Power Women: Anouk Darling

Power Women: Anouk Darling
SHARE
THIS



Anouk Darling's unorthodox childhood laid the groundwork for brilliant, unorthodox thinking. Here Moon Communications' CEO talks us through her digital obsessions, motherly guilt, and her secrets to thriving in Adland's boys club.

At eight years old, Anouk Darling found herself living in a caravan on a remote Greek island trading her toys for meat and cheese. Thus began an extraordinary life of adventure, tragedy and an insatiable hunger for inspiration. 

The spirited blonde was born in Australia but lived the first seven years of her life in the UK. The journey back home took her family one year, the majority of which was spent in the Mediterranean living in a campervan with two German hitchhikers and a Swiss au pair.

"We traded toothpaste and plastic toys with a Greek goat herder for meat and cheese," she recalls. "My brothers and I only had our imaginations, dad's insistence on afternoon Latin lessons and one copy of The Lord of The Rings to entertain us. There were no gadgets, no technology, no mobile phones (or any phones for that matter). Just us. I can't remember a happier time."

Darling is one of only a few women to head up a creative agency in Australia – a particularly phallic sector of the advertising landscape. Now, gizmos, gadgets and new media form a central part of her existence. 

"Consuming blogs, trends, digital convergence, the new customer experience, the power of the consumer, m-comm, e-comm, the socialisation of retail, geo-mapping and real time. My head swims with it," she says. 

"We all know and hear the trends – big data, content, social and digital. Advertising is creating connections through communications and therefore we have to be at the forefront of thinking. We have to be in a constant iterative state, rather than 'set and forget'."

Her path wasn't ever clear but she fell into brilliant luxury marketing roles: brand manager for Louis Vuitton, Oroton marketing manager, group marketing director at Conde Nast. She also did an MBA. Then her world came tumbling down. Her first child died prior to birth and her youngest brother committed suicide three months later. 

"This was a once in a lifetime chance that only deep tragedy brings – to re-think everything," she says. She started consulting for Westfield Bondi Junction – one of Moon's current clients – and happened across Moon. They hooked up. Darling began as strategic planning director and quickly progressed to general manager. After STW bought the agency in 2007, she was promoted to managing director. It was sink or swim, and the agency did the latter. 

As for working in the Adland boys' club, Darling says her STW bosses – all men – have always been entirely encouraging and supportive. Where she sometimes does feel prejudice, believe it or not, is from some clients. 

"Obviously none that we partner with, but in new business meetings there is an uneducated assumption when we walk in with the team that my general manager who is a guy (albeit terrifically talented) is the head, before anyone has spoken or been formally introduced. They just start directing questions at him."

But what perpetuates the glass ceiling, from her perspective, isn't any external roadblock. Getting to the top is about choices and sacrifices and "a lot of women 'choose' not to take the top rung as other things may be a priority, like having a family." 

For those who want a spot in the executive echelons, her advice is to find a champion or mentor – "someone to rally their cause and expose them to a broader network of opportunity," she says.

But her "absolute secret ingredient to success" is her husband. "He's the CEO of the household, the stay-at-home dad that allows me to have the career I have and reduce some of the 'guilt' that I'm not with the kids enough." 

As for how she deals with powerful men, it's no different from connecting with your consumer. 

"Find something in common, a connection point", she recommends. "Power is only relative if you give it credence, otherwise we're all equal."    

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.
  • Opinion

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.

In this guest post, CEO of content marketing agency Edge, Fergus Stoddart (pictured below), says brands would do well to play on their customer’s loyal tribalism… Normally over Christmas, any downtime is spent asleep on the sofa, mildly lubricated with a belly full. This year, with the Ashes in the background, I managed to stay awake […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour
  • Marketing

Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour

Red Bull Holden Racing team took the covers off its 2018 Holden Commodore Supercar today. Floating on a barge in Farm Cove, the harbour provided a stunning backdrop for the reveal. Teammates Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have won the past two championships for the squad. Whincup, now the greatest of all time with seven Supercar’s titles, […]

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency

As part of its summer fire campaign, the Victorian government has launched a virtual reality (VR) bushfire experience and content series via The Fuel Agency. The VR experience places the user in the midst of a large bushfire, and is designed to encourage people to leave early on high-risk days before it’s too late. The […]

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Technology

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass

ad tech company VeNA has signed an exclusive reseller partnership covering Australia and New Zealand with digital rugby network RugbyPass. Across Asia and parts of Europe, RugbyPass is the exclusive digital rights holder and over-the-top broadcaster for live rugby, including the Super Rugby, the Rugby Championship and autumn internationals, the Six Nations, the Aviva Premiership, […]

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]