Industry Profile: Strategy head for McDonald’s at OMD, Gideon Hornung

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 22 June 2015
Gideon Hornung

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.

This week we head to Sydney to meet Gideon Hornung, head of strategy for the McDonald’s account at OMD.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Three months

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

OMD is a global media and communications agency with a strong focus on strategy and a diverse range of specialist business services.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

Finding the sweet spot between what a business wants to achieve and how consumers behave.

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

Winning three new clients – Qantas, Dulux and Red Cross. You can really feel the momentum after a new business win.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Mass digitisation, new buzzwords and changing consumer behaviour mean it’s never been more difficult to capture and hold people’s attention, we really have to earn it now and that’s a challenge I really enjoy.

The industry is also fast, it’s evolving constantly, it’s chaotic and it’s not slowing down any time soon. I’m just waiting for the day I’m replaced by a robot.

It attracts a certain type of person who either believes in the magic, or is maybe just a fraction mental, but mostly it’s never boring (except for timesheets).

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

MediaCom, OMD and Mindshare in Melbourne and five years client side in marketing and insights (FMCG and retail).

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

I can’t tell you whose job I’m aspiring for until I’ve passed probation.

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

In the last 12 months I’ve tried: pottery, Crossfit, scuba diving through sunken WWII wrecks, painting, drawing, improv, brewing kombucha, while failing at the ukulele.

Top networking tip:

Be appreciative, acknowledge the support you get along the way and return the favour. A referral beats a CV any time and support and nurture junior talent.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

I work in strategy, I’ll settle for a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

My favourite advert is:

“Not happy Jan” for Yellow Pages. There is something brilliant and crazy about a commercial that transcends TV and enters the lexicon to outlast the commercial itself.

My must-have gadget is:

A phone charger

My favourite media is:

I remain media agnostic, although I’m partial to a tram wrap (Melbournian at heart) and I’ve secretly always wanted to do sky-writing.

My favourite TV show is:

I’m quite emotionally invested in Game of Thrones: the carnage, the characters, the intrigue.

The last book I read:

I’m always reading at least two books at the same time: one fiction and one non-fiction. At the moment it is:

  • Non-fiction: The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Fiction: The Once and Future King by T.H White. It’s a King Arthur tale. There’s a lot to learn about story telling from old fashioned tales.

My mantra / philosophy is:

Don’t drink the Kool-aid, practice makes better and more listening less talking.

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

I’m fascinated by the idea that we can develop emotional attachment to brands and I believe in the power of data.

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

Continuing my eternal quest to learn to surf (I need a tonne more practice to make better)

In five years' time I'll be:

Probably working in a role within media that doesn’t exist yet.

Define your job in one word:


What's your poison:

The internet and red wine


Did you catch the last couple of profiles?

Industry Profile: Lotame director, Evgeny Popov

Industry Profile: Datalicious GM, Elly Gillis

Want to take part in our Industry Profile? or have some one to nominate? Email



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