One of our D&AD Membership perks is our Members’ Spotlight feature that takes a moment to celebrate the work of different industry professionals. Each interview gives creatives a virtual soapbox, asking what they’re currently working on, what are they most proud of, and if there were one piece of work they wish they’d been responsible for, what would it be?
Meet Mike Wiese...
Introduce your place of work
I head the Branded Content and Entertainment practice for J. Walter Thompson in New York, and frequently support our offices across the global network. I lead creative and strategic direction for digital video, scripted and unscripted film and television, social content, live experience, licensing, distribution, and influencer partnerships. JWT clients include Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, Royal Caribbean, Unilever, Nestle, Schick, Rolex, Puma, Google, Shell, and the US Marine Corp.
I work within the creative department, alongside the ECDs. My role varies. On any given project I am a writer, producer, talent agent, distributor – all with the objective of making something that builds an audience and creates fans for our brands. The great thing is every client, idea and solution is different. It might be a YouTube channel, documentary film, or live music event, and each have different strategies, partners and KPIs, so I get to wear a lot of hats (or briefs).
What are you currently working on?
I’m programming our brands with an always-on content strategy, to help them transform into media and entertainment brands. I spend a lot of time on digital video and YouTube strategy. Branded Content has evolved from the one-off film series, to brands being the studio and network. If BMW Films launched today, it would most certainly be a YouTube or premium Over-The-Top (OTT) channel.
I have several projects in development with Macy’s that range from a scripted comedy to unscripted formats, and live music experiences. I am also excited about a new project with Nestle.
What work are you most proud of?
This may be a cliché, but I’m proud of everything I’ve worked on. Getting a “yes” from clients (and the gauntlet of account people who want to say no) is a challenge, if pitching a 3D film with James Cameron, or a 3-minute web video shot with an iPhone.
Most recently, I liked our digital series we co-produced last June with AwesomenessTV for Royal Caribbean. I loved the insight: parents need to get their kids buy-in for vacation, so get Millennials to want to go on a cruise. I like the Macy’s work, and the “Yes Virginia” franchise. I’m also very proud of having co-created and co-executive produced FIVE as a TV movie, licensed to Lifetime Network and Sony TV, and distributed around the globe. It all started with a great idea and campaign from Jaime Rosado and our JWT Puerto Rico office for Susan G. Komen Foundation. And to go way back, to 2001, making “Terry Tate Office Linebacker” and seeing it become a Super Bowl moment, still talked about each year in the buildup to the game, remains a branded entertainment milestone.
OFFICIAL - Terry Tate Office Linebacker "Superbowl Spot"
What work from our Awards Archive makes you think ‘I wish I’d done that’ and why?
Branded Content and Entertainment is a relatively new category, so the archive is still being formed. But Volvo Trucks “Epic Split” and Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” are testament to the impact branded content and entertainment makes on pop culture, and work I’d love to say ‘I wish I’d done that.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?
JWT is the first and only advertising agency I’ve worked at, with my experience previously being on the production company, studio and talent agency side of the business. One of the traps of being inside an ad agency is to be fooled into thinking “activity equals achievement”. We are great at having client meetings and making fancy presentations, and talking about big ideas – but never really making anything.
A few months into my time at JWT, a senior business director pointed out we had nothing to show for our time spent with a client on a particular brief. So in less than two weeks we produced a pop-up concert with a documentary film, street artists, fire breathers, open bar - in New York City, for less money than some brands spend on catering a management meeting. I think we scared the client’s PR team and freaked out legal. We made an idea come to life, and it reminded me to never stop hustling. We need to always have something in development to produce.