Perry Fair, who’s done everything from run ad agencies to lead brands to jamming in a jazz band, has been tapped as the Show Chair for the 2021 AMP Awards for Music & Sound. His appointment was announced by Georg Bissen of MetaTechnik, National Board President of AMP.
Fair is currently EVP/ Global Executive Creative Director and Director of Entertainment at McCann, a new role at the agency. Before that he was with Juul, where he served as VP of Global Brand Management, leading global branding, creative and design.
The first African American to run a publicly-traded agency, during his 20 years in the industry Fair has shepherded relationships with such clients as Apple, NFL, Nissan, adidas, Nike, US Marine Corps, Activision/Blizzard, and Diageo, to name a few.
More recently, he’s worked at brands including Beats by Dre and Red Bull. Earlier in his career he held creative leadership positions at agencies including TBWA\Chiat\Day and Grey before being named President and Chief Creative Officer of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta.
Perry’s experience as a creative and business leader span general market, minority, traditional and digital agencies, and he’s won almost every major award in the industry, in addition to judging many of these shows. Now based in Los Angeles, he mentors young and aspiring professionals by helping them build their portfolios and interview skills to gain jobs in advertising and marketing. In addition to writing film scripts, he and his wife give back by building houses in Central America for families in need.
Fair’s relationship with music and sound goes beyond his role as an advertising creative leader. Having studied jazz composition and performance in high school, he played alto saxophone and trombone in bands during his college years. Music runs in his family, he adds: his sisters play flute and piano, and his father sings.
“Having someone as talented and experienced as Perry to serve as our Show Chair and lead our curatorial process is a huge plus for the AMP Awards this year,” said Bissen. “From Red Bull to Beats to his agency work at McCann, Grey, TBWA and other shops, he’s demonstrated a deep appreciation for the power of music and sound to help consumers forge emotional connections with brands. And that’s at the heart of what AMP members do.”
Fair said he feels the AMP Awards are a fitting way to recognize the contribution music and sound companies make to the finished product of an ad. “I love the fact that it brings the spotlight to music and sound as the primary form of excellence,” he said. “It says we’re going to pay attention to this, and to the craft behind it, from the eyes, ears and emotions of experts.”
As for music and sound’s role in advertising, Fair added, “together they’re an amazing storytelling vehicle that lets us communicate without words. They enhance the stories of our life and the work that we as creative people do.”
When combined with brand messages, music and sound are powerful elements, he noted: “Going all the way back to jingles, they drive the emotion and recognition that surrounds brands. I’ve always said that the artful use of music and sound can turn a good idea into an amazing idea.”
Growing up in Texas and having lived on both the East and West Coasts, Fair says his musical tastes range just as far. “Music has always been an important part of the fabric of my life, and influences how I relate to work,” he said. Indeed, when evaluating creative, his own musical experience and knowledge comes to bear. “You always want to know, why did the creatives choose these sounds, or this song? How does it make you feel? Knowing music like I do – from being able to read music and play it to understanding what goes into the mix – helps me understand and appreciate just how it’s working to drive the story forward.”
The only juried advertising competition to focus on the unique contributions made to the industry by creators and producers of music and sound, the AMP Awards are judged by agency, label, publishing and music production professionals.
In addition to its 13 category winners, it will also present a Best In Show honor, named for the late Droga5 music supervisor Ryan Barkan, which will be chosen by its Curatorial Committee from among the top category winners.
The 2021 AMP Awards is accepting entries across its 13 unique categories through April 30. Full entry details can be found at the AMP Awards entry portal here. Winners will be presented virtually at an event scheduled for this summer.