The Media Federation of Australia (MFA), established in 1997, is an alliance that represents media agencies to the government, industry, media owners and the general public.
The industry body’s purpose – We Are The Changers – is to remind the industry that it is at the dynamic epicentre of commerce and society and to inspire its professionals to take pride in their work.
In this new series, Mediaweek speaks with industry figures from MFA member agencies to get their thoughts on their agency’s performance in the last year, the benefits of being part of the industry body, embodying its purpose, and outlook for the year ahead.
Kicking off the series is Andrew Holford, chief product officer of Reprise. He started in the media and advertising industry at university.
“I loved marketing at university, particularly the ability of digital to better connect with specific audiences using data and insight. I was fortunate to gain a graduate placement with L’Oréal, often seen as the pinnacle of marketing trainee programs in the UK.”
Over five years, he worked with and led a range of brands digitally, including working with some of the first beauty influencers in the market.
“I remained client-side, working across New Zealand and Australia, before moving my focus closer to technology, personalisation, and data to Les Mills International and Fitness & Lifestyle Group.”
Eighteen months ago, Holford leapt from partnering with agencies to being in one, joining Reprise.
“As chief product officer, it’s been incredible to get up and close to such immense talent in Reprise and to provide my experience as a client as we build products and propositions that solve tomorrow’s performance problems,” he shared.
Holford reflects on Reprise’s performance and triumphs over the last year
Holford highlighted that Reprise 2022 was commercially an “incredible year” for the agency.
“We were proud to continue supporting the success of our front door agencies Initiative and UM, helping them to achieve their deserved success with key wins including OnePass, Australia Unity and Adobe,” he shared.
Despite still dealing with the leftover impact of the pandemic, he noted that his team remained laser-focused on building its accreditations and ensuring its credibility matched the capabilities and talent of its people.
“While the talent crisis was a key element to navigate, we worked hard to foster and grow all our people,” he proudly noted.
In addition, Holford highlighted that Reprise also won many titles, such as Campaign Asia Performance Agency of the Year ANZ – Gold, Google Honours Agency, and was crowned Microsoft Marketing with Purpose Award winners across APAC.
“We also continued to build on our key pillar of Purpose through our Force For Good initiative, delivering talent and resources to support small businesses and the community in Australia,” he added.
How Reprise has benefitted from being part of the MFA
Holford noted that while Reprise has its training system for staff, the MFA provides an excellent market perspective and levels the playing field so their people can get more out of just the ‘Reprise way’.
“They are exposed to a wider language, approach and fundamentals than their other media entrants are exposed to.
“We see the MFA as a critical player in helping each individual to craft their career in media as a whole, not just within our purple walls.”
Holford added: “It’s also a great organisation for spearheading the growth of the industry, forging collaboration across members, and ensuring robust debate on topics from media effectiveness to category intelligence.”
Holford on being stewards of excellence for clients
Holford noted that when it comes to value for clients’ businesses, media agencies “are the stewards of excellence across all things media.”
“There is entrenched expertise across agencies that can understand both existing and emerging platforms and technologies to drive optimal results whilst upholding the principles of media and partner responsibility,” he said.
Holford explained that as stewards, agencies work hard every day to contribute to societal, cultural or community change.
“Our deep understanding needs to ensure we protect a brand’s individual values whilst also mitigating against things like fake news or unethical advertising. The media landscape also moves incredibly quickly, and channels merge and evolve; influencer is moving into programmatic and affiliate, video into TV and more,” he said.
“Our ability to work with agility and bring the latest thinking into intelligent investment decisions for our clients allows them to concentrate on their broader marketing objectives,” he added.
Holford on his hopes for the industry
Looking ahead, Holford said the current economic environment and procurement pressures for digital channels had put downward pressure on salaries. He noted that it would continue to make the talent landscape challenging, particularly for people to enter the industry and that the.
Holford also noted that the job’s complexity has increased as data and platforms become more entwined.
“We don’t see the complexity of the digital world decreasing any time soon, so our hope (outside of procurement) is that innovations in AI and automation continue to come to the fore,” he said.
“Our focus is on streamlining repetitive work so that we leave more time for our people to create, apply critical thinking and innovate – making the industry a far more attractive one to enter,” he added.
To be featured in the MFA member series, please email: [email protected]
Top image: Andrew Holford