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Stephen Peaple

QATAR - Telecoms & IT

Eyes On The Screen

Group Editor and Creative Director, Agency Fish

Bio

Stephen Peaple studied Art, Design, and Graphic Communications at Epsom College of Art and Design. Together with Julian Jordan, Stephen Peaple created Fish in 1994, one of London’s first digital creative agencies. With the company’s move into publishing in 1997, he created the unique joint role of Executive Editor and Art Director, ensuring that editorial was treated with the same attention to detail as design. Now Group Editor and Creative Director, he is responsible for the effective brand positioning of clients, conceptualizing and overseeing editorial and creative content that dovetails with a client’s marketing plan, with a specific focus on the Middle East and Asia, where he has 15 years’ experience.

TBY talks to Stephen Peaple, Group Editor and Creative Director of Agency Fish, on why the company came to Qatar, creative design, and the advantages of print and online publications.

Agency Fish is a globally active creative publisher. What were the reasons behind coming to Qatar?

The catalyst for us entering the market in Qatar was our winning the contract to publish Qatar Airways’ Oryx magazine, and our position was further cemented in 2012 when we launched the Oryx Premium magazine, which is exclusive to the airline’s premium customers. We have offices in London, Perth, and Jakarta, and bureaus in a number of other territories, including New York, Istanbul, Paris, and Doha.

Agency Fish specializes in branding and custom publishing. What unique or standout features do you add to the local media sector here in Qatar?

Clients tell us it is our unique mix of creativity coupled with our experience of the local market. In publishing, we approach projects from our position as a design agency. Our focus is on creating an engaging brand universe that delivers on the aspirations and commercial requirements of clients through strategic and compelling editorial. We won the Qatar Airways account with this creative approach, which has also seen the Oryx and Oryx Premium magazines win more than 50 global awards and accolades for editorial, design, fashion photography, and illustration. We had been working with clients throughout the Middle East for about a decade before we came to Qatar, and have an extensive network of specialists that we draw upon from our 20 years in business.

Printed publications are increasingly being challenged by virtual and online content. How are you incorporating online platforms into your services?

There’s been a train of thought for several years that online will see the demise of print. This is somewhat of a myth, and reminds me of The Buggles song, “Video killed the radio star.” Online and print deliver very different experiences and, when used in context, complement each other rather than compete. Interactive elements in printed titles, such as augmented reality, QR codes, and the like can work well; however, readers of physical titles are not looking for the immediacy of online from print, otherwise they would be online. Mobile is an extension of Generation Y and Z lives, and both its immediacy and ability to deliver two-way communications must be integrated into the marketing mix, but online also provides huge clutter. Print allows you to tell a story with more breathing space, and in-flight is the pinnacle of this breathing space, as there is very little competition for eyeballs. The challenge is ensuring clients are using all mediums available appropriately to deliver the needs of their customers, and that is what we have always done.

What are the specific objectives of Agency Fish in Qatar for the next five years?

There is huge international interest in Qatar as it continues its meteoric growth in all areas of life, business, R&D, sports, culture, tourism, and social and environmental development. The Qatar National Vision 2030 provides the framework for this, and business and consumer demand will continue to adapt as the physical structure of the country changes. Agency Fish’s aims are to continue to be a part of this growth and attract like-minded businesses that understand that content is king, regardless of platform.

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