AME's powerhouse Grand Jury are known for their global reputaton as innovators and their ability to deliver distinctive and effective results for global brands ensure that the entries they judge are reviewed with attention and with an international perspective of industry standards and trends.Their high standard of excellence ensures that AME’s 27-year legacy is upheld and respected globally both by winners and industry reports measuring creative distinction.

2021 AME Grand Jury member Pearl Vas is Vice President Strategic Planning for Taproot Dentsu, she brings years of experience in Account Management, Global Marketing, and Strategic Planning to the jury panel. She has helped shape the course of several brands of Fortune 500 companies including Abbott, Discovery, Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline, Kimberly Clark, Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, Pearl believes good advertising is that which ‘makes you feel something’ or ‘sparks a new perspective’. Great advertising does both.

AME Awards: As a strategic creative, what stand-out attributes do you recognize in award-winning creative effective advertising?

Pearl Vas: It’s never so much an attribute as a feeling. Good advertising triggers what I like to call, the ‘lean in, sink back’ effect. It instantly draws you in, making you go “wow” and thereby it imprints a memory – because as humans, the moments we never forget are the moments in which we ‘felt deeply’ (irrespective of the emotion) or the moments that ‘sparked a new perspective’ – because when we feel deeply is when we we’re most alive and when we learn something remarkable for the first time is when we subconsciously feel we’ve evolved. And that is primal! Great advertising of course does both… makes you feel something + sparks a new perspective… and that has you leaning in going “wow” and then sinking back in your chair going “now why the f*ck didn’t I think of that!”

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.

Pearl Vas: I believe that in this time, more than ever, one key emotion surfaced as the most important core and filter for any communication – and that emotion is ‘authenticity’. When COVID19 struck and countries went into lockdown, we saw a flurry of tone-deaf communication that tried to leverage a global pandemic. Sometimes it’s better to stay silent and have people wonder if you have nothing helpful to say than to communicate and remove all doubt.

The brands that resonated the strongest were the ones that were authentic – they seemed to ask themselves if their brand and their product(s) had an authentic role in current times before deciding whether to speak or hold their peace… and when they did speak, they had the decency to do so to communicate their answer to the pertinent question – what can I DO to help?  

We speak of the importance of brands being in sync with culture. And perhaps we haven’t looked at it this way but COVID19 has been the great global unifier that has impacted every aspect of culture. With all distractions stripped away and nature having literally sent us to our rooms to reflect… we’ve all been strongly nudged to become more authentic about who and what really matters. Brands that paused to reflect on this have not only stayed relevant but also gained our respect. And it’s always easier to love those whom we respect, isn’t it?

AME Awards: Media consumption has changed dramatically how has this affected the marketing mix?

Pearl Vas: The marketing mix today is more exciting than ever! Consumers are now consuming, all the time. From the time we wake up, check our messages and social media, map our driving route to work or book a cab, read / watch / listen to content enroute… have you been able to keep track of how much you’ve consumed already? And this is just the first couple of hours of the morning!

What’s more, we’re now not only consuming constantly but also via a much wider array of screens, platforms and apps…! For an advertising enthusiast this is super stimulating because you’ve gone from a very small box of toys to a room full of toys to play with. Each new toy represents a bundle of new opportunities. So learning how each new medium lends itself differently towards different possibilities and limitations, should be more exciting than intimidating. Because we get to do more and to do it differently and to perhaps do it better – isn’t this what creativity is all about?

Each toy in the box is super unique – the consumer is in a completely different mindstate when using say Maps vs when on a Video Streaming Platform. So the medium really does dictate the message. Of course your starting point should be to spot where, or rather where all, your consumer organically is and to be present there… but what do you say ‘there’? Customizing that, so your brand delivers the most relevant message at the most relevant moment in your consumer’s life, is the playbook all of us get to write and then re-write because it’s all happening in real time! I mean, what a hell of a ride!

AME Awards: Why did you agree to participate on this year’s AME Grand Jury and what do you hope to learn by viewing entries into this competition?

Pearl Vas: Being a part of the AME Grand Jury is not only an honour but also a gift. It’s like Santa identified and sourced all the most creative and effective work from around the globe, catalogued it, gift-wrapped it and placed it under your Christmas tree. You don’t have to wonder what to get, make a list, go looking for the items from shop to shop, wrestle through the holiday crowds… none of that. It’s all curated and right there! And you get to sit down and unwrap one delight after the other!

And it’s the gift that keeps giving because… it’s very easy to fall in love with an idea you or your team came up with. But when you surround yourself with ideas bigger than yours, or just different from yours… that’s where growth comes from. It’s also what keeps you humble and hungry. Thank you AME.