Midas Awards Grand Jury Spotlight Interview: Bill Girouard

The Midas Awards recruits its global Grand Jury from the top agency and client leaders who have worked in the world of financial advertising, as well as international experts in financial policy and communications. The Midas Grand Jury is tasked with selecting the World's Best Financial Advertising and the results of their efforts are parsed in an annual rankings brief, The Midas Report and The Midas Brand Report —a veritable who’s-who in the world of financial services advertising.

In this week's Grand Jury Spotlight interview the Midas Awards spent a few minutes with Bill Girouard, SVP, Creative Director, Arnold Worldwide USA. In his 20 year career, Bill hasworked on such prominent brands as McDonald's to Aston Martin and everything in between. His most notable work of late is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's, "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign. His award-winning campaigns have garnered trophies at Midas, Cannes, Effies, Clios to name a few.

Keep reading to find out Bill’s thoughts on judging the Midas Awards and work from around the globe, the challenges of working in financial advertising, how the field has evolved since he started in the business and more!

Midas Awards: Why did you agree to participate on this year’s Midas Awards Grand Jury?

Bill Girouard: I’ve judged the Midas Awards a few times now. I do it because I’ve worked on many, various financial accounts through the years and I know how hard, and often thankless, it can be. Judging and celebrating great work in this category is my way of saying “Thank you” to all those who try so hard every day.

Midas Awards: Is it difficult to judge work from other countries around the globe? What are the challenges and benefits?

Bill Girouard: Great work is great work, regardless of culture, language or anything else. It always shines through. There are the occasional cultural nuances, but those are taken care of in a sentence or two in the campaign write up. However, cultural differences are what is an attractive aspect of judging this show. When it comes to the financial category, we’re often all in the same sandbox and it’s easy to reach for the same old toys. Seeing how others reach for toys we never thought of can be incredibly inspirational.

Midas Awards: What’s the biggest challenge to working in financial advertising?  What’s on the horizon for financial marketing and advertising?

Bill Girouard Let’s face it, a lot of financial advertising feels and looks the same, no matter where you are in the world. Parody products and skittish clients can do that to you. However, the influx of technology, both in the financial industry and in ours, can really give everyone the opportunity to act in ways we never have before.

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

Bill Girouard:  I began doing financial advertising more than twenty years ago. Bankers were like doctors: demigods of the community. The work was often stogy and boring and nearly always from the POV of, “Look how great we are.” Technology and the global financial crisis have altered that outlook. Financial industries need to earn trust. They need to provide service. They need to innovate. To their credit, many have. The mindset has changed from “You’d be lucky to do business with us” to “We’d really love to do business with you.” That’s an enormous shift and one that should make life (and creative) better for all of us.

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