Joe Carter, Partnerships Director, Colenso BBDO

AME Grand Jury POV: Joe Carter

2021 Grand Jury member Joe Carter is Partnerships Director at Colenso BBDO Auckland, New Zealand. He fuels the thinking of APAC’s leading creative agency and client marketers with the insight, strategy and creative inspiration to create the most commercially effective work.

New York, NY | March 09, 2021

AME's Grand Jury members include some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising, marketing communications, and brand building from agencies around the globe. Their extensive expertise and experience are recognized globally for exceptional achievement within the industry. AME’s Jury members are respected worldwide for their awarding-winning campaigns and commitment to ground-breaking effective work.

2021 Grand Jury member Joe Carter is Partnerships Director at Colenso BBDO Auckland, New Zealand. During his 3-years at Colenso, Joe has been uncreditable to the success of work such as Pedigree SelfieSTIX, Spark Kupu and DB Export I’m Drinking It For You. His responsibilities are completely undefined. But he fuels the thinking of APAC’s leading creative agency and client marketers with the insight, strategy and creative inspiration to create the most commercially effective work.

In a diverse eight years, Joe’s rolodex of clients and new business wins is category-agnostic – from Disney to Netflix, ASOS to Red Bull, there aren’t many global brands that he hasn’t touched in one way or another.

His experience driving the commercial direction for Contagious Magazine was a game changer. Learning the why behind the world’s most effective work, companies, trends and technology has put Joe in an uncomfortably comfortable position – landing job titles that are more Head of TBC, coupled with a solid understanding of why creativity is a brand’s best competitive advantage and how to make meaningful work.

In the interview below Joe shares his insights and observations on what  he recognizes in outstanding effective creative, the evolution of brand positioning, why he's sharing his experience with the AME jury panel, guidelines for entrants and more.

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

Joe Carter: Interesting problems which help redefine a category. I believe that uncovering truly interesting problems canlead to unconventional solutions which truly break convention. Fame and revenue are well-documented and well-evidenced outputs of truly creative work and, as a result, the most unconventional creative solutionstend to punch my lizard brain in the gut.

AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?

Joe Carter: We’re not paid to create fluff. Given that an overwhelming amount of advertising is ignored, not remembered or these days simply blocked, effective advertising is much harder to come by. As an industry, it can be valuable to take stock, shine the spotlight on and learn from the work that means something to both the customer and the brand. And until we need to stop proving (read: screaming into an echo chamber) that the most creative work is the most effective, there will always be room on the calendar (and the hearts and minds of advertisers) for effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards.

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. 

Joe Carter: It’s a great question. One that will be answered very differently depending on where you live. The advertising we’ve seen living in COVID-free New Zealand is definitely unique but I don’t think I’ve seen a singular global brand voice during COVID. Some responded with empathy. Others with comedy. Most didn’t respond at all. The brands that will be remembered, locally and globally, are the brands that didn’t think like accountants. They stood up and took action in their community, putting their customers and stakeholders ahead of profits. For some reason I’m still optimistic that the global pandemic has created more opportunities for our industry, forcing us to accelerate change quicker than anyone would have imagined in 2020. Personally, it was incredible to see the number of companies who started to properly plan and talk about sustainability and environmental issues, both at a board level and in the agency briefs – but that’s a whole other conversation that every company should be having.

AME Awards: What mediums will take the lead in 2021 and what will take a backseat?

Joe Carter: The most effective and inexpensive medium in 2021 should be direct mail. Everyone’s at home and, personally, I open everything that comes through the letterbox. I would love to see direct mail retaliate against its younger sibling, email. Yet email and other first-party-data-owned mediums will most likely see huge investment in 2021. Professor Scott Galloway describes it as dispersion, and as more brands make the complex shift from offline to online experiences for their customers, that’s where you’ll see the media money go. I don’t think we’ll ever say goodbye to radio, but as voice technology and podcasting become more adopted and commercially accessible, less money will be invested into traditional radio advertising – but, all things being cyclical, that will make radio ripe for innovation and it will return with an audible bang.

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?

Joe Carter: The second part of this question answers the first. Each show is a huge learning experience. The opportunity to debate the most recognized work in the world – what makes it excellent or what could be better – with some of the most recognized creative and strategic leaders in the world is phenomenal. And to be able to participate remotely from a small island in the far corner of the earth was unimaginable at the start of 2020. The biggest learnings for me will be how the media mix in 2020 shifted around the world (i.e. where are customers now hanging out), how we as an industry overcame those challenges (almost overnight), and what success looks like in a year of devastation. 

 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?

Joe Carter: This changes every day. Today my all-time favourite is Volvo Epic Split. When I worked at Contagious, the editorial team interviewed the agency leads behind the work. It was only then that I realized that this was actually a B2B campaign targeted at one person. The ambition and success of the creative reframed my perception of B2B marketing, and influenced a lot of my thoughts and ramblings over the last few years at Colenso. Our relationship to inanimate objects like trucks continues to fascinate me. 

AME Awards: What advice or guidelines would you give to potential entrants on earning an AME Award?

Joe Carter: If it was your mortgage on the line, how would you enter it? Kinda kidding. I’ve always been advised to make the problem, solution and delivery clear. And cultural context can often make or break an entry – please include it!