Industry Profile: Digitas executive creative director Simon Brock

3 August 2021

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Digitas executive creative director Simon Brock.

Time in current role/time at the company:
Two months in my current role, seven excellent years at Digitas.

How would you describe what the company does?
We help brands connect with people across every part of the customer experience.

What do you do day-to-day?
Create opportunities for creative people to feel like part of something special.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
I was broke, far from home and out of options. I’d been living in Sweden for a year and was desperate to stay, but my visa was about to expire and I’d spent every dollar of my savings. In an act of desperation, I blagged my way into a title-less gig at Digitas in Gothenburg, with a job description to do my best and to add value, however I could. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind, as I’ve moved from title-less doer of things into roles as a copywriter, creative, ACD, CD, head of creative and now ECD. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with the potential of our industry to make things people actually want and to provide a home for wonderful, passionate, creative people.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Focusing my energy on the places it will have the most impact – for my team, our clients and the business. The ‘to do’ list will always be endless, so it’s more important to focus on the ‘to be’ list and bring my best to whatever I’m doing.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Life on planet Earth is dull, difficult and dangerous. And yet our industry continues churning out interruptive visual and sonic landfill that people actively avoid. We have the unbelievable privilege of being able to excite, educate, energise and empathise with people – and we don’t deliver on that privilege anywhere near often enough.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
Volvo XC90 Global Launch, Operation Enigma and FUT United for EA Games, Live From Aus for Tourism Australia, Mates Rates for Virgin Australia, Original Art by Stoneleigh for Pernod Ricard.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
My parents, when I came to understand them as professionals. Dad showed me that integrity is non-negotiable, Mum continues to inspire me by innovating creative ways to extend her impact on the progress and development of others.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Always deliver – that earns you trust. Be as generous as you can – that earns you respect. Say yes to just about anything and, when opportunities present themselves, go as hard as you can – that’s where you prove your value.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Working in sound and music production.

My mantra is:
“If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Elliot

My favourite advert is:
When H&M turned every one of its stores around the world into clothing donation centres where anyone can recycle their clothes. The ad was cool af, but the act was far more meaningful.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
For watching, I’m on Stan, Netflix, Disney + and Binge. For listening, Spotify, Tune In and I’m pretty constantly in the Apple Podcasts app. For creating, Artgrid, Artlist, Envato, Splice, Arcade, Pacemaker, Izotope and, when I’m travelling, Launchpad for rapid music making while sitting on planes.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I know every word of Shaggy’s timeless masterpiece Boombastic.

In five years' time I'll be:
Still singing along to every word of Shaggy’s timeless masterpiece Boombastic.


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