Yesterday we introduced you to the five talented individuals who took out coveted trophies for their advertising and design skills at last week’s B&T 30 Under 30 Awards. And now we bring you the media agency peeps!
And say hello to the media agency winners! They’re all posing with Greg “Sparrow” Graham, communications director for GroupM.
John Dawson – strategist at Mindshare
John is one of the few able to turn a hobby of watching too many YouTube videos into a career. After graduating with a degree that requires a pause for breath in between – a bachelor of arts with a double major in government and international relations and Spanish and Latin American studies – John discovered the world of media agencies.
He has an accolade of industry recognised awards under his belt in his few years in the industry and much of his work has been shortlisted at Spikes Asia, and the Festivals of Media, global and Asia Pacific.
Media agencies are finding themselves at a turning point in the ever changing media landscape, and it is this directional movement John is getting giddy over. “With a strong point of view on how brands must evolve their advertising to take advantage of changing technology and adapt to an empowered consumer, I believe that I am a future leader in the media agency industry,” he says.
But, the media industry faces the challenge no one outside the industry can name the big guys, he says. “While the likes of JWT, Ogilvy, Saatchi are almost household names, you’d be hard pressed to find many in the business community who would know the names of media agencies, let along be able to describe what they do,” he says. “For firms that have built their reputation on building awareness for the biggest brands in the world, the lack of knowledge of our presence and possible contribution to business is leaving media agencies out of the room when key marketing decisions are being made.”
Increasing media agencies’ profiles won’t come with buzzwords like ‘cross-media attribution’ and ‘rea-time optimisation’, but rather a simpler, clearer articulation on what they actually do, he says.
David Toussaint – strategy director at MediaCom
Embracing our love of threes in 30 Under 30, David expressed his plethora of achievements in threes throughout his standout application. Since starting at MediaCom Melbourne in 2012 he’s worked in three different cities, for three different MediaComs, in three different jobs.
He’s now officially a communications strategist at MediaCom Sydney.
One of his greatest realisations since being in the industry is that pirate hats do not guarantee you gold in the Cannes Young Lions. Still, he and his partner made the finals in 2013
A rather outspoken lad, David isn’t afraid of letting agencies what he doesn’t like about them. It’s one reason he’ll make a stellar future leader. “I see this as a huge opportunity for positive change, because you have to understand the faults in something before you can fix them.”
Diversity is a big issue adland needs to change, he says, and we need to create content that actually reflects society today. Too, agencies need to stop thinking about the different precursors before the word ‘agency’ and job titles and just think about problems and solutions.
A second reason he’ll make a cracking leader is his understanding of society today. “I know that more people within our industry have been to the same Italian restaurant in Bondi than have been to Parramatta and that what we do needs to reflect society – not a select section of it.”
Thirdly, his dream job hasn’t been invented yet and he’ll keep pushing and trying to change the industry until it pops up.
Aside from being the very first person to submit his application for this year’s 30 Under 30 – an achievement in itself – Chris is the youngest strategy director at UM in terms of age and tenure.
He first entered the industry in 2012 and was fast-tracked to the strategy team. And in those four years, he’s been promoted a whopping seven times, making his way up the ranks of UM.
He has also won the Australian and global competitions for Cannes Young Lions in 2015, as well as being named UM Australia’s employee of the year, highly commended at the MFA NGEN Awards, and of course, to add to his shelves of trophies, named one of B&T’s 30 Under 30.
Aiding upcomers in the field, Chris regularly lectures at several universities and has helped manage UM’s internship program along with mentoring several juniors across the company.
Remarkably, he’s remained humble throughout his accolades. He recognises great leaders are surrounded by great people that inspire them. “I am solely driven by making great work alongside great people and I thrive in environments where a team of people are firing on all cylinders and bouncing off each other.
“A leader is only as good as the team under them, and an industry leader is marked by others’ desire to work alongside them.”
And what represents the ultimate success to him? “Finally owning a 1969 Mustang Fastback, silver like Eleanor from Gone in 60 seconds…”
Ryan Manning – Distribution director at MediaCom
Who would have thought two 6am paper rounds at the age of 12 would have given Ryan the drive for hard work and commitment he has for media now? As a dedicated specialist in all things media, MediaCom was lucky enough to snag him. He works as a distribution director at the media agency, diversifying his experience and broadening his knowledge.
Having achievement magnificent results in his digital marketing degree, he was awarded a place at an SEO/SEM agency in London to start developing his repertoire. That soon developed into a full-time role with the agency, before landing a place at MediaCom in Australia.
Despite only being 25 years old, Ryan manages a team of ten across social, influencers, SEO, seeding and more. Since joining the agency he has been nominated by MediaCom’s CEO to drive the creation of its national three-year business plan, helped with the setup and conception of a MediaCom young leadership team to give everyone a voice, and, representing MediaCom Beyond Advertising, spoke at an MGrad graduate program giving advice and teaching them about content distribution.
While Ryan is already achieving things left, right and centre, his greatest accolade is the development of his team. It’s his personal goal to help everyone at MediaCom have a thorough education about paid, earned and owned media. And that means the clients MediaCom works with as well.
“Success is not necessarily delivery against a brief or increasing sales, but is also about pushing the boundaries, trying something different and not being afraid of failure.”
Shannon O’Brien – communications strategy director at Initiative
Aged 20, bright eyed and bushy tailed, Shannon had a burning entrepreneurial desire flare inside him. Identifying an un-serviced need in Queensland, Pool Fence Inspections, he started his own business. He learnt a lot about the demands of being his own boss, whilst entirely funding his degree.
Years later, degree in hand and excited by a digital future, he worked in two digital agencies, reaching manager level in less than two years. To help develop young talent, Shannon introduced a State based development program, which saw the strategic output increase across the digital agencies.
However his relentless hunger to learn pushed him to look at moving beyond digital. Aged 25, he was given the thumbs up from digital media agency Initiative for a strategy executive role. New to anything outside of digital, let alone communications strategy, he had a lot to learn, fast!
With an inquisitive mind, and an attitude that if you want someone to answer a door, you first need to knock on it, Shannon entered every industry award he could. And boy did that pay off.
He was a finalist at the MFA NGen awards, a finalist for the APG Planning Idol and the winner of Fairfax’s Editorial Challenge.
A title doesn’t make someone a leader, he says. “A true leader is someone who has the ability and passion to inspire others to be their best.”
From a personal perspective, Shannon’s idea of success is passion. It’s the source of excitement and means it’s not about the numbers, but about how you feel during your job. Success from an industry perspective is how adland impacts society in a positive way, not just the great ideas bantered around.
“Success is about making a difference.”