Industry Profile: JCDecaux sales director - NSW John Harris

10 November 2020

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 JCDecaux sales director - NSW John Harris.

Time in current role/time at the company:
One and a half years/13 years.

How would you describe what the company does?
JCDecaux is the world’s largest outdoor advertising company. We specialise in the market leading delivery of advertising solutions across Street Furniture, Transit, Large Format, Airports and Rail.

What do you do day-to-day?
I lead a high performance sales team, challenged by our clients to deliver results for the world’s best brands.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
As embarrassing as it sounds now, I always wanted to be Mel Gibson in What Women Want. I studied marketing theory and advertising and wrote my thesis about the role of the emotional appeal in advertising and its impact on brand. I accepted the role at JCDecaux nearly 14 years ago because I believed this was the most progressive and exciting industry in media that I believed would continue to evolve for the better. Not a year has passed where this hasn’t proven to be true.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Working with our best in class leadership team to manage a significant industry acquisition, trying to keep our employees as happy as possible, making sure our campaigns deliver results for our clients, and more importantly being a present dad and husband.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Professional = verification. Personal = I’d like to see more people in media be unapologetic about taking their own health more seriously.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
JCDecaux was my first role out of university. Unless you class barman as ‘industry related’.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
I have been passionate about Amazon’s brand launch and integration into the Australia marketplace from day one.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
Oliver Newton (General Manager – Sales), Mark Bucknell (UK Chief Commercial Officer), Max Eburne (Chief Commercial Officer) and Martin Bryant (father-in-law).

Being passionate about what you believe in through good and bad times = having real character.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
There is a real skill in identifying how you can contribute and add value beyond what your role is on paper. The earlier you work that out the better for your career.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
A part time rugby coach and barrister in Manly.

My mantra is:
Leave a legacy, make my wife and two boys proud, start counting the reps only when it hurts (ok that last one is Muhammed Ali).

My favorite advert is:
An oldie: Coca Cola vs Pepsi
It was one of the first ads my marketing lecturer showed us at University.

A newbie: Mercedes vs BMW. Same sentiment, different spin. 

I love the creative and highly considered competitiveness of branding in our industry.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to? 
SoundCloud fanatic, mild addiction to podcasts, obviously a Netflix/Stranger Things fan, however the TV in our house is dominated by a three and a half year old so it’s Disney really.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
My family have just become Australian citizens.


Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people