In The Hot Seat – James Pass

We chat with James Pass, Managing Director at JPd, who talks about his current role and offers his thoughts on the marketing industry in the Middle East.

Name: James Pass

Nationality: British National

Age: 42

Current job title: Managing Director at JPd

When did you first arrive in Dubai? 1998

Where did you work prior? Landor Associates

What were your first impressions of the PR and marketing industry in the Middle East?

The PR and marketing industry has come a long way from my early days in the region. Previously, the industry was still in its infancy stage with few players around, however, today it has evolved into an extremely competitive environment. Considering the entry of many international brands into the Middle East, the PR and marketing industry has moved much further than just the traditional approach.

Has your opinion changed much?

Over the years, I have seen the industry grow and produce ground-breaking and revolutionary work and some key campaigns. The change has definitely been welcoming – be it in print, digital or social media. The level of creativity has also grown with some extremely talented young professionals producing exemplary work.

Tell us about your current role…

Being the Managing Director at JPd, I oversee client’s progress and work delivered. I make sure we accomplish our set tasks to make sure all the client’s needs are met.

What challenges do you face?

With JPd being well known for Strategic Branding & Design, the PR division was recently launched. Building creditability and awareness within a competitive landscape for the PR division which is a fairly new offering is something that we are tackling every day.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

At JPd we pride ourselves on the quality of work we deliver – quality over quantity any day!

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Via e-mail.

What are some of the corporate communications strategies you have used that led JPd to become an award-winning agency?

Building clarity amongst ourselves about a client’s expectation and from there working towards those objectives has been our winning formula.


How have clients’ expectations in today’s digital community influenced PR and marketing in the UAE?

Reduced lead time on project completion for start! Digitalization has also encouraged us to be a bit more visual and adopting a 360-degree approach across all the platforms.

How has social media in the region evolved to become an integrated part of the PR industry?

Brands are taking their presence on social media much more seriously. Earlier, social media presence was just an add-on, but brands are now using these platforms to reach out and engage with their customers. This has allowed the PR industry to get more creative with their campaigns and approach too.

Describe yourself in five words…

Creative, Ambitious, Passionate, Driven and Humble

What inspires you?

Creativity and distinctiveness

What’s your most overused saying?

“Let’s Rock”

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

Winning Gold’s, two years in a row at the Transform Awards MENA

Five things you can’t live without?

iPhone, MacBook, Flipbook, Instagram, Coffee

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?

The ability to speak multiple languages.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?


What’s your favourite form of media (i.e.; TV, radio, print)?

I love a well-executed campaign regardless of the platform.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in PR and marketing in the UAE?

Attention to details! We work in an industry where most of the work is open and in spotlight. Paying attention to those details can help you a lot in your career.