AME's Grand Jury member's ability to create results-driven work for prominent international brands makes them respected globally for their award-winning campaigns. They have a reputation for innovation, creative excellence, strategic prowess, and the ability to deliver distinctive and effective results for global brands. The 2021 jury panel thoughtfully reviews all entries and sets the bar for effective excellence.
2021 Grand Jury member Ali Cheikahali is Creative Strategy Lead for Google. He leads Google’s regional efforts to drive innovative work at the intersection of data, technology, and creativity. In his role, he helps brands and agencies across EMEA navigate from critical business problems to prototyping and testing using Google tech and design thinking to 10X their creative impact. Before joining Google, Ali was one of the most awarded creative strategists from the region. He was named among the Top 20 Planners Worldwide by the Drum’s Big Won Rankings in 2018 and MENA Planner of the Year by the B&W Report in 2017.
In the interview below Ali shares his perspective on why data and Ai will play a bigger role, how the brand's voice changed during COVID, new trends coming into play, why efffectiveness competition are important, and much more.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Ali Cheikhali: Effectiveness has always been the ultimate purpose of advertising; work that works. But this has never stood any truer than today. What could in some periods be seen as a choice, today has become a necessity. The COVID age has prioritized the need for delivering business results and thus forcing brand marketing and advertising to directly contribute to that. Awarding the work that does that in these times sends out the right message to the industry.
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.
Ali Cheikhali: Naturally, at the beginning of the pandemic we saw brands flock to showcase empathy and play an active role in their wider communities to help. As we approach a year from that period and new normals have turned into just normals, brands have resorted to their initial values and tone of voices - as they should. Today, the focus is increasingly on performance and delivering business results in a relatively new and growing digital environment. So, moving forward brand positioning, values and tone of voice will serve as an advantage to gain and retain customers and edge out competitors in what is a very messy digital user journey.
AME Awards: What innovations are changing the way agencies create on behalf of brands or launch new products? Does big data and AI play an even bigger role today?
Ali Cheikhali: Data and technology will play a bigger role than ever! As a majority of the user journey shifts from offline to online, more user data will be available to brands which provides more insight into customers and in turn will/should inform the creative work. the process will require testing and iterations for brands, particularly the ones new to it, but ultimately will lead to much more effective work that works.
AME Awards: What new creative trends have come into play this to deliver creative and effective results?
Ali Cheikhali: Embracing technology and data at the inception phase of the creative process. With digital transformation exponentially accelerated during the pandemic, creatives have been increasingly integrating technology and data into their creative concepts and ideas and taking them into consideration at an earlier stage in the creative process as opposed to being an afterthought. We will continue to see this more down the line as new breeds of creatives join the industry.