Mediaweek hosted its first 100 Power Lunch at the Pearl Ballroom of The Crown in Barangaroo on Friday.
It was Mediaweek’s first event held in person, welcoming the media industry’s biggest names – from agencies and publishers to radio and TV – to celebrate their work and achievements.
After the event, Mediaweek spoke to the Independent Media Agencies Australia (IMAA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Media Federation of Australia (MFA), and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA).
Each was asked about the Power Lunch, their thoughts on the lists and how they reflect the industry.
Getting the industry back together
Sam Buchanan, CEO of the IMAA, was enthusiastic about being part of the occasion. “It’s an important time to stop and acknowledge the people and the agencies doing a wonderful job.”
IAB CEO Gai Le Roy was pleased to see many senior people across all industries. “Particularly on a Friday, a lovely way to decompress at the end of a long weekend and a pretty big quarter,” she added.
Sophie Madden, CEO of the Media Federation of Australia, said it was fun to see everyone in the industry come together for the Power Lunch after Covid.
“It’s been a long few years of the industry not connecting. So, it’s great to have a few of these events where everyone can come together, reconnect, and remember why we’re all in the industry,” she said.
AANA’s CEO Josh Faulks, who recently stepped into the role, was also excited to be part of the festivities.
“It was fabulous to see the industry come back together; you can see the energy and the excitement in the room. Everyone’s keen to talk to each other, and so well done to Mediaweek for putting it together.”
This year’s Lists – Power List 100, Agency 50, Star Power 25 and the new Mediaweek Icons – saw big players in the media industry honoured for their contributions and achievements.
Buchanan was delighted to see many independent agencies on the list. “I think the momentum has changed in the last couple of years. It was refreshing to see the number of indies and the good work done,” he added.
Le Roy was happy to see the additional lists in play and the range of diversity. But she noted: “As a female, I’m still frustrated with the nature of the top five being all male. I understand the criteria and why it’s there.
“I can’t wait to celebrate when we have a 50/50 in that top 10. But great to see all the content and media development in play,” she added.
Faulks thought the list was great for advertisers and marketers. He said: “The main priority with all the economic headwinds and the squeezed marketing budgets. The main priority is driving results and ROI.”
“We understand that for advertisers, those partnerships with media and partnerships with the agencies are key to delivering that. So, it’s good for us to see that. The people on those lists today have the power and the influence to make it happen, as Peter Horgan mentioned earlier,” he added, congratulating winners from the AANA.
Madden shared that she thought it was great to see those acknowledged on the Mediaweek list despite some awardees not being in attendance.
“Everyone likes recognition, and it’s great to see so many people in our industry who are worthy. Everyone wants to try to do well, wants to do well and wants to give back. It’s great to see people recognised for that,” she added.
Stand-outs and highlights
As the CEO of the IMAA, Buchanan was particularly proud to see the indie agencies and their leaders receive acknowledgement and recognition on the Mediaweek 100 list.
For Le Roy, she noted that she would like to see more diversity, particularly in business models. She said: “I think it’s still very much focused on traditional media and some platforms.
“But celebrating some of the entrepreneurs who come in. In terms of power and influence, they’re shaking up models, how consumers interact with media and creating change from the outside,” she added.
Faulks shared that what stood out for him was how the industry has come a long way in diversity in its diversity of content.
“We’ve probably still further to go, but I think there’s room for improvement in the diversity of our leaders in the industry. It needs better to reflect the community and the diversity in the community.
“There’s an amazing number of names, huge careers and huge contributions to the industry. But we need to look at that diversity angle,” he added.
Madden noted that what stood out to her was how the industry is in a position to influence change in society and the economy.
“Earlier this year, we (the MFA) launched our industry purpose, We Are The Changers. It was great to see how much of that came through today. That message came through from the sponsors in terms of their address, but also the people that were acknowledged as being in the top 10,” she said.
Reflection of the industry
When asked how the agency list reflected the industry, Buchanan said it revealed a positive picture, particularly after the impact of the pandemic. “In the post-COVID world where people want to support Australian-owned businesses, I think it’s reflective of where the markets are,” he added.
Le Roy noted that the list closely reflected the industry and said: “I think some of those smaller brands that are really shaking things up would be just good to see within that environment.”
“Gender-wise, the reality is we’re still underrepresented as women at the top of town,” she pointed out. “So, the list represented the industry as it is. Hopefully, we’ll see the industry I want to see in the coming years,” Le Roy added.
Similarly, Faulks noted that the lists reflected the incredibly diverse in what the industry does and called that an opportunity for growth.
“I think the opportunity piece is the diversity, how do you champion, grow and bring up a diverse number of leaders in the industry, are areas to focus on,” he added.
For Madden, she shared that the lists acknowledged a good balance of the diverse mix of people in the industry doing the right thing and giving back.
“There are always people that think they should be higher or lower or people should be in or out, but overall, it’s just great to see people recognised,” she said.
Being part of the list
On making the agency list, in the ninth spot, Buchanan said: “I’m totally honoured and a little bit embarrassed. But I see this as a reflection of the general wave of momentum and commercial sentiment towards Australian-owned indies.
Le Roy, 65th on the Mediaweek 100 list, said: “I was thrilled to be on the list. I thought it was important to see associations on the list.
“The amount of work they do to gather opinions and influence across a whole lot of companies means they have an incredible amount of power. So, it’s really good to see that hard work recognised.”
Madden – who is thirteenth on the list – appreciated the recognition. She said: “Everyone I know in this industry is working hard to do the right thing for their clients and businesses, but also in a wider context for their people.
“It’s just nice to be recognised for the work and effort everyone’s putting in,” she added.
Meanwhile, Faulks shared his pride in the AANA members recognised at the event.
“I think it’s an amazing indication of what they bring to the industry and the contribution they make to the industry. I agree with the speeches tonight around power and influence,” he said.
“You can see from those in those positions, it’s not as much about the power; it’s the influence of what they can do for good.
Faulks also appreciated the tone set by the speech made by ThinkTV Australia CEO Kim Portrate about the good that the industry does.
“I think we often forget about the good that the industry does. It’s seen as the evil media and the evil advertisers. But we do a lot of good, and I think we should celebrate that good,” he added.
Top image: Sam Buchanan, Gai Le Roy, Josh Faulks and Sophie Madden