Q&A with Adshel’s Rob Atkinson

Rob_croppedSFWOnline trading is the next big thing says Rob Atkinson in a piece that first appeared in Encore

Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?

Harold Mitchell because of his influence and the footprint he has left. He’s built a huge brand in Mitchells, offloaded it into Aegis, Aegis has obviously done extremely well to be then sold on to Dentsu. So if you think about it, he is very much a father figure of the industry.

What one medium could you not live without?

Out-of-home advertising, not surprisingly. I’m a sucker for Times Square and Piccadilly Circus. I like that explosion on your senses of all the colour.

Your one guilty media pleasure?

One that most people won’t readily admit is The Big Bang Theory, primarily because I think it is a TV program a bit like Friends, but for nerds.

The next big industry trend is…

Big data is this year’s big trend. Next year, or later next year, programmatic buying or online trading for all digital assets will follow.

Real-time buying is going to extend into all parts of media given our desire to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

If you weren’t doing this for a living what would you be doing?

I would have argued a few years ago that I’d be a failed professional soccer player by now.

Or a travel writer, because I really love to explore. I’ve got that innate curiosity that’s led me to travel and see lots of different cultures and lifestyles.

Your best piece of career advice…

I got told this very early on in my career and that’s ‘credibility and trust take a long time to gain and a moment to lose’. In addition, having strong written and verbal communication skills will give you a point of differentiation. Finally, I was given a wonderful piece of advice while working in Dublin, ‘the mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open’.

If you could poach any one person, who would it be?

I would love to poach a clairvoyant or futurologist. Five years ago people would have said: “Google who?” Having someone know the future and the speed of it would be vitally beneficial. I’m thinking the role has got to be ‘head of what next’.

Would you recommend working in this industry to your kids?

I certainly wouldn’t put them off. They should follow their hearts.

What is your favourite Aussie ad?

I’ve got two actually. The first one is quite an old one and that was the Carlton Sky Troop ad which followed the Big Ad. The second one is Kangaroo Island. I love the story behind it. For someone who is now living in Australia, it made me want to go there.

Rob Atkinson is the CEO of out-of-home media company Adshel.

Encore Issue 14

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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