AME's Grand Jury are experts in creating impactful results-driven work for prominent brands.The 2022 jury panel includes some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising, marketing communications, and brand building from around the globe. Their stellar reputations and commitment to both creative and effective work set the benchmark for innovation.
Grand Jury member Archana Mahadevan is an award winning strategist who brings 15 years experience to the jury panel. She is currently the VP, Strategy Director at DDB, Chicago. and has worked on such prestigious brands as Google, State Farm, La Quinta and US Army.
AME Awards: Are brands investing in long term brand marketing effectiveness plans and what strategies are most successful and why? Any standout examples?
Archana Mahadevan: The brands that have stood the test of time and continue to remain top of mind follow simple strategies when it comes to effectiveness.
Unexpected works: At DDB, we believe truly creatives are inherently unexpected; they’re the ideas that you never saw coming, the insights that truly surprise you, the approaches that go counter to the category. We call that the ‘unexpected’, and it’s what we strive for on every brief.
Lean into the truth: Hidden behind the layers of complexity is a simple human truth around why the brand matters and why people should care. While rationale is important, the right emotional depth creates lasting relatability.
Measuring the right metric: If you don’t invest in understanding what’s working in moving the business, then you aren’t learning and planning for the future. Every communication is an opportunity to learn and re-invest that learning to fuel new ideas.
My favorite example of a brand and campaign that ranks high on all the above is the popular Snickers “you’re not you when you’re hungry”. It is highly relatable, unexpected for the category and has stood the test of times because it leans into a human truth that’s unquestionable.
AME Awards: How have brands become more intentional about their value and purpose and how has it changed the overall creative tone of campaigns?
As the world is evolving, consumers are conscious about the brands they associate themselves with and are using their wallet to change the world. A purpose-driven brand with a clear value proposition creates a lasting impact.
Impact based messaging has been at the forefront of not just award-winning campaigns but also businesses that move the needle. In commoditized categories, purpose driven messaging can enable a brand to rise above the competition and connect emotionally.
AME Awards: What lanes of technology are agencies/brands investing in to deliver more effective messaging?
Archana Mahadevan: Invest in learning: Continuous data-driven learning and optimization is extremely important in understanding effectiveness. GenZ er’s are a dynamic cohort much like the world they are living in. The only way to connect with this discerning consumer is to keep your pulse on what they care and what they’d ignore.
A deep understanding of web3.
While this is not directly technology, it’s important to invest in being inclusive, no matter what the tactic is. As the world moves to metaverse /web3, the inevitable new shiny object, it is a chance to start over and create a parallel world that is inclusive.
AME Awards: Is influencer marketing evolving? What avenues are most successful?
Archana Mahadevan: Ultimately, art creates influence. It pushes people interacting with it to imagine an aspirational universe. The notion that anybody with internet can influence a new generation of audience is both powerful and scary. Much like other avenues that have gained popularity, the influencer marketing space is filled with clutter that doesn’t always have the thumb-stopping power. To continue to connect with people, we need to go back to the basics. It is important to find connections between people, brands and the influencer endorses. In a world filled with feeds that are paid by algorithm, it is even more important to show up in an authentic way.