Young Guns: Pandora account director Stefanos Fernandez

By AdNews | 27 April 2017
Stefanos Fernandez

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.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke to MediaCom senior creative Taylor Thornton.

This time we chat to Pandora account director Stefanos Fernandez.

How long have you been in the industry?

Almost six years

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Two years at Pandora

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

My most recent positions were in MCN’s digital team and a stint at LinkedIn. I saw there was a job going at Pandora online, so I picked up the phone and gave the HR director a call.

Define your job in one word:


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

Out-of-touch old men in ivory towers pushing around millions in ad revenue… with lots of Scotch.

How does the reality match up?

Intelligent young people in minimalist offices pushing around millions in ad revenue… not much time for Scotch.

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

It’s the world’s most powerful music discovery platform – the top destination for brands, bands and fans.
My role is to connect brands and listeners through the passion point of music, via strategic and targeted ad solutions.
This can include everything from on-platform digital activity, through to custom activations and events.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The people I work with both at Pandora and in agency land.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Be yourself and good things will come.

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

Our ‘Music Makers Group’. They manage the relationship between the artists, record labels and Pandora.
It looks to be an interesting gig that is a very different dynamic to working with brands on agency side.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Collaboration between competing media platforms to push category growth – which we recently saw with Pandora and Spotify’s ‘Unrivalled’ campaign, and direct integration of music streaming platforms into auto and businesses, such as Woolworths, through custom streaming radio.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

Brand complacency and taking the easy road by purely buying across safe, traditional media publishers and not testing the waters with newer platforms.

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

It would have to be our state sales director Rachel Page.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Our previous chief strategy officer now based in the US, Sara Clemens. Another Kiwi who’s made it big globally in the ad tech space.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

Still in music streaming or a related industry, working in an overseas market such as the US or Europe.

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

Accidental clicks in digital advertising. Click through rates are being used as the primary success metric, so the industry should at least be trying to represent a metric of quality rather than quantity. The standard for the industry should be ads that are easy to dismiss - which would leave only intentional and quality clicks that are an accurate measure of intent.

Where do you turn for inspiration?


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

I was expelled from two different high schools and never made it to university – but look at me now.

Favourite advert is:

Growing up in NZ - I have always remembered this ad for L&P:

What’s your personal motto?

80/20 rule

I got into advertising because:

I didn’t really know what I was applying for at the time.

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

Travelling and shooting photos.

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