Before Adland: Garry Dawson’s Journey From Teacher To Marketer

Before Adland: Garry Dawson’s Journey From Teacher To Marketer

Many know Garry Dawson as the prolific marketing manager behind the Hopeful Monsters team, but the story many don’t know is how a chance encounter at a local cafe just three years ago changed the trajectory of his entire life.

Having worked as a teacher for six years at this point, Dawson was preparing a class when an interesting conversation caught his attention.

“The table beside me was occupied by two people discussing the use of TikTok and Instagram (among other strategies) to sell garlic bread”.

“Naturally, I was intrigued. So, I struck up a conversation with the pair (who happened to be Katie Barclay and Carl Moggridge). My opening line, “Do you work for a garlic bread company, or are you just really passionate about garlic bread?” broke the ice. We exchanged a few laughs and I quickly learned they were from a creative agency called Hopeful Monsters”.

“As they continued their discussion, I discreetly listened in on their conversation, jotting down my own ideas for selling garlic bread”.

“When they got up to leave, they kindly said, “Lovely to meet you,” to which I replied, “If I think of any garlic bread ideas, I’ll send an email”.

Their response,”Ideas are always welcome!”was the spark Dawson needed needed to grasp the opportunity.

“I went home and spent the rest of the afternoon developing my own ideas for marketing garlic bread. I found their contact information online and a few hours after meeting them, sent an email with the subject line “The Guy with the Harley-Davidson T-Shirt.” To my surprise, they responded. Enthusiastically”.

“What followed were two interviews and a task assignment that eventually led to a job offer at Hopeful Monsters. My passion, curiosity and creativity paid off, and I transitioned from teaching to working at a creative agency. Over the last three years I have managed to work my way up to become the agency’s Marketing Manager. Before Adland, I did lots of cool things. I lived in Mainland China. I taught students from approx 104 countries (I kept count). I learned to play the guitar and tried to learn Mandarin (work in progress). But it’s the story of HOW I moved into the industry that I love to tell people”.

“Looking back, I’m incredibly grateful for the chance encounter at that cafe. It taught me the importance of being open to new opportunities and seizing the moment. The shift in my career has been a rewarding and transformative journey. And I’m proud to say I wasn’t a ‘one off’. Hopeful Monsters transformed their recruitment strategy, diversifying their talent pool by hiring individuals from outside the industry and a mix of nationalities. By valuing diversity of thought and experience, Hopeful Monsters has built a team that brings fresh perspectives to every project. All this thanks to a casual chat about garlic bread”.

Check out the rest of the Before Adland series:

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