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. Their experience make them experts in creating results driven work on behalf of global brands. As award-winners themselves,their stellar reputations and commitment to creative and effective work set the benchmark for innovation.
2021 Grand Jury member Nuria Serrano brings years of experience delivering results-driven work for prominent brands to the Grand Jury. She recently has started a new adventure as a Strategy Consultant with what she likes likes to call a free-range attitude, one that helps clients find greener pastures by going beyond their everyday fences. As a former Chief Strategy Officer for VCCP she has a long experience as a strategist, having worked for global and independent agencies including JWT, Publicis, and Sra. Rushmore. She has a strong international background developing winning strategies for clients across Europe and as Hispanic market planner in the US.
In the interview below Nuria shares her perspective on innovations changing the way agencies work, why effectiveness competitions are important, observations on the brand's voice during COVID and much more.
AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Nuria Serrano: Effectiveness is key. It always has been. But the truth is that only in the past few years has the advertising industry finally understood it’s meant to be a fundamental part of the conversation between everyone, even creatives. To ensure effectiveness has always been a key component of the strategist´s job description, but now it is finally a shared interest across the entire agency.
One of the main drivers behind this evolution are awards. They always have been a major source of motivational energy for our industry. Now many competitions around the world are including effectiveness into their categories. Historical and renowned awards such as the AME Awards are the leaders to be followed.
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.
Nuria Serrano: Never has the quote “There is nothing permanent except change” (Heraclitus) been more present in our lives than now. Brands have had to accept change as a means of survival and will still need to accept dramatical change in the next months. Since the start of the pandemic, brands have dreamed of a “before and after” situation and the much-desired holy grail of the “new normal”. My belief is that only those brands that have internalized change in their ethos will be the true champions.
In Spain, a market that as you all know has been hit very hard by COVID, it has been particularly tough for brands to adapt and endure. Unfortunately, many brands have fallen into partial or total silence. Their inactivity or late response has not allowed them to take advantage of opportunities like the online boom the country has experienced. Some brands did shift quickly and addressed the consumers´ needs, but few were bold enough. Regrettably, the general trend has been to keep a low profile, and that is probably the reason many of the Spanish campaigns this year are quite bland, like elevator music. There are some exceptions, of course, which I hope to see in the AME Awards submissions!
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?
Nuria Serrano: Innovation is now running the world. I believe it is a challenge for agencies to keep up with the fast pace of change. Some agencies are understanding this situation much better than others, but many are facing other critical problems which are making them lose focus. Innovation requires investment and time, which is not something many agencies are willing to spend right now. For me the only successful future is one that relies on interdisciplinary joint efforts. Partnering with technology pioneers, academic thought leaders, avant-garde artists, etc. will be what really makes a difference. And, of course, including the amazing thinking and creative power of agencies.
Big data and AI will continue to play a great role, but we need to be open to new possibilities, for example in the field of neuromarketing.
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?
Nuria Serrano: Participating on any jury is always amazing. You learn from the cases, from your colleagues, from the choice of criteria, ... But learning is not the only thing that motivates me to participate. Every single time I have been a jury member I have felt a bit like entering into Alice’s Wonderland. It allows me the opportunity of getting away from daily routines and be able to “live” inside the strategic and creative work of amazing professionals and agencies. Like Alice, sometimes I feel bigger and sometimes I feel smaller, but I love it when I feel smaller because it means that I’m having the opportunity of watching amazing work. That’s what I’m sure will happen on this year’s AME Grand Jury experience!
AME Awards: What advice or guidelines would you give to potential entrants on earning an AME Award?
Nuria Serrano: This is probably the hardest question to answer. The first thing that many planners would do is give a list of dos and don’ts. I’m guilty of having done that as well in the past, but my experience has taught me that it is never as easy as going through a checklist. My main piece of advice would be to start early and spend as much time as possible “thinking” about what makes a best case. Approach it like any other work you do: think about who is your target, what motivates them, how much understanding of your context they need, what is your main message, what would they be looking for, etc. Step into their shoes and try to think like they would. You will probably end up understanding that they will be judging with a complex mix of feelings which include admiration, jealousy, and even suspicion. Be clear, be humble, focus on the idea, and select well the results you choose to share.