Mike Frease of Whirlpool on Creativity | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Mike Frease of Whirlpool on Creativity

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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, senior vice president, award programs at ANA connects with Mike Frease, head of creative at Whirlpool and 2024 ANA In-House Excellence 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?

As always, originality and craft. And I'm a sucker for a creative insight I didn't see coming.

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?

If the tech enhances the idea or is integral to the consumer connection, turn that's great work. Just stuffing an idea into tech when it doesn't fit usually doesn't work.

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?

This is all about that unexpected connection between the brand/idea and the consumer. If it's your "ah-ha" it should be an "ah-ha" for the judges too.

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?

Great ideas are tough to make. Maybe even tougher today with all the sensitivities. Tenacity always wins with creativity, so showing how a team powered through adversity or found a new way to make it happen should score well.

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?

All the work we make should be effective. Period. The secret is aligning on the role of the work and what makes it effective. Sometimes building a brand is hard to measure in the short term.

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 makes other creatives jealous/envious.





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 16, 2024.

Awards will be presented to top in-house teams for the best advertising and marketing projects of 2023 across thirteen different categories plus the In-House Agency of the Year honor at the In-House Excellence Awards Gala, a special evening reception/dinner awards ceremony event at the ANA In-House Agency Conference & Awards Gala | May 15, 2024 | Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, California.


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.

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