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My life in advertising: Andrew Hawkins

25 August 2015
My life in advertising: Andrew Hawkins

What are clients looking for in their advertising and media solutions in 2015?

The watchwords of efficiency and effectiveness have been joined by an important adjective: faster. The technology we have at our disposal makes that a reasonable request. The only limit being an agency's willingness to adapt. And if they don't, there are plenty of people who will.

What have been the most notable changes in the advertising industry since your career began?

Of course it's about accountability. When I started as a graduate trainee at Ogilvy, the old Lord Leverhume joke about not knowing which half of his advertising budget worked was disturbingly prevalent as a clever apology for not having all the answers. Fresh from two years at business school I found this alarming. Thankfully our industry has changed to an unrecognisable degree (and equally thankfully, I am now able to tell my Mum that what I do actually works).

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?

Driving sustainable growth, which means (in our simple business) finding, nurturing and keeping talent. The right talent. BBDO has a wonderful policy of seeking to recruit 'radiators', not 'drains'. I've paid expensive plumbers to help me get radiators, but nothing can prepare you for the damage an overflowing drain can do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I think it's best left to others. So I asked a few members of our Management Team (and then I edited it).

• “You exercise different leadership styles based on who you’re leading”
• “You give the team authority to perform their roles with the aim of achieving a common goal”
• “You believe in being flexible – allowing individuals to work in the way that brings out the best in them, and work without fear”
• “You have a collaborative, open and honest team and work hard to ensure other people’s views and experience are valued – you want people to feel they are working with you, not for you”

What’s the best piece of advice you've been given in your career?

Can I have two please?

One from my closest friend in the business: choose your bosses carefully. One from my Father: it's your race. Run it by your own rules. Run it at your own pace.

If you could pick one media platform that currently offers the greatest potential, which would it be and why?

Ask me a month ago, six months ago, five years ago, the answer would have been the same: mobile. The numbers don't lie. But I just read 'Television is the New Television' by the provocative Michael Wolff, which is making me think again.

If you could pick a single industry buzzword you could ban, what would it be and why?

'Reach out'. FFS! Call, email or talk work just fine thank you.

What are your passions outside of work?

Bikram yoga; watching any sport that involves a ball; watching live music; ideally doing any of the above with any or all of my three children.

What’s the most exciting thing about being in the advertising and media industry today?

Being amongst the very first to know how (and why) human behaviour is changing.

Andrew Hawkins, managing director, Doner UK


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