Russ Meyer of CVS Health on Driving Action | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Russ Meyer of CVS Health on Driving Action


What will it take to have your work make it to the winners' circle? ANA's Judges' Journals features a series of Q&A sessions with leading industry executives participating on 2024 ANA Award juries. Gain insight from the judges on what they will be looking for and what makes the difference between a good versus award worthy submission. In this segment, Denise McDevitt, SVP of award programs at ANA connects with Russ Meyer, executive director of brand strategy and innovation at CVS Health and 2024 ANA In-House Awards Judge.

Every entrant wants to know what it will take to win an ANA In-House Excellence Award. What campaign components will you be looking for this year to distinguish good vs. exceptional?

Exceptional creative solutions come down to a few straightforward criteria. But that doesn't make them easy. I'll be looking for examples that are: Simple. Unexpected. Maximizing the opportunity. Driving action, not just perceptual change.

We have a variety of "realities" to work in these days, XR, AR, MR, VR, what priority will you be giving to entries that implement an integration of traditional and new tech realities in their marketing efforts?

It's easy to err by either getting distracted by the new, shiny tech solutions or dismissing them as not "tried and true." I will be focused on programs integrating new technologies that provide real, tangible benefits to the target, not ones that provide an opportunity for the creator to show off.

In the submission form, we ask entrants to impress and excite us with the "ah-ha" solution they developed. What elements are you expecting the entrant to share in this section? What are you hoping to learn?

I'll be expecting the "unexpected": fresh framing and insights into the problem being solved, the tension being highlighted, the idea they inspire or the outcomes they cause. I want to leave knowing something I didn't before – ideally something in plain sight that no one has articulated in quite that way before.

A key section of the case study submission is dedicated to how teams brought their big idea to life; for you as a judge, what details would you consider critical for entrants to include? What will it take for this section to achieve a higher score over other submissions?

Big ideas are about maximizing the opportunity presented, not about size. It isn't about the size of budget, number of channels executed, the sheer volume of material created or the flash in the marketplace.

An effective performance evaluation framework is critical to show the value a marketing campaign delivered. What type of evaluation framework do you use when assessing marketing efforts? What metrics and KPIs will you expect entrants to provide in their submissions?

Marketing efforts must be assessed against metrics that matter. Eyeballs and clicks are no longer enough. Performance is about measuring actions that directly accrue to tangible business results.

Risk taking and effectiveness, sometimes friends, sometimes foes. How have you handled the balance in your marketing efforts, and how will you weigh these elements in your judging of the In-House Excellence submissions?

Risk taking (i.e., the unexpected) must be a part of every winning entry. At this stage, a well-run, well-done program like anyone else's is not going to stand out. The exciting fact is the unexpected can come from many aspects of an entry.

My last question – if you could offer just one key suggestion, one request in your role as an In-House Excellence Awards judge to teams preparing their entries. What would it be? How would you complete this sentence, "If nothing else, be sure your submission..."?

If nothing else, be sure your submission... is clear about the tangible actions the target took as a direct result of your idea and execution.

Recognizing excellence in results-driven marketing, the ANA In-House Awards program is dedicated to showcasing the most creative, strategic, and growth-driving advertising created by any type of in-house team dynamic. The final deadline to submit work into the 2024 In-House Awards program is February 9, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Denise McDevitt is SVP of award programs at ANA.