Industry Profile: Spinach GM and media director, Ben Willee

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 3 November 2016
Ben Willee

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.

Previously we spoke to Archibald/Williams account director duo Jasmine Krnjetin and Liz Ainslie. Today we head to Melbourne to speak to Spinach GM and media director, Ben Willee.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Four years and eight months.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Where data, technology, insight and creativity meet to help clients grow.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

As general manager and media director I help bring individual skill sets together to ensure we approach every brief, every challenge with an open mind that’s free from media bias or preconceptions. Unusually, I’m a coach, referee and match maker rolled into one.

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

Providing a genuine full service for clients without walls and layers under one profit and loss. It’s exciting to get a brief for one channel, fully interrogate it and realise your client needs something completely different. There’s something really exciting and empowering about being truly neutral.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The competition and technology, it keeps us fresh and motivated.

Previous industry related (ad land/ad tech) companies you have worked at:

Total Media, Initiative (London and Melbourne) and Ikon.

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

I hope I’m doing the same sort of exciting work with interesting and challenging people.

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

I’m a Navy Reservist.

Top networking tip:

Be yourself and don’t force it. There’s nothing worse than someone networking for the sake of networking.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

Cicciolina in St Kilda. No nonsense, tasty Italian food with a top notch wine list.

My favourite advert is:

That’s a hard one, but I would have to go with Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man in the World. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and head to YouTube right now.

My must-have gadget is:

Apple Watch.

My favourite media is:

Crikey, that’s a bit like asking a parent to name their favourite child. I love them all. If there’s one I couldn’t live without it would have to be Twitter.

My favourite TV show is:

Game of Thrones.

The last book I read:

Reckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanski – I can highly recommend it.

My mantra/philosophy is:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

It seemed like a lot of fun. Fortunately that was correct.

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

Sailing.

In five years' time I'll be:

Doing something similar I hope.

Define your job in one word:

Interesting.

What's your poison:

Very cold Melbourne Bitter tinnies.

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