Industry Profile: DDI MD Caroline McLaughlin

By AdNews | 28 July 2017
Caroline McLaughlin

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.

We previously spoke with Domain chief editorial marketing officer Melina Cruickshank.

This time we speak to DDI managing director Caroline McLaughlin.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Two years

How would you describe what the company does?

Some might call us attention seekers, we like to think of ourselves as attention hackers. We’re an Australian owned, fiercely independent full service creative agency.

What does your role involve?

Always being the most honest person in the room, even when honesty hurts.

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

Doubling our revenue in the last 12 months and building a quirky, talented team of individuals who make coming to work a treat.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The people. They’re wild, fearless and suprememly clever and I love the cliff-leaping abandon that goes with that.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:

In Australia: Bulldozer, Clems, BWM. In London: O&M, Saatchi’s and McCanns. I also worked for myself for four years in between kids.

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

Doing something creative and generous that will make my son and daughter proud.

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

This industry is brutal in the worst ways. It’s ageist, sexist and has an unhealthy degree of politics. And yet it’s a gift at the same time because it’s filled with generosity of spirit and amazing thinkers. We should be building up the latter to keep talented people invested in Adland, rather than burning them out and killing their passion by remaining attached to the bad old days. Every agency has a role to play in changing the status’s on all of us to do so.

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

My middle name is Hope which probably explains my ‘glass half full’ approach to life.

Top networking tip:

Listening is the cheapest concession you can make.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

I’m loving Hotel Pallisade with its lavish reinvention and amazing views in a rediscovered part of The Rocks.

My favourite advert is:

I’ve been watching a bunch of old stuff recently and I still love Guinness ‘Surfers’.

There’s a lot of content out there that’s here today, gone tomorrow, but I’m always going to be a sucker for ads that stir something deep within. The ones that can do that have a unique power that will always stand the test of time.

My must-have gadget is:

My always-broken, smashed-up phone.

My favourite media is:

I’m a podcast addict, and right now The Forward is my #1. I’m also quite attached to the fabulous lives I get to lead vicariously through Instagram.

AdNews has a podcast! 

My favourite TV show is:

It’s a toss up between Divorce and Girls.

The last book I read:

The Gathering by Anne Enright

My mantra / philosophy is:

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

I got into advertising because:

I fell in love with a classic VW ad back in South Africa made by Ogilvy&Mather and I dropped out of Law School to go and work for them.

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

Advertising got its claws in me early and I’ve never felt the need to do anything else partly because I’ve never found anything that’s captivated me quite as much. That’s the lucky part of this business – the stories keep on coming, and you never have a dull day.

In five years' time I'll be:

Writing my novel.

Define your job in one word:


What's your poison:

London in the summer with my oldest friends…oh and chilled Champagne of course!

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