Industry Profile: HBT managing director David Hayes

By AdNews | 30 March 2017
David Hayes

Our Industry Profile takes a weekly look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

For our last profile we spoke with Emotive CEO and founder Simon Joyce.

This time we head to Melbourne to speak to HBT managing director David Hayes.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

20 years – near enough.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Integrated, creative advertising – we believe very strongly that better advertising can deliver exponentially better results, and that starts with the right idea; data and placement are important, but they’re secondary.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?


Mostly strategic and creative campaign development – and some management, obviously.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

We’ve recently developed a digital offering that’s now a very substantial business in its own right – which is “major” not because of the revenue it’s generating (important though that is), but because it helps us to talk to our clients about their overall situation, and that’s always been the key - to work in an integrated manner, making recommendations on merit. You know, the way agencies used to be able to with their media recommendations? But don’t get me started on that.

Best thing about the industry you work in:


Variety, and clients who appreciate the value differentiation and visibility can add to their business.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:

Advertising and only advertising.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

Same place, same job. We’ve got a great team and some terrific clients.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

It’s a crowded room! But this is top of my list right now: what does digital advertising actually deliver? It can do great things, but it can be a complete waste of money and it can hurt marketers, particularly the smaller ones who’ve been told it’s going to solve all their problems. It’s not. I have a pretty good idea of why media agencies are so keen to recommend it and it’s not pretty. Let’s just say it’s not always in our clients’ best interests.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I doubt there’s anything – we’re very open plan.

Top networking tip:


Different approaches suit different people. For me, things happen when I get out and circulate.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:


France Soir, unless it needs to be private, in which case, Il Bacaro.

My favourite advert is:


Mercedes Benz “Crash”. Still gets me. I loved that last Qantas in flight safety video. Currently, I’m getting sick of lazy ads that substitute a song for an idea. They’re back. XXXX, Muddy Waters’ “I’m a Man” for example. Great song...but, really? Again?

Crash - Mercedes Benz:

My must-have gadget is:


Any good portable music player.

My favourite media is:


For my own consumption, cinema, but TV still wins and it’s getting better and better.

My favourite TV show is:

Curb Your Enthusiasm

The last book I read:

Malcolm Gladwell – What The Dog Saw.

My mantra / philosophy is:

It does matter.

I got into advertising because:


I was surrounded by it. I loved it from the start.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Scary thought. 

In five years' time I'll be:

Balder, I suspect. 

Define your job in one word:

Fulfilling. Very.

What's your poison:

Red, red wine.

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