“Most Agencies Are Sh*tting Themselves About Digital:” Bold Media’s Toby Hemming

“Most Agencies Are Sh*tting Themselves About Digital:” Bold Media’s Toby Hemming
SHARE
THIS



This cat-loving, Guardian-reading, TV-dodging PR is the son of a wizard. When he’s not chewing the fat with James Brown he may be found dad dancing to soft 80s rock. Just don’t ask him about phone hacking. Yes, it’s Bold Media’s director, Toby Hemming.

What’s different in marketing and communications today compared to five years ago?
Ask anyone in 2010 if they think they had digital nailed they would all lie and say yes. Ask them now and they will openly admit they are shitting themselves. That’s how far we have come in a relatively short time. I think we are living though the most exciting times possible within our industry. I still get so frustrated that many people seem to be complacently sailing into a sunset of oblivion, whilst the sharp minds just get on with creating solutions that really work.

What do you think are the most exciting things in the marketing world at the moment?
Blurring of lines between online, offline paid and earned – sounds obvious but the opportunities are immense. Where we sit as a business there is a clear fork in the road between old school PR, and clients with the imagination and ambition to connect with audiences in ways that are new and engaging. There is always going to be a need for strong media networks, and I’m 100 per cent committed to their survival. But we have made video series in Singapore, podcasts in Sydney and direct mail pieces in London that have had more impact than media releases – and have, crucially, been far more fun.

What made you jump from journalism to the dark side?
The truth is, I studied communications as a first degree with all intentions of winning a Pulitzer Prize. However, fate sucked into the horrific vortex that is recruitment and headhunting for ten years. I always knew I wanted out; so started writing music reviews for magazines that spiralled into news, and then features. It was only when I had the confidence that I enrolled on a Masters degree and talked my way into a corporate communications position at BSkyB in London. And the rest, as they say, is a cliché’.

What’s the meatiest story you ever worked on, either as a journo or PR?
I worked at News Limited in Sydney on The Daily Telegraph during the phone hacking scandal in the UK. Funnily enough, I still have “no comment!”

How do those other roles compare to what you’re doing now?
In-house corporate affairs is a great role, which I was lucky enough to do for many years. Being involved in corporate strategy and reputation at that level is incredibly exhilarating. Leaving to start my own business was a great jump and, in hindsight, something I was hugely underprepared for. I miss the simple things like a regular pay packet and IT, finance and HR support massively. Saying that, I can’t say I shed any tears for not having to sit through hours of board meetings and health and safety committees. Over three years Bold Media has evolved from my initial vision for an independent agency serving the industry, into something far more exciting. Whilst we work with the media, advertising and adtech industry to create compelling stories to take to market, the opportunity has become far greater.

What are marketing’s biggest threats and opportunities?
Pretty simple really, we are all doomed….

What inspired you to get into the industry?
I had a pretty good idea I could write. I soon found out I wasn’t half as good as I thought I was, but thankfully I still enjoy it. But, literary aspirations aside, I think I was labouring under the false impression that working incredibly long hours to impossible deadlines for unforgiving clients was somehow glamorous.

What gets your goat?
Bad writing, irritating jargon and so called ‘celebrity culture’. We can spend hours crafting concise responses for clients to present to the media, and then read seemingly quality publications writing headlines about “Obama throwing shade at opponents”, or editorialising about the younger sister of a family I’ve never even heard of in the US. I know this crap gets clicks, but there must be a point of no return before the whole vacuous business disappears up its own arse forever?

What’s your best way of dealing with difficult clients?
Patience and craft beer.

What has been your favourite job in media and why?
What I’m doing now, I love the industry; love my colleagues and love (most) of my clients. Saying that I really enjoyed both my jobs at BSkyB where I was the oldest trainee in town, working under a formidable but incredibly talented individual by the name of Robert Fraser, and the privilege of working with Michael Miller at News here in Sydney.

What would be your ultimate role?
Director general of the BBC, which was my ambition as a youngster. I’d say it’s a bit of a poisoned chalice now though, although I did see that Mark Scott from the ABC was stepping down at the ABC, so never say never.

What’s your proudest professional moment?
Apart from answering these questions for B&T? My first professional piece of media coverage in a local Somerset newspaper was pretty cool. And of course realising I had the ability to work for myself and generate a real wage not just for me but for others as well. That was quite a defining moment.

And your most cringeworthy?
Where do you start?

Have you ever met one of your idols?
I have been lucky enough to interview both ‘The Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness’ James Brown, and Nile Rogers from Chic. James Brown was clearly on another planet, whilst Nile Rogers was the ultimate professional; there are certainly some people in our industry that could learn from him.

Hipster coffee snob or tea drinker?
Tea, strong but milky. I have never understood the appeal of a cup of lukewarm milk with a half-arsed few stimulants thrown in.

News or Fairfax?
I’m more of a Guardian man, myself.

Cats or dogs?
Cats definitely, have you ever seen a police cat?

Guilty pleasure?
Late 70s early 80s disco music, but to be true I’m far from guilty about it.

What’s your favourite TV programme?
TV is one of the only contemporary media channels I don’t really engage with. Subsequently I have missed ‘The Golden Age of TV, and have never seen Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire or anything similar. I did used to have a soft spot for Only Fools and Horses though.

What’s your quirkiest attribute?
True fact, my birth certificate lists father’s profession as ‘Wizard.’ I’d be hard pressed out out-quirk that.

One thing no one knows about you?
If I could sing (or dance) I’d be odd-on favourite to win X Factor.

Your house is on fire and the arsonists have nicked your car. What would you save?
Apart from my wife and children? Definitely my record collection, I had vinyl way before it was cool – these youngsters need schooling.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau iinet

Latest News

New Zealand’s Favourite Ad Revealed
  • Media

New Zealand’s Favourite Ad Revealed

Insight agency TRA has asked 1,000 New Zealanders about their favourite ads, and the top ten ads most liked by the public are also very effective at achieving business results. According to the findings, ASB’s “Ben and Amy” has taken the number one spot, with nearly twice as many people mentioning this ASB campaign as […]

It’s Time To Refocus Customer Experience In The Era Of Risk
  • Opinion

It’s Time To Refocus Customer Experience In The Era Of Risk

In this guest post, Andy Mellor, regional vice president, ANZ at Kofax, asks what does customer experience look like in this era of privacy and risk? “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” If only you had a dollar for every time you heard this saying, right? When we talk about customer […]

Influencer Exposed For Faking Business-class Flight
  • Marketing
  • Media

Influencer Exposed For Faking Business-class Flight

A French influencer has been snapped travelling in economy despite posting a photo of herself flying business class on social media. Océane El Himer, a Dubai based French model and influencer, posted a photo of herself posing in front of a business class seat on a recent flight, with the caption “Next stop: Monaco. Je […]

A Naked Shane Jacobson Saves Water For Sydney Water
  • Campaigns

A Naked Shane Jacobson Saves Water For Sydney Water

Aussie actor and media personality Shane Jacobson has joined forces with Sydney Water to launch a new water conservation campaign called Turn it off, Bob – urging us to think differently about our relationship with water. The campaign launched yesterday, and features Jacobson in character as the likeable larrikin, ‘Bob’, whose long steamy shower sparks […]

Aussie Shoe Brand TWOOBS Embraces Anti-Marketing In Push For More Consumer-conscious Shopping
  • Marketing

Aussie Shoe Brand TWOOBS Embraces Anti-Marketing In Push For More Consumer-conscious Shopping

After relaunching in September last year, TWOOBS has become a ‘kinda’ shoe brand by also focusing on making the world a ‘kinder’ place and creating more consumer-conscious shopping. The vegan shoe brand founded by sisters Jess and Stef Dadon changed its marketing approach last year and stopped using social media to push sales the old-fashioned […]

Visit Sunshine Coast Hires New Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

Visit Sunshine Coast Hires New Head Of Marketing

Highly experienced tourism marketer Kelly Ryan has been appointed to lead the marketing efforts at Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC). During the past 12 years, Ryan has supported Canberra’s tourism industry in senior marketing roles, including as director of strategy and insights as well as director of marketing at VisitCanberra. Most recently, Ryan has been working […]

GHO Sydney And Family Planning NSW Launch ‘Planet Puberty’ Platform
  • Campaigns

GHO Sydney And Family Planning NSW Launch ‘Planet Puberty’ Platform

GHO Sydney has developed a new educational platform for Family Planning NSW to help parents and carers of children with disabilities navigate the changes to their bodies, emotions and social interactions. The project, ‘Planet Puberty’, was made possible through funding from the federal government’s Department of Social Services, and was co-designed with people with disability […]

JCDecaux Announces New Partnership With Bush Heritage Australia
  • Media

JCDecaux Announces New Partnership With Bush Heritage Australia

JCDecaux today announced conservation organisation, Bush Heritage Australia, as its major charity partner for 2021. The partnership is part of a series of ‘social impact’ initiatives the business is launching this year, under the banner of JCDecauxHEART. JCDecauxHEART focuses on three areas of social impact: health and mental health, environmental sustainability, and enriching urban communities. […]

Shameless Duo Michelle Andrews And Zara McDonald Launch New Podcast Exclusive To LiSTNR
  • Media

Shameless Duo Michelle Andrews And Zara McDonald Launch New Podcast Exclusive To LiSTNR

Shameless Media’s Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald’s latest podcast, The Books That Changed My Life, will launch exclusively on LiSTNR on Tuesday, 15 June. Throughout the series Michelle and Zara will talk with guests including Kevin Kwan, Laura Henshaw, Jock Zonfrillo, Susan Carland, Hamish Blake and Delta Goodrem about the books that have had a profound impact […]

Business and technology concept.
  • Partner Content

Make Your CX Stand Out From The Competition

It's top tips to ensure your CX stands out from the competition. Then again, you could simply plagiarise their stuff.

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine