Follow the leaders

Follow the leaders

The following CEOs drive Australia's marketing, advertising and media machines, but how well do you know them? Here, the top dogs in TV, radio, publishing, media buying and creative share their passions, predictions, mantras and regrets with Madeleine Ross

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Andrew Baxter, CEO Ogilvy Australia

If you had to describe the year In advertising in one sentence it would be:

Stacks of fun, frantic and busy as always but full of everything we love about the industry that keeps us coming back for more.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Seeing the Share a Coke campaign win International acclaim and  setting the tone for the agency for the rest of 2012

Your biggest regret of 2012:

Even though we made it down to the to the final two agencies, not quite getting over the line with Woolworths and Westpac pitches.

What are the biggest changes we’re  likely to see in the advertising industry in 2013?

More emphasis on performance, ROI and result-driven communication, with the need for more rigour around true channel planning, performance media, and big data strategy. We’ll also see consumer confidence return in 2013 either side of the Federal Election.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

That more people embrace change, not fight against it. There’s been more change in our sector during the past five years than in the last 50.

Favourite ads of all time:

Trim Lamb butcher series from the early 90’s.

Favourite quote or motto:

Do the right thing by the brand, and the brand will do the right thing by you.

I couldn’t live without:

Motorola Razr smartphone (insert cash for comment asterix, as they are a great client of ours in Australia)

My dream job is:

The Song Room has proven the benefits of arts education in this country.  I’d like to ensure music/drama/art gets back onto, and stays, on the national curriculum, and has enough funding to ensure it remains a priority.

AFL or NRL?

AFL

Nicole Sheffield, CEO, NewsLifeMedia

If you had to describe the year In magazines in one sentence it would be:

Adapting to a new age in publishing, where strong content gets the true multi-platform opportunities it deserves.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Returning to publishing as managing director of NewsLifeMedia and news.com.au and building a strong and results driven management team.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

That I don’t seem to have the time to use my gym membership as much as I’d like.

What are the biggest changes we’re  likely to see in the magazine industry in 2013?

A united industry focussed on building our collective strength against other media.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

That people stop saying print is dead and digital is the future. Brands and connections are what matter. This is why magazines and their brands will be here for a long time to come as they build on the most powerful emotion – trust. Trust in magazines is grounded in providing personally targeted, impartial information which is accurately researched.

Favourite magazines:

All of NLM’s of course! I always have a look at the weekly magazines and the Weekend Australian Magazine is a great read over the weekend.

Favourite quote or motto:

Today it’s a Charles Darwin quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

I couldn’t live without:

My family… and my iPad.

My dream job is:

Changes depending on the minute of the day. I move between… The one I have, to cake decorator to… accessories buyer …mmmmm hand bags…

Prince William or Prince Harry?

Definitely Harry

Kat Thomas, MD One Green Bean

If you had to describe the year in PR in one sentence it would be:

The year KONY 2012 promised so much, delivered so little, but taught us quite a bit.  The 30-minute film became the most successful viral video of all time achieving over 100 million views in less than a week, so it definitely ticked the box in terms of mass awareness, but its ultimate goal was ‘social activism’.  Sadly we now all know for sure that a barrage of enthusiastic tweets and casual status updates do not a ‘social movement’ make. 

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Five years ago, Virgin Mobile took a sizeable punt on a small agency start up. This year, we executed their biggest and most successful brand campaign in the telco’s 12 year history, by enlisting Doug Pitt to champion their ‘Fair Go’ positioning, which delivered even more in earned media than they invested in traditional spend.  It was also One Green Bean’s biggest campaign in terms of role and output, and I love that it was for the founding brand that gave us a fair go in the first place. 

Your biggest regret of 2012:

I don’t have many professional regrets, but a few personal ones spring to mind. Like the time I got so excited in a pitch, I cut my hand on a bottle and sprayed blood across a pristine white boardroom table.  Or the time I bit into a quails egg and sprayed egg yolk down the crisp white shirt of our Group CEO. Or the time I confused sprayable olive oil with my deodorant prior to a 5.30am flight to Melbourne. Spot the recurring theme.

What are the biggest changes we’re likely to see in PR in 2013?

The alignment of social media management with PR experts will become even more widespread over the coming year, as more and more brands realise these platforms simply cannot be viewed as a ‘free’ channel to broadcast their content.  Some will learn the hard way, and discover somewhat painfully that their actions, attitude to customer service and ignorance of consumer sentiment can become headline news. 

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

Generally we’re lucky to mix in client and agency circles with people who really get the notion of creating a social by design campaign, ensuring the potential for capitalizing on the earned and social media potential is a key consideration in creative development.  But occasionally, I find myself having awkward conversations about the fact we generally can’t “make an ad campaign famous” when it’s already shot, in the can and rolling out in a fortnight.  If I had a dollar for every time we’ve been asked that, I’d have a lot of dollars.

Favourite PR stunt/campaign of all time:

Man landing on the moon. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if it transpired this was indeed the biggest, boldest publicity stunt mankind ever rolled out?  Think about it… 1969 was the height of the Cold War..  the Soviet Union had just scored a blinder putting the first man into orbit, claiming instant poll position in the Space race.  Back then, PR was short for propaganda and winning this race was deemed to be in the public interest.. it doesn’t take a giant leap..

Favourite quote or motto:

Take what you do seriously but never yourself.

I couldn’t live without:

Puns, wordplay, rhetoric and dad jokes. 

My dream job is:

Head of reputation management for the British Royal Family. 

Vegemite or Peanut Butter?

Marmite. For life.

Joe Pollard, CEO, Publicis Mojo

If you had to describe the year In advertising in one sentence it would be:

Another year of rapid change in the consumer landscape which continues to cause agencies and clients to reappraise and evolve their communication strategies.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Starting my new job as CEO of Publicis Mojo Australia.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

I have none.  It has been a great year.  6 months off with my family and 5 months in a new job

What are the biggest changes we’re  likely to see in the advertising industry in 2013?

Continued rise of consumer direct marketing investment, Growth social commerce, Industry meshing together in the delivery of communication:  clients, agencies and consumers. 

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

Anonymous commenting on blogs.  If you have an opinion, put your name to it.

Favourite ads of all time:

TVC:  Nike: “If you let me play Sports” & Nike:  “Instant Karma”. Print:  Nike Marilyn Monroe.

I couldn’t live without:

My family,  my iPad and travel

My dream job is: 

Always the job I am in. 

Brad Pitt or Doug Pitt? 

Brad

Michael Ebeid, CEO, SBS

If you had to describe the year in public broadcasting in one sentence it would be:

For SBS it’s been a year of major change; financial stability, new leadership team, enhanced culture, new Australian content, expanding onto numerous platforms and connecting with our younger audiences.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Stabilising the financial position of SBS through an historic $158.1 million funding boost from the Federal Government in what was broadly recognised as a fiscally tight Budget, and assembling some industry leaders to help form an outstanding team to lead SBS into its next stage.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

Not training harder before the Sydney to Gong bike ride for Multiple Sclerosis.

What are the biggest changes we’re likely to see in public broadcast in 2013?

I think you’ll see more Australian content making its way on to the many platforms and devices available to our audiences, and an increase in younger audiences engaging with SBS and ABC.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

It tends to be very blokey and I’d like to see more diversity across the sector.      

Favourite TV show of all time:

Mad Men.

Favourite quote or motto:

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

I couldn’t live without:

Gadgets, anything portable or electronic.

My dream job is:

Scuba diving instructor. 

We know you’re a mad keen cyclist. Pro Lycra or anti Lycra?

Lycra could be the reason I like cycling!

John Steedman, CEO, GroupM Australia

If you had to describe the year in media (planning and buying) in one sentence it would be:

It’s been a tough year in media, however it has also been challenging and rewarding for the GroupM businesses.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

It is incredibly rewarding to lead some of the most innovative, enterprising media agencies in the country. But if I were to choose what I consider to be my biggest success, it would be having a collaborative, intelligent, entrepreneurial and winning team across all agencies and GroupM. In this business, your people are your most valuable asset and I’m confident we have the best people in the business.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

Not going to Bali enough.

What are the biggest changes we’re likely to see in your sector in 2013?

I believe we will finally see more financial recognition of what media agencies deliver marketers. Media agencies are no longer just buying agents and clients are far more reliant on media agencies than they’ve ever been when it comes to channel choice, strategy, consumer insights, branded content, product placement and sponsorship among an ever-expanding list of services. Clients are recognising the value we are adding to their business, and that will translate to financial recognition.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

Remuneration is an ongoing issue in our industry and definitely the first thing I would change. If agencies struggle to make a respectable margin and profit, their clients suffer. The increasing complexity of the media environment in which we operate means our industry needs to invest more in systems and research to manage that complexity. And we continually need to invest in the right talent to bring the required high levels of communications thinking and creativity to our clients and prospective clients. All this costs money.

Favourite TV show of all time: 

Faulty Towers

Favourite quote or motto:

“It’s not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

I couldn’t live without:

Wine, cheese and bread.

My dream job is:

A pilot

The Beatles or The Stones?

The Stones

Damian Keogh, CEO, Val Morgan cinema network

If you had to describe the year in cinema in one sentence it would be:

For Val Morgan, 2012 was all about putting cinema back on the advertising agenda with media agencies, clients and creative agencies.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

Growing cinema advertising revenue 20%+ in a flat advertising market.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

Unable to convince the market to do more 3D advertising for cinema. It is hugely impactful and engaging for audiences and 20% of ticket sales are to watch 3D movies.

What are the biggest changes we’re likely to see in the cinema sector in 2013?

New CineTAM ratings system and fully digitised cinema circuit reducing cost and lead times of booking cinema advertising campaigns and great movies: The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Great Gatsby, Ironman 3 etc

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why? 

I would really like to see more locally produced 3D advertising. 20% of cinema admits are for 3D movies and research shows that 3D ads have great recall. Also they can be used a 2D ads on tv or online.

Favourite film of all time:

Shawshank Redemption

Favourite quote or motto:

If you are not fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.

I couldn’t live without: 

My i-pad & guitar

My dream job is:

Movie producer – of blockbusters, not duds.

Popcorn or choc top?

Both!

Cathy O’Connor, CEO, Dmg Radio

If you had to describe the year in radio in one sentence it would be:

2012 has been a tougher year in terms of market conditions and there is now a much more level playing field between the big networks which is bringing innovation such as new shows, new platforms and a bigger commitment to marketing and building radio brands.

Your biggest (professional) success of 2012:

The launch of Smoothfm in Sydney and Melbourne.  After only 4 months on the air, to have attracted over 328,000 new listeners and to have overtaken established brands MMM and Mix in Sydney, has exceeded every expectation.

Your biggest regret of 2012:

That we didn’t launch Smoothfm sooner although the success of the launch was a result of a thorough and well considered plan

What are the biggest changes we’re likely to see in radio in 2013?

Networks and stations will continue to launch new shows and programs to compete for audiences. The radio industry will decide on which company will provide the measurement contract for 2014 and beyond and expect to see some innovations around audience measurement. It’s also exciting to see many networks forging partnerships into streaming music, internet radio and mobile, leveraging radio content and expertise into digital platforms.  The industry will also push towards the introduction of digital radio into regional areas.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be, and why?

I think we will see radio companies work more together in future in promoting the radio industry generally rather than fighting each other…there is more open dialogue between the main operators and I think this is something that the advertising industry will welcome

Favourite on-air personality/duo/trio of all time:

From the 80’s Doug Mulray and his team, from the 90’s it’s a toss up between Andrew Denton and  Martin & Molloy,   from the 2000’s Hamish & Andy and the ones to watch in future,  Fitzy & Wippa   (if YouTube  is anything to go by!).

Very hard to separate the top talk presenters from each other across Australia.  All command intense loyalty from their audiences and play a key role in shaping the opinions and moods of their audiences.  Both in AM and FM Australian radio personalities are some of the most talented and creative by world standards

Favourite quote or motto:

Make your decision and get on with it!

I couldn’t live without:

Smartphone & tablet, where most of my media, music and entertainment content is now consumed…..and a good cup of tea.

My dream job is:

The one I’ve got. Radio’s best years are ahead as digital technology and social media give us a genuine opportunity to distribute content, grow our audience footprint and take advertisers on that journey.

High heels or flats?

High heels of course!