Midas Awards Grand Jury Spotlight Interview: Andrew Phillips

The Midas Grand Jury is instrumental in selecting the World's Best Financial Advertising. This all-star jury of award-winning creative executives is recruited from the most prominent agencies and corporations in the world of financial advertising. They come to the judging table with enviable experience, brilliant creative chops and dedication to the industry. 

2017 Grand Jury member, Andrew Phillips is Marketing Director at National Health Insurance - Daman. He has over 20 years experience in marketing and communications and has held senior positions for prominent companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Thurya Telecommunications Company. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Applied Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science.

In the interview below,  the Midas Awards shines the spotlight on Andrew Phillips. Keep reading to find out more about Andrew’s thoughts on how technology has impacted financial advertising, what’s on the horizon for the industry, what he would be doing if he wasn't working in advertising and much more!

Midas Awards: What is your opinion of the Midas Awards?

Andrew Phillips: We entered MIDAS for the first time last year and won two gold and two bronze awards. We’re a small health insurance company based out of Abu Dhabi and we were competing against the best the financial world had to offer. To be in the same virtual room as the best in the world is an honour and really, that says it all. We were truly privileged to be there and to win based on the quality of the campaign was incredible for us. MIDAS is all about the work and our industry is no stranger to producing excellent and impactful creative.

Midas Awards: Will you comment on the international reach of the Midas Awards?

Andrew Phillips: MIDAS has global reach and into new markets too. The diversity of clients and campaigns that are presented at the awards proves that excellent creative is not reserved to developed markets. New markets are producing great campaigns that are helping to keep us all on our creative toes.

Midas Awards: Why did you agree to particpate on the Midas Awards Grand Jury?

Andrew Phillips: There are so many practitioners of fantastic financial creative out in the market and these guys need to be recognized for the work that they do. Giving up a small amount of my time is the least I can do to celebrate excellent creative. For me also it’s beneficial and a great learning experience to see what the best in the world looks like.

Midas Awards: What do you look for when determining whether a campaign is successful and award-winning?

Andrew Phillips: Great creative talks to you but the trickiest part of the process is understanding the scale of the problem faced in local markets if you are not there yourself. Distance erodes empathy, so you really need to put the time in to research and get under the skin of the problem in order to truly feel the campaign.

Midas Awards: What is the biggest challenge to working in financial advertising?

Andrew Phillips: I guess there is the traditional stigma attached to financial advertising that can be a bit structured, template driven and boring. This is probably the biggest challenge – a perception issue for our industry. It also represents the biggest opportunity as great creative work that is really disruptive can be truly appreciated.

Midas Awards: How has financial advertising changed since you started working in the industry?

Andrew Phillips: Over time there has been a shift from rigid adherence to global templates that govern local market behavior, to a more flexible local market execution. Obvious pioneers in this space are HSBC and Visa where the international format has been flexible enough to make local insight work. This has led to some fantastic campaigns in smaller markets, especially with regard to social media campaigns. This also another paradigm shift as the ownership of our brands are now migrating to a shared model as social media has given our target audiences more influence over what we do as marketers. In years to come I can see a virtual world where the back end processes of the financial industry, is given a face that is created by our customers.

Midas Awards: How has technology impacted creative in the financial advertising industry? What brands have used technology in a unique way to attract the digital consumer?

Andrew Phillips: Digital integration has been happening behind the scenes for the past 5 years so this concept is not a new one. There are examples in Europe whereby a blue chip insurance company is run by four directors with the back end processes either automated or outsourced. Technology is getting more complex as we begin to understand human behavioural patterns. In our company, we process roughly 2.5 million health insurance claims each month on average for a population of 9.3 million. If we didn’t have a rule engine with over 2 million pieces of logic, processing this volume would make us potentially a much larger employer than we actually are. Automation and digital technology helps us deliver the quality of service that we do. We will never be 100% reliant on digital though, as the one thing that is predictable about human beings…. We’re unpredictable.

Midas Awards: What's on the horizon for financial marketing and advertising?

Andrew Phillips: I believe that we will see more digital assets that revolve around our core propositions. Financial marketers will look into adjacent markets to build loyalty for their customers. Campaigns will focus on building new and deeper relationships with their customers on an individual and personal level. Big Data is helping us define what these micro target audiences are, what they do and how they behave. We will become increasingly more personal with our customers.

Midas Awards: What is your favorite advertising campaign and why?

Andrew Phillips: Priceless.  For the simple reason that it’s timeless.

Midas Awards: What inspires you?

Andrew Phillips: My daughter and my wife. They throw up new insights and can be incredibly blunt with feedback. It’s often the best way. They are also my litmus test when it comes to campaigns and initial creative concepts.

Midas Awards: What would you be doing if you weren't working in advertising?

Andrew Phillips: I could have been a professional rugby player if I hadn’t stuck with my career in advertising. But there’s something incredibly addictive about being in the industry. I still get the same buzz when a campaign breaks as I did when I was a junior Account Exec learning the trade 22 years ago.

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