Changing Perspectives: El Jannah Vs Chargrill Charlies: The not so invisible media bubble

By Ashleigh Markou | 28 November 2023
Ashleigh Markou

The MFA DE&I Council would like to see an industry where everyone can thrive, feel heard, supported, and safe to do their best work. Let’s meet the Changers who are sharing their own lived experiencesto inspire us all to change for the better.

When I finally moved to the inner city after seven years of working in media which required me to catch four trains a day, I thought I had made it.

I could finally go to a Reformer Pilates studio; I was able to go to media events with much less angst over the cost of the trip home and door to door it was 15 minutes to get to work. It was so central; I loved the experience of living in an urban area where everything was so close.

But there were things out-of-reach that were not as easy to access, and these were staples in my pantry; I needed the continental-style deli, and the good European fruit shops I was used to in the area I grew up in. Where was George’s Mixed Business? In my inner-city suburb my local grocer was a Wholefoods House. I had moved into the bubble. 

We all know that diversity is super important, especially in hiring. But what about diversity in geography? How many of us have been out to Southwest Sydney? Or Sunnybank in Brisbane? For those who grew up on a beach, have you ever been to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on a 30-degree day and seen the diverse families there, doing laps like pros? It can be an eye-opening experience in understanding what diverse consumers look like in this country.

Growing up in a richly multicultural community with immigrant parents and grandparents who valued the price of things differently made me a more compassionate and open-minded media planner. The ability to see an Australian “target demo” from a different perspective is an advantage we shouldn’t underestimate.

In our industry, we’re often quick to discount in our pen-portraits the diverse Australians living in The Hills district or Sutherland Shire who may have a bigger backyard but unsurprisingly, quite often smaller mortgages. They tend to have larger families, so this means they are purchasing more regularly, with bigger basket sizes. We also don’t always think about reach in Southwest Sydney when we receive the MOVE run. 

The most limiting mistake we could make as media planners, is to assume that everyone living in cities or regions around Australia has buying behaviour that reflects our own habits. Don’t be quick to dismiss the self-made blue-collar men and women in the western suburbs who run their own businesses, make a shit-ton of money, pack lunchboxes with the expensive snacks, and do the school run in a Porsche Cayenne S (and no, it isn’t on loan). 

Since making the move back to the suburbs with my family of four, in search of a yard myself, the most accurate meme I have seen says: “Whenever I tell someone where I live, and they say ‘omg that’s so far’... I’m like calm down I’m not inviting you over!”

…unless of course you are happy to take the road less travelled. The M5!

Ashleigh Markou (née Krstanoski), is a Business Director at Avenue C

To broaden your understanding of DE&I, complete the SBS Core Inclusion course – Australia’s leading online DE&I training course – available for free to MFA member employees. Access ends March 2024.


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