Industry Profile: Ikon programmatic director Sarah Melrose

By AdNews | 19 July 2017
Sarah Melrose

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 DigitasLBi MD Adrian Farouk.

This week we speak to Ikon Communications programmatic director Sarah Melrose.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Just over 18 months

How would you describe what the company does?

Ikon brings the best of all the communications disciplines together in a full service offering to help our clients create compelling and effective work.

What does your role involve?

Programmatic innovation, strategy, media buying, and (quickly turning into) 50% of the time around technical troubleshooting.

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

Consolidating our full-service offering for our clients and extending more of our products to more of our clients. Establishing our content offering. Launch major brand or relaunch campaigns for Kettle, CBA and Peter Lehmann Wines.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

New stuff – tech, data, people, it’s always changing.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:

Microsoft (12 month intern – I was a rabbit in a headlight at the time); couple of independent agencies and most recently at GroupM in the UK.

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

Hopefully still not troubleshooting why PMPs aren’t working.

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

Why we’re not scrutinising the way all media is bought. Why does programmatic (and social, Google) get all the spotlight – what’s going on with those TV/radio/press/(insert other medium) CPMs hey? Why does no one look into what is going on behind those doors?

See: Is there a viewability crisis in out of home?

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

I was so slow when running my first marathon I got overtaken by a tomato, a woman in a wedding dress and three rhinoceros. I’ve improved since then.

Top networking tip:

Say the other person’s name three times when talking to them – you’ll remember it afterwards. Promise.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

Bennelong – because I actually haven’t been there yet in my nearly two years in Sydney and I want to!

My favourite advert is:

It’s a British one, the McVitities advert with the kittens pouring out of the packet – because one day I may be a crazy cat lady. And nobody hates kittens.

My must-have gadget is:

My Garmin – I run a lot.

My favourite media is:

I’m a big fan of podcasts: ‘no such thing as a fish’ is a good, amusing listen.  

(AdNews has a podcast)

My favourite TV show is:

Friends - I’ve watched every episode at least five times and still laugh. Also Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix – every single line has a joke in it!

The last book I read:

Thinking fast and slow – Daniel Kahneman. I’m actually still reading it. Ironically you do have to read it slow to take it in.

My mantra / philosophy is:

Begin with the end in mind (Steven Covey – another good book)

I got into advertising because:

I studied marketing at university. I wanted to do psychology but got put off by the amount of maths involved. Now my job involves a lot of numbers anyway…

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

Running more and living a healthier lifestyle.

In five years' time I'll be:

Probably at a DSP helping the new me figure out what to do.

Define your job in one word:


What's your poison:

Too many to list – although a nice glass of red always wins. Shiraz ideally.

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