Young Guns: Blue 449 senior strategist Elliott Eldridge

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 13 September 2018

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to Blue 449 senior strategist Elliott Eldridge.

How long have you been in the industry?

Almost six years- that is a lot of Arancini balls and Cappuccinos

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I have been at Blue 449 (previously Match Media) for almost three years, and in my current role as Senior Strategist for 12 months.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

I was a bartender at a pretty dingy hotel, mainly pouring Reschs. I was studying Communications and saw a number on a MFA Facebook post, and decided to call.

Define your job in one word:

Caffeinated

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

I actually chose to study advertising because I was watching Mad Men, and fell in love with the idea of being the Don Draper in a room, the person who always manages to solve the problem- and gets to drink whisky. I thought media agencies were going to be full of Don Drapers to learn from.

How does the reality match up?

I have met amazing people in my career, who make problem solving and planning look effortless- but it is guided a lot more from data and collaboration, instead of late night whisky-fuelled naps the night before client meetings.. (We save those for pitches).

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

Having worked at other agencies and moving to Blue 449 when it was still the independent Match Media, the biggest thing I noticed was that people at Match were super passionate about addressing business problems. Many agencies are trying to move into the space of ideas intersecting science, but with a heavy investment into analytics early in the game, Blue 449 is already there and has been for a while. My role as Strategist in the agency means that I am tied to exactly that, I make sure everything proposed to a client is linked to a business outcome and an appropriate measurement. Ensuring that everything out the door ladders up to our long-time ethos of “Creating Work That Works”.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The diverse minds that you meet across companies and disciplines

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

It is very easy to let the stress of the work into your personal life, especially when you have just entered the industry and are trying to prove yourself. I have great mentors who helped me realise that you “do your best at your desk, but leave it at the door”

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

Analytics. Our analytics team are amazing, and I am always taken back by their passion for creating tools to solve bespoke client problems. They are the rock stars that always make a client lean forward in a meeting.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

I am pretty excited by the shift we are seeing in terms of agencies becoming partners of business transformation, and not just marketing. It allows for exciting conversations with clients, and really changes the game from media agencies being seen as spot buyers by clients, to the custodian of the consumer.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

There has been a lot of important discussions around GDPR and regulation of data, I am just concerned that we will lose the ability to keep pushing the limitations of how we can cleverly connect with consumers.

Who's your right-hand person/who guides you day to day?

My Strategy Director, Max Broer (technically left hand person as he sits to my left). I have worked with him for the majority of my career, so we are close enough for him to tell me when I am being a whinger or missing the mark.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Again, having worked with Max for a while and respecting him immensely- the friendly competition and drive is there to topple him and become the master.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years and how do you plan on getting there?

It might seem cliché, but I’m not really thinking about where I will be in three years. It could be a new job, or new country - who knows what life has planned? I just focus on doing the best I can today and cross bridges when they come.

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