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“Creating Work that Works Is Our Real Purpose”

Trends and Insight 191 Add to collection
eurobest Creative Effectiveness and Creative Strategy jury president Amanda Fève, chief strategy officer, Anomaly, on the effectiveness she hopes to discover at this year’s eurobest Festival
“Creating Work that Works Is Our Real Purpose”
Amanda Fève is a partner and chief strategy officer at Anomaly Amsterdam, where she partners with clients to define how brands communicate and behave to unlock growth in an increasingly complicated and cluttered world, which will no doubt help her in her position as president of the creative strategy jury at eurobest 2019.

Here, she explains how vital it is to remember the fundamental purpose of our industry, as well as what she’ll be looking for when it comes to celebrating great strategy at the European awards.

Q> As the jury president for the Creative Effectiveness and Creative Strategy Awards, how important is it for creative work to have a lasting impact for a brand and to drive commercial results?
Amanda> Our industry is obsessed with outputs. ‘The work’ is our primary currency; we have a rich vocabulary we use to talk about what we made and where it lives, yet all too often the conversation ends there. Assets made. Assets deployed. Job done. On to the next one. It’s precisely why awards such as Creative Strategy and Creative Effectiveness are so important - because they recognise that ‘the work’ is a means, not the end. Much like strategy, in fact. The fundamental purpose of our industry is to help our clients’ businesses grow, which means we need to shift the conversation from ‘what did we make?’ to ‘what did it do?’ I believe that a campaign can only be counted as a success if it changes attitudes and behaviours and delivers commercial results. It’s therefore not just ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important; creating ‘work’ that works is our real purpose. We forget that at our peril.  

Q> Why is creative effectiveness important in today’s industry landscape?
Amanda> When the effectiveness experts say we are in trouble - and back up that call with evidence, we must take heed and respond in kind. When our industry’s leading experts bemoan short termism, the triumph of tactics over strategy, ad fraud, or a crisis in creative effectiveness, our only viable response is to seek out and celebrate truly effective work.  Moving forward, we must be relentless in our pursuit of making, and measuring, impact.

Q> Your career has seen you move from New York, London and now to Amsterdam. How have the cultural differences in these cities influenced your work?
Amanda> One of the great things about moving is that it encourages you to stay curious. The US is such a big market that it can afford to be insular. When I moved to London I initially worked on a mix of domestic and global accounts, and my focus broadened from merely learning about new client businesses and categories to learning more about cultures. My first UK account was a big FMCG client, who described its target audience as ‘Lorraine Kellys’. I had to swot up quickly on who she was and what that meant - just as I had to learn quickly about local drinking culture from Brazil to Lebanon and beyond. Amsterdam is even more ‘global’ because so much of what we do is designed for export. It pushes us to develop ideas with universal appeal that can travel, resonate and endure.

Q> What are the biggest factors influencing the European creative industry at present / how has it changed?
Amanda> It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times. The best of times because there are more opportunities and outlets for creative problem-solving than ever before. The worst of times because the competition has never been tougher. If we are going to survive, let alone succeed, we need to stop fetishising disposable creativity and start demonstrating and celebrating the commercial value we create for our brand partners.

Q> How has being a eurobest jury president inspired you and your work?
Amanda> I’ve looked to past award winners for inspiration throughout my career. Award winners serve as an indirect teaching tool that helps hone strategy craft skills. This year’s crop of eurobest entries has introduced us to big ideas that tackle familiar problems in fresh ways, creating real cultural impact and commercial value. The best advocate for our industry is lasting ideas that deliver results, so we’ve looked for cases that made a counter argument against the creative effectiveness crisis.

Q> What is the best industry tip or advice you have received in your career?
Amanda> Do the right thing, not the easy thing. It’s an internal principle we at Anomaly hold dear, even though the right answer is often far harder to deliver. Doing the right thing starts with asking the right questions. When we spend more time interrogating a problem and asking better questions, we dramatically increase the likelihood of delivering better answers and better results.
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Anomaly Amsterdam, Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:52:46 GMT