Q&A with Jim Piercy, Creative Director, Custom Studios, EMEA/Asia at Dow Jones

December 19, 2017

Jim Piercy, Creative Director, Custom Studios, EMEA/Asia at Dow Jones and also a judge for the World Media Awards which are now open for entries UNTIL 25TH JANUARY 2018. You can enter here.

General questions:

Q. What are you hoping for most when you judge the awards?
Jim: Interesting creative executions that demonstrate an understanding of the client problem, and illustrate the solution clearly.

Q. What advice can you give potential entrants for creating a winning entry?
Jim: Be clear on the aims of the campaign, and crucially consider how the results reflect the original challenge. A common mistake is show results that bear no relation to the original brief.

Content/native advertising questions:

Q. What are the most important factors to consider when creating content-led advertising? (e.g. story, relevance, length of content, type of content, media partner)?
Jim: Why have you chosen content? What is a content campaign doing that display (for e.g.) can’t? Why would the audience choose to spend time with your content piece?

Q. Content needs to be able to attract audience’s attention, not simply disrupt and annoy. What’s the key to truly engaging content?’
Jim: You have to consider the value the content gives the audience. The best content must inform or entertain – preferably BOTH.

Q. With so many new content platforms and formats available, how do you make branded content campaigns work across a variety of different platforms?
Jim: You have to be mindful of different formats/platforms and how they’re engaged with. There should be an overarching campaign structure and idea, but how that plays out across platforms and formats can be very different, or at least nuanced.

Q. What are the killer questions an agency/media owner should ask a client to ensure that their content brief is fit for purpose?
Jim: Why content? If they can’t answer that they need to go back and ask themselves what their strategy is.

International planning questions:

Q. What three pieces of advice would you give a brand about to embark on a branded content campaign that needs to work across multiple countries/regions?
Jim: Again, be mindful of the reason for doing content. Content isn’t a media or a platform, it should be an idea – what does that idea mean for the client and, by extension, the worldwide audience.

Think about cultural differences – beyond things that could be offensive or sensitive. And that goes for English-speaking territories too. There are nuances in tone, humour etc that need to be understood.

Spend time in the target market.

Q. Do some content platforms work more universally across multiple regions than others? E.g. does video work well everywhere but editorial content work better in some regions than others?
Jim: I don’t see any evidence of that, because the question talks about formats and not specific ideas. We need to frame the conversation for clients around world-class creative ideas, not how they’re being delivered.

About you:

Q. Your favourite band/artist?
Jim: Stevie Wonder

Q. Your favourite film?
Jim: A Room for Romeo Brass

Q. Who are your creative heroes and why?
Jim: Too many to list, but people who stuck to their vision and didn’t care what anyone else thought of it

Q. Your favourite restaurant or bar?
Jim: Bar Stories in Singapore – no menu, just chat to David and he creates a bespoke cocktail.
Restaurant – St John in London

Q. Your guilty pleasure?
Jim: I don’t feel guilty about any form of pleasure