What makes great content-led advertising?

December 17, 2018

What makes for great content-led advertising? And what makes for great international content-led advertising?

As we begin to look forwards to the challenges and opportunities of the new year, I think it’s also important to take a moment to stop and reflect on the year that has gone by. Twelve months of effort and determination is no small thing, and we all deserve a chance to congratulate ourselves for the work that we’ve done!

The World Media Awards were created to celebrate the ingenuity and strategic planning involved in implementing international, content-driven advertising strategy and, as we move into 2019, we are looking for the best work from the past year. Caroline Foster-Kenny, CEO EMEA at IPG Mediabrands and one of our three co-chairs on the World Media Awards Jury believes that “Creating a multi-market campaign that really resonates is lightning in a bottle. It takes big thinking, painstaking research and close collaboration between local teams.” It is for all these reasons that the World Media Awards seeks out the best and brightest international content-led marketing campaigns from across 2018 in order to celebrate the hard-work, creativity and dedication of the team behind each one.

Having convened an independent jury of senior and experienced marketers, we have the perfect opportunity to find out what they believe are the hallmarks of great content-led advertising. Our judges have numerous suggestions of what might indicate an exceptional campaign, but there were several ideas that recurred throughout their responses: originality, human truth, and tangible results.

There’s a world of content out there and it is more important than ever for a campaign to have that spark of genius that helps it stand out: as Tanya Robinson, Global Brand Director at the National Geographic, puts it “entries that make you sit back and think – that give you an “AHA!” moment since they’re unique and well-researched.”

Alison Tyrell, Head of Content (Marketing & Media) at Sparkfoundry also agreed that she was looking for “Out-of-the-box thinking… Something that demonstrates they found an alternative and different route to solving their challenge – as quite often solutions (whilst possibly effective) can be lazy and lazy doesn’t shift the standard we set.”

Original and creative work has the potential to have a genuine impact on the target audience, above and beyond meeting the KPIs. And often the key to this is another of the judges’ suggestion of what makes a great advertising strategy – engaging the consumer on an emotional level.

Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes suggested a combination of originality and tapping into that human truth – he is hoping to see campaigns that “touch consumers emotionally through strong storytelling, as well as innovative uses of new technology.” However, designing an advertising campaign that connects with the target audience emotionally comes with added difficulties when thinking about a cross-border marketing strategy. Brodie Reid, Global Manager, Brand & Content, at Tourism New Zealand explained that “the very tricky challenge is finding a truth or insight that is relevant globally… Those truths are very hard to find on an international level.”

The best way to demonstrate that a content-led advertising campaign has successfully engaged with these global truths and connected emotionally with the target audience is by measuring the results of the campaigns against the objectives laid out during the initial planning stage. Richard Stokes, Global Head of Content at Wavemaker, said that he would be looking for  “meaningful content which consumers actively seek out [and] clear business outcomes of this effort and investment” whilst Thibaut Portal, Global Media Hub Leader at Pernod Ricard, suggested that winning campaigns would demonstrate “ideas or strategies that directly impact in a tangible way the business of a company by opening new business streams.”

Content-driven marketing campaigns have great potential to drive both brand awareness and engagement. As Jim Piercy, Creative Director of the Custom Studios EMEA/Asia at The Wall Street Journal and one of our co-chairs, said “When done right, content is a great way to drive a deeper engagement with an idea, a product and, by extension, a brand.”


We look forward to seeing how you have overcome your own challenges and created strategically clever, award-worthy campaigns.  And of course to celebrating your success!


Enter the World Media Awards at www.world-media-group.com/awards by 7 February 2019.