In this exclusive we cover:
👉Ali’s career in media working with Warner Brothers Films, Cadbury, Netflix, CBA and McDonalds
👉Ali’s day to day as the Planning Lead in the McDonald’s media business
👉Ali’s role in a real time campaign during the EPL transfer deadline day for the Narcos TV show season launch (one of the coolest campaigns I’ve seen)
👉Entry level roles into a media agency
1. Before we dive into your role at OMD Australia, what has your career journey looked like so far?
1) Starting out in media auditing
It’s been a varied career to date and one I’ve enjoyed immensely so far. It’s been 12 years since I started out in London, working for what is now Ebiquity’s media auditing division.
It was a great entry level job one that provided a solid grounding in media, it showed me the ropes of what campaigns good and bad look like. What good implementation and strategy meant too. I was lucky to have a boss who valued thought and deeper thinking for their clients beyond a basic audit.
2) Transitioning to media agencies
Dealing with agencies day to day, I soon was poached to join the ranks of PHD. Moving from primarily offline into digital trading. This was pre-programmatic, when digital rates were traded on a campaign basis for clients.
It was a wonderful couple of years understanding the landscape before moving into digital planning. I worked across the likes of Warner Brothers Films and Gaming, Cadbury’s & Dyson to name a few.
I have moved between agencies in London landing at Wavemaker, where I continued my industry specialism in film and entertainment. Leading accounts for Lionsgate films and Netflix. My role evolved from digital planner into media and partnerships director, responsible for providing the innovative campaign work Netflix is famous for.
3) Moving to Sydney
In 2016 I moved to Sydney, where I took on a role at IKON (now Essence) under the leadership of Pat Crowley. For 3 ½ great years running the business banking portfolio for CBA. It’s often an overlooked and interesting industry B2B. I was responsible for the media planning and comms strategy for Business, Cricket partnerships and CommSec.
Finally that brought me to OMD, where I’ve been working in the McDonald’s media business for 2 ½ years. Initially as a Client Lead and now a Planning Lead. I am responsible for the media planning output for Macca’s here in AU and work with a great team to bring the best media thinking for our clients.
2. Transitioning into work, what the heck does a Planned Lead (Maccas) @ OMD Australia do?
What is OMD Australia?
OMD is recognised as one of the best media and buying agencies in Australia. We are responsible for communications and media strategy, buying and implementation for some of the world’s biggest clients including Macca’s
What do Client/Planning Leads do at OMD Australia?
The client lead role was created to span the strategic departments of OMD and the business management or planning team.
This is designed to lead the agency process for clients, providing them with a singular senior contact who connects the process for strategy, planning and implementation. However, full disclosure I have transitioned into a Planning Lead role on the account.
What does your role with Maccas specifically entail?
The planning director’s role is to bring best in class media thinking and ideas to our clients. We are lucky to have a client who values both media and creativity, with a great ethos for testing and learning. My role specifically is designed to help apply the latest media theory and thinking to our campaigns and keep Macca’s as one of the most innovative advertisers in the country.
One of the greatest parts of my job is to work with like minded people to bring to life unique and interesting opportunities, keeping our clients across a fast paced industry. Media and advertising is an industry that’s constantly changing or interested in the new shiny opportunities (NFT’s looking at you), our job is to help clients navigate these to achieve their business challenges.
For Macca’s, one of the biggest challenges is understanding our customers, who they are, what they consume and how best to reach them. We use a wealth of insight and data to allow us to reach them at the optimal time in the most relevant environments.
Our clients look to us for that thought leadership, understand consumers and make sure we are working to reach them in the most effective and impactful ways.
3. What’s a campaign you’ve worked with on in your currently role and how have you helped bring them to life?
Campaign Name: Netflix Narco’s Launch
What was it?
Launching Narcos S2 in the UK for Netflix. A fully integrated campaign built to own and hi-jack the EPL transfer deadline day activity. Spanning TV, OOH, Digital blogs, social and print.
What was your role?
Ideating and working with the creative agency on bringing to life the campaign. My role created many of the media placements and ideas that went to market to launch the series.
Including full print and editorial integration, world first responsive takeover of the Guardian football blog as well as supporting other OOH and digital partnerships.
4. What do the entry level pathways into a media agency look like?
Media is a very open industry & agencies are a great place to get started whatever your ambition is. We have a variety of ways to join an agency from planning, trading, strategy, data and activations.
As an industry though, what I love is that we value a range of skill sets, it’s not about a specific degree or qualification. All agencies offer all the training and development you’ll need to start a career.
What about in a Client/Planning role?
Be open to opportunities and don’t rush the process. I think I’ve been lucky to find the right opportunities and that may have been a lateral move over “the next promotion”. I think if it’s going to be a great growth opportunity, in the long run that may be more important than just making the next rung on the ladder.
Be curious and engaged, keeping informed and across things that are happening is not a chore when you’re passionate about the industry. That said, it’s not just passion for media and advertising (although that helps), great ideas and thinking can come from anywhere and often from the intersection of passions or culture. Read, consume and absorb, you never know when something might spark a thought or insight.
Be open and collaborative, it’s an industry that relies on relationships. It’s a small industry as well, so people move around a lot, you often cross paths with many from the industry through your career. I’ve been lucky to forge many great relationships in the business.
5. What’s one thing you recommend someone who wants to work in a media agency do right now?
Apply! We are always looking for great people. Do your homework and know what a media agency does, it’s not a creative agency (although we can do great creative work).