10 questions with Didi Sutisna

Global Planning Director, Arnold Amsterdam

As an industry, we need to put all our efforts into acknowledging campaigns that are not only creative but also effective. It will push us all to create greater work across the board.Didi Sutisna


1. What are your top three criteria when deciding if a campaign is successful?
  1. Was it great work? i.e. Did it had the right amount of interestingness to make people engage with it (talk, question, challenge, improve, share, etc.)?
  2. Did it work? i.e. Did we gave the right answer for the client’s issue?
  3. Does it inspire both client and us to do more of it?
2.What are your favorite campaigns of all time?

There are a lot of campaigns that I admire (or even worked on). But I have to say that this week the following three—in no particular order—come immediately to my mind:

  • Molson Beer “Twin Label Technology”
  • Truth
  • Ben

The reason why these campaigns are among my all-time favourites is because they engage and involve the audience/target in a way that makes the campaigns stronger and effective.

3. Do you have any advice for our entrants?

Great results are just 50% of the work. Great work that achieves that will always get the highest score. So the challenge is to connect that killer chart with the emotional argument borne from the great creative idea.

4. How has the definition of success for advertising campaigns changed over the years?

Increase in competition among brands, products and agencies (advertising, media, event, digital, CRM, etc.) has put more emphasis in proving the effectiveness of what we do. Which has led to an over-reliance in “hard facts” like day-after-recall or link persuasion score.

But the good news is that I see a counter movement to this “scientific” approach to a back to basics thinking of what I like to call “Gossage’s Interestingness Theory”: We all know (and believe) that emotions lead rational thinking.

5. What’s the biggest campaign challenge you’ve faced as a creative?

I had a client who actually asked us to do the same thing he’d done the previous year, and the year before that. He preferred to do the same tried (and failed) thing over and over again rather than challenge the status quo of his category. He’d rather change nothing than create any effect because the effect might be a negative one. The fear of a negative result paralyzed him and his team.

6. What, in your opinion, is the number-one mistake to avoid when creating an AME entry?

Thinking that a good written story will “manufacture” the success of the campaign.

7. What can a small market entry do to compete with one from a large market?

The rules of creativity and effectiveness are the same in each market, no matter how big or small. The most important thing is to have a crystal clear focus on your chain of thought. A killer chart and an insight that has led to that helps tremendously. And the more culturally relevant that insight is, the better it will stand against the big global campaigns.

8. Which aspect of the AME Awards made you interested in judging?

The focus on effectiveness. I’d love for our industry to award great work that works.

9. How do you feel regional judging and maintaining an international jury affect the outcome of a competition?

Usually the international jury will look at the (big) human story/truth. The smart ideas that appeal to all of us, globally. They might miss the local cultural nuances that give that story more depth. A regional jury should be more in touch with that and recognize/reward the cultural context insight. The regional jury therefore is important to become the gateway in the first selection and make sure that the great ideas get through to the next round.

10. What do you consider the value of an AME Award to a winner?

For a lot of creative agencies out there I believe any award that acknowledges the effectiveness of their creative work is the single most important argument that their approach is right. As an industry, we need to put all our efforts into acknowledging campaigns that are not only creative but also effective. It will push us all to create greater work across the board.

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