10 questions with Alistair Beattie

Head of Strategic Planning for Europe, Middle East & Africa, DDB Europe

I have had a brief to sell tea in China. I'm still waiting for that one that needs to sell snow to Eskimos.Alistair Beattie


1. What are your top three criteria when deciding if a campaign is successful?

Did it meet stated objectives? Did it show a bit of flair and originality? Did it make the most of available resources?

2.What are your favorite campaigns of all time?

IBM Watson, Walkers "Do us a flavour", KLM "Tile and Inspire" are just three campaigns that have caught my eye recently.

3. Do you have any advice for our entrants?

Focus on the basics: Clarity of case, scale of proof, strength of proof. The main thing is to tell a good story, don't get lost in the details and remember the judges have a lot of them to read so a little humour is always appreciated.

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

I don't think it has to be honest – it's not judged in the same way as creative work, which is always understood in a cultural context and a continuum of other creativity.

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

Ha, lots, new ones every day. I have had a brief to sell tea in China. I'm still waiting for that one that needs to sell snow to Eskimos.

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

Please don't fill your submission with every award entry cliche you've ever seen. I will definitely be looking out for freshness and originality of presentation as well as well-documented, rigorous proofs.

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

Effectiveness isn't a question of scale, so there's no bias around whether the entry is from a large market or not.

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

Our industry is giving too many awards and they are becoming devalued. Marketing is becoming less important at board level in our clients businesses. We all have a duty to our own industry to emphasise the effectiveness of our creativity.

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

It's great to get a multinational perspective on anything, we can all learn a lot in this way.

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

Winners will gain the confidence of their colleagues and their clients, which will open up new possibilities in their future campaigns.

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