The Special Forces of the Advertising World

originally posted on : www.libbonline.com

The AME Awards’ Gayle Seminara Mandel on the importance of results and why effectiveness awards are so important in 2018

The AME Awards - standing for Advertising & Marketing Effectiveness - do exactly as they say on the tin. Part of the wider New York Festivals group of award shows, AME has been focusing on campaigns’ effectiveness and results for more than 25 years. “Entries earning an AME Award are like the special forces of the advertising world,” says AME Awards director Gayle Seminara-Mandel. “Risk-taking, creative and strategic campaigns that have stamina and go the distance on behalf of the brand.”

Eager to know more about both the AME Awards and the general position of effectiveness awards in 2018, we caught up with Gayle to find out more.

LBB> How do the AME Awards sit within the wider New York Festivals umbrella? 

Gayle> AME stands for Advertising & Marketing Effectiveness, and it’s been a standout competition within the New York Festivals family competitions for a quarter of a century. What sets AME apart is that it’s entirely focused on results. Entries earning an AME Award are like the special forces of the advertising world…risk-taking, creative and strategic campaigns that have stamina and go the distance on behalf of the brand. 

LBB> Why is effectiveness such an important thing to scrutinise? 

Gayle> Effectiveness is the bottom line and results mean the consumer has taken action.  

Clients want results. Creative work dazzles and takes the viewer on a journey, if at the end of that journey the viewer doesn’t know if the ad was for a resort, an insurance company or a soft drink…no one is going to buy it. At AME, we ask the entrant to prove that the campaign accomplished what it intended to do. A campaign’s art direction, writing, or production values are all worth noting and admiring, however, if it didn’t move the needle for the brand, it’s not worthy of an AME Award

LBB> How do you see awards of this type right now? With clients more and more interested in creative awards, are ones that award client effectiveness more important than ever? 

Gayle> Research has shown that cause-related messaging is of prime importance to consumers. Consumers are besieged with ads from every platform and in every area of their lives. Yes, clients are still interested in creative awards; bottom line, they want results. End of story, campaigns that entered AME worked!

More and more brands are committed to taking a stand on issues that resonate with the ideals of the brand and the consumer, including: Patagonia (The President Stole Your Land) launched after President Trump reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah; Airbnb (#WeAccept) took a stand on diversity following President Trump’s decision to temporarily close the USA’s borders to refugees; and Stella Artois’ (Buy a Lady a Drink) was a partnership with water.org to provide clean water to women/children in developing countries. Yoplait, P&G, Lyft, Heineken, Nike, and many more are brands that have all stepped up for social good.

For 2019, AME expanded its competition categories to showcase effective campaigns whose goals are to encourage social good and beneficial behavior that result in positive movement and outcome for individuals, causes, society, and the welfare of animals and the environment. AME’s Creativity for Positive Impact categories include six distinct categories.

LBB>  In previous years, how have the winners compared to those of more creative-led awards shows? When is the most creative work also the most effective?

Gayle> Winning entries in the AME Awards typically knock the ball out of the park, creative + effective = AME Award. 

Effectiveness equals results and I believe it goes hand in hand with creativity. It takes both a creative and strategically effective approach to deliver results. 

Many of AME’s big winners were based on extremely creative ideas that delivered brilliant results and did well in other international competitions. For example, ‘Dead Whale’ , from Dentsu Jayme Syfu, last year’s Best of Show (AME Grand Award), AME Regional Platinum Award/Asia Pacific, and AME Green Award winner. The campaign also bagged a Gold Lion, three Gold Clios, a Grand Prix from AD STARS and most recently a Wood and a Graphite Pencil in D&AD. 

2017’s Best of Show (AME Grand Award), Serviceplan Group Germany’s ‘DOT - The first Braille Smartwatch’ also took home a New York Festivals Advertising Awards First and Second Prize Towers and an NYF Global Award. Dot also earned a Cannes Silver Lion, D&AD Black, Yellow and Graphite Pencils, the Epica Grand Prix, and a Clio Health Grand. 

LBB> What do entrants need to prove if they want to win an AME Award?

Gayle> The easy answer here is RESULTS. 

LBB> It’s been argued that it’s easier for some sectors - retail, for example - to prove a campaign’s effectiveness. The numbers are more tangible, and they have lots of ways to track shopper experience, sales, etc. How do you acknowledge this at the AME Awards? Is it something that you have to address? 

Gayle> Mobile data has changed everything. Results are so important and there are specific metrics across every platform to measure performance. AME entrants provide thorough details as part of the brief and as part of the case study. And with case studies all the information can be put in front of the judges in a cogent way. 

LBB> The jury for the AME Awards is separated into regions - why is that? Is work judged in regions too? Does it move to a global level after the regional round? 

Gayle> AME divided the Grand Jury into five regions (Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and North America) because we feel that audiences in different parts of the world relate to campaigns based on their own regional points of view. We’re diligent about recruiting strategic and creative leaders who understand the region to ensure fair and effective judging. 

The entire panel of judges in the third round are viewing all Gold-winning work to determine Regional Platinum Awards and Best of Show, the AME Grand Award - the ultimate in Effectiveness. 

LBB> What is the judging process like at AME? Does it differ from NY Festivals’ other award shows? 

Gayle> All AME submissions are reviewed prior to judging to ensure that all the elements are there in their proper format. Every entry is judged online, allowing jurors to judge within a private setting without distractions while judging at their own pace.   

AME’s Grand Jury judges all three rounds using the benchmark of creative execution and marketing effectiveness, specifics from the written marketing brief, and a comprehensive presentation of the work are all taken into consideration. And of course, evidence of measurable results is of the utmost importance.

The jury scores entries using four criteria each weighted by importance with a matrix that breaks down to 30% based on Results & Effectiveness, 25% each pulled from Creativity and Execution and 20% from Challenge/Strategy/Objectives.  

LBB> Any parting thoughts?

Gayle> I’m especially excited about the inception of the AME Advisory Council this year, their experience and wise counsel will infuse AME with added agility. 

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