Q&A: Menaka Menon – ‘Effective Advertising and Creative Advertising are not two Different Things’

Leading up to her spot on the jury at this year’s AME Awards, we spoke with Menaka Menon, President at DDB Mudra South.

Menaka brings years of leadership and strategic insights with experience across advertising, design strategy consulting, broadcast media & the non-profit world; and having essayed roles across both the business as well as strategy functions, her worldview is strongly anchored in effectiveness.

Menaka has worked across categories from lifestyle to FMCG, BFSIs, entertainment and more. Throughout her career, she has worked with diverse clients and businesses, and across areas ranging from brand identity & positioning to solutions targeted at specific business goals, to designing & orchestrating behavior change solutions at an ecosystem level.


Over the course of our conversation, Menaka provides her perspective on data, AI, and corporate social responsibility, as well as sharing her insights on the attributes of award-winning work.

As a creative strategist, what stand-out attributes do you recognize in award-winning creative effective advertising?

Effective advertising and creative advertising are not two different things and award-winning creative effective advertising truly drives that point home.

Increasingly, the work that wins creative accolades is also that which demonstrates impact on business.

It is the work that has the power to move consumers that dominates the conversation on effectiveness too.


How has the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence impacted the effectiveness of advertising campaigns?

While the use of data has allowed us to become more targeted in our approach and solutioning, helping us tailor unique customer journeys; AI has gone a long way towards helping us up the overall output significantly, by enabling various tools to optimize the usage of data and insights.

With an increasing emphasis on corporate social responsibility, how do brands effectively communicate their values and societal contributions in their marketing strategies?

The first step is of course finding the right cause to back, something that is in sync with what the brand stands for. A misalignment between CSR goals and brand goals can make it very difficult to find an effective bridge towards communicating societal contributions by the brand.

A true representation of the contributions is also very significant, especially in times when one false move can lead to any amount of vilification on social media.

Finally, not delinking the CSR efforts and the brand efforts, but instead having the same teamwork on communicating the two, can really help build synergies and help effective communication.

Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?

Effectiveness competitions such as the AME hardwire accountability towards business outcomes and set high benchmarks for what good work is.

As an industry, the work that we’re all creating is ultimately targeted at achieving these outcomes, and having reputed bodies recognize such outcomes serves as a nudge for more and more such work to be created.

Of course, being a highly prestigious & much-coveted award also drives healthy competition, which is always a good thing, given it makes the quality of output go up as well.

This Q&A was published in partnership with The AME Awards. To learn more, including how and when to enter visit  www.ameawards.com

Gayle Seminara-Mandel

Gayle Seminara-Mandel

Gayle is the Executive Director of the AME Awards at New York Festivals.

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