Jonathan Faerber, Strategy Director, Scholz & Friends Berlin

AME Grand Jury POV : Jonathan Faerber

2021 Grand Jury member, Jonathan Faerber is a Strategy Director at Scholz & Friends Berlin, one of Germany’s most awarded agencies in the recent years. Jonathan has built a track record of bringing creative solutions to complex communication categories like energy, home appliances or banking.

New York, NY | March 15, 2021

AME's powerhouse Grand Jury are repected industry pro's known for their contribution to the industry. AME's Grand Jury of Strategy Directors, Managing Directors, CMO's, CEO's, CCO's, Chairman, social media experts and other prominent executives are some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising and marketing communications. They are experienced  experts at creating results driven work on behalf of global brands.

2021 Grand Jury member Jonathan Faerber is a Strategy Director at Scholz & Friends Berlin, one of Germany’s most awarded agencies in the recent years. Jonathanhas built a track record of bringing creative solutions to complex categories like energy, home appliances or banking. He previously worked as brand strategist at Leo Burnett Shanghai for clients like McDonalds and Coca-Cola prior to joing Scholz& Friends. In addition to working for Scholz & Friends, Jonathan is a guest lecturer at his home university in Göttingen and also the Universität für angewandte Kunst in Vienna.

In the interview below Jonathan shares his thoughts on what attributes he recognizes in standout work, what advertising will look like this year, how the voice of the brand has changed during the pandemic, and why effectiveness competitions are important.

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

Jonathan Faerber: On a meta level: the most striking advertising often is bold enough to overcome long-established category conventions.

On a personal level:  The most powerful evaluation tool is probably the question “how big is the chance that I would share this campaign with my best friends?”

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

Jonathan Faerber: We have to be honest: right now, the big majority of advertising people encounter day after day is far from being something they could enjoy. It’s a waste of time. And a waste of company resources.

Awards like the AME help us to form a counterpoint. They raise the bar and set an example that creativity is a win-win solution.

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.

Jonathan Faerber: We see an evolution of tonality.

After the first shock and orientation phase many brands across all kind of categories used their marketing budgets for emotional and moving Covid-Vignette-Campaigns that turned out to be extremely generic – as the playing field was rather small in terms of messaging and also imagery – which had to be stock-material most of the time.

Later more and more brands let loose and accepted the fact that even if Covid-19 has changed our lives – it does not mean every single ad has to be Covid-related.

Quite contrary the most effective Covid campaigns will be those not directly addressing the pandemic itself but grant people a now more than ever needed little moment of joy.

AME Awards: What will advertising look like next year? What brands have evolved and succeeded during this year and why?

Jonathan Faerber: For quite some years we have seen brands from toothpaste to automotive all bet on the same meta topics e.g. sustainability. It’s a somewhat “mono-messaging” with Corona becoming the ultimate eye-opener for how exchangeable advertising can be if everyone talks about the same stuff in the same ways.

Marketeers and their agencies will either have to find very own and unique ways of talking about meta-topics - or we will see a comeback of old school more product-related campaigns. Which can also be a liberation.