Industry Profile: Atomic 212°director of innovation, Peter Brennan

13 July 2015
Peter Brennan

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.

This week we head to Sydney to meet Peter Brennan, director of innovation at media agency Atomic 212°.

Location you are based:

Live in Manly. Work in Walsh Bay. Operate nationally.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I’ve been with the group since April 2013 when I first moved to Sydney from London.

Previous industry-related companies you have worked at:

I started my career at a trend forecasting agency called International Trend Institute working predominantly on the Mr Price fashion retail account under the talented Neville Trickett. I then looked after marketing and art direction at the youth brand Quiksilver, before relocating to London where I spent six years working hand in hand with some of the UK’s most successful ATL and BTL creative agencies.

Besides my role at Atomic 212°, I also run a tech startup called The Pratley Co. We’re about to launch an app called ViewPop that lets users capture 3D content from their smartphones.

In one sentence, how would you describe what Atomic 212° does?

We’re the performance people – a new generation media agency.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

It’s unbelievably hard to get a clear message through to consumers these days, which is why I’m entirely focused on amplifying creative media ideas.

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

First, evolving from a Search Engine Marketing business to an all media performance marketing agency. The second milestone has to be the run of client wins we’ve achieved, with the likes of Nike, AMP, TAB, NAB, Dick Smith, NIB, Origin and many others. The breadth and variation of our client base has triggered the investigation and development of solutions that connect brands with performance media.

What's the best thing about the industry you work in?

Anyone who works in the media/creative space has the opportunity to come up with game-changing ideas that alter the landscape of the industry. I feel that certain brands in Australia lack creativity, and there’s a massive opportunity for us agency folk to fix that. Being experts in this field allows you to position your client’s brand in a new and innovative light. Waking up with the opportunity to do that every day is exciting.

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

Challenging Dooris to the agency and replacing him as CEO of Atomic 212° (nervous laugh).

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

I’m a neat freak that suffers from severe OCD. All labels have to be facing the front, and objects on my desk have to be at right angles. Always.

Top networking tip:

Hustle. There’s a video online by a marketing guru named Gary Vaynerchuck called ‘The Most Important Word Ever’. Everyone should watch it at least once a day.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

Pier 8/9 Café in Walsh Bay. Good people. Good food. Best cup of coffee in town.

My favourite advert is:

The Sony “Balls” advert from 2005 by Fallon. It was directed by Juan Cabral who was just 27 years old at the time. I remember being completely mesmerized when I first saw it. Fallon had to source a million rubber balls for the ad and the entire thing was shot in one take by a 23 man camera crew and no CGI. The soundtrack was also the first time I was exposed to the wonder that is José González.

My must-have gadget is:

I’m an Apple whore. My iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro follow me everywhere.

My favourite media is:

Social. Although some brands do it well, I think a number of businesses still don’t realise the power of social media. When integrated with traditional media in the right way, you can really get your story across in a tone that wins customers much quicker than we’ve ever seen before.
A good example of this is ‘Dollar Shave Club’ – they create relevant content that they share across their channels in an interesting and entertaining way.
Social media completely exposes brands as they have nowhere to hide, which encourages honesty and transparency, and is something consumers appreciate.

My favourite TV show is:

True Detective. I’m a massive Raoul Marks fan. His intro animation alone had me hooked from the start. And McConaughey played out of his boots from scene one.

The last book I read:

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

My mantra / philosophy is:

My grandfather once told me that there are two rules in life:
Rule #1 – Don’t be a dick.
Rule #2 – Don’t ever forget Rule #1.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

I was the kid that loved coloring-in books. It was a natural progression to figure out how to do that on a computer screen. Once the physical practice of design is understood, the strategy and theory around why and how it works is the next step in learning how to market a brand.

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

A Barista. Coffee is a vice of mine and I believe there’s a true art to making a good cup of coffee. There is no excuse for bad coffee.

In five years' time I'll be:

Selling Atomic 212° back to Dooris.

Define your job in one word:


What's your poison:

Butter. Full-fat salted butter. On fresh bread. There’s a fat man inside of me trying to get out.

Did you catch the last couple of profiles?

Industry Profile: Archibald/Williams' ECD, Matt Gilmour

Industry Profile: TubeMogul director Jared Levitt

Industry Profile: Strategy head for McDonald’s at OMD, Gideon Hornung

Want to take part in our Industry Profile? or have some one to nominate? Email


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