Industry Profile: Jeff Malone at Town Square

By AdNews | 8 February 2024
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.
Jeff Malone: chief strategy officer at Town Square
Time in current role/time at the company: 
Nine months.
How would you describe what the company does?Simply put, we use creativity to solve interesting problems. We exist to help drive our clients’ businesses forward and make a demonstrable impact on their bottom line. Sometimes that means we make ads. Sometimes it doesn’t.
What do you do day-to-day?Strategy is essentially solving problems. It might include talking to clients, listening to audiences, analysing research reports, building strategies and comms plans… and inevitably, a few Wikipedia rabbit holes.
Define your job in one word:
Inspire.I got into the advertising industry because:If I said I “fell into advertising,” it would be misleading because it suggests far too much agency on my part. A chance encounter in a coffee shop with a recruiter led to my first gig at Ogilvy in New York and honestly, I took the job because it sounded fun and it seemed like a good way for me to put my anthropology degree to use without having to become a professor.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?Convincing cautious clients that nothing’s more dangerous than ‘safe.’What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?The increasing prevalence of short-term thinking. For anyone who cares about the enduring success of their brands, it’s a pernicious path, ultimately creating problems others will be expected to sort out once the equity’s been stripped from the brand.What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?Eating my weight in lobster rolls when I get back to Boston to visit my family for the first time in six years.
Who has been a great mentor to you and why?Despite being dead for years before I was born, Howard Luck Gossage (well, his writings and work in any case) has had the greatest influence on me. A brilliantly provocative contrarian, Gossage approached advertising with a sense of awareness, honesty and responsibility that’s made his work and legacy timeless.Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?Don’t rush into advertising. It will always be there. Go to interesting places, do interesting things, talk to interesting people and experience as much that’s outside of your comfort zone as you can. The more you can see the world through other people’s eyes, the better strategist you’ll be.If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
My mantra is:I don’t know that I have one, but if I did, it would probably start with “According to Binet and Field…”
My favourite advert is (and why):Dunlop’s 1993 “Tested for the Unexpected” ad created in the UK by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and directed by Tony Kaye (American History X). It’s a kaleidoscopic fever-dream set to The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” that, once you embrace its sheer insanity, is remarkably on brief. It’s the epitome of ‘impossible to ignore.’ And once you see it, impossible to forget.Music and TV streaming habits: what do you subscribe to?Just about all of them, begrudgingly.  Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?For about three years I lived in a reed hut without electricity or running water in a rural village in Mozambique where I taught Year 8 biology.In five years' time I'll be:Hopefully, starting on my path to recovery from imposter syndrome.

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