Industry Profile: Wavemaker managing director Ian Edwards

By AdNews | 7 August 2018

Our Industry Insights 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 meet Wavemaker managing director Ian Edwards.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Just under two years in the role and 14 in total with Wavemaker (previously MEC).

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

Everything we do for clients is rooted in purchase journey planning and our purpose is to build brands that move consumers to action.

In one sentence, what do you do day-to-day?

I work with our people, teams, clients and media owners to help brands communicate with their customers. Each day is different from the next, and things are continually changing, but the main constant is collaboration.

Define your job in one word:


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

I was attracted to the culture of the industry. Being better at maths than at art made me investigate media agencies first.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?

While it was formed by bringing together two successful agencies, MEC and Maxus, Wavemaker is a new company and in its first year. We need to educate the market what we stand for and what differentiates us.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?

Perception vs Reality. This ranges from perceptions of agencies to the effectiveness of channels and measurement.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:

I joined MEC in London straight out of university and moved to Sydney seven years ago. I’ve never looked elsewhere because I love what we do and, like all MEC and now Wavemaker employees, I’ve enjoyed great opportunities and career progression within the agency.

Who is/has been a great mentor to you and why?

Frances Illingworth, who is Global Recruitment Director for WPP. I first spoke to her before I joined the industry and still today meet up with her when I’m in London. Frances has never given me advice, but always asked me great questions, which have enabled me to make decisions about my career.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?

Be passionate about the industry and what you do. Put yourself forward for any opportunity as you will learn something new. And get comfortable making decisions

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

Running a gallery.

My mantra / philosophy is:

I am big believer in Karma and treating people how you want to be treated.

My favourite advert is (and why):

I am a big fan of the Nike football ads and look forward to the start of the season and major tournaments to see the next one. Nike’s ad from the 1998 World Cup was one of the most memorable. Even today, when walking through an airport, I just want to kick a ball through the x-ray machine.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?

I subscribe to the lot – Stan, Spotify, Netflix, Prime, SBS, iView, Optus Sport. I also watch a lot of TV across the main stations and listen to a different radio station every day while I drive to and from the office. It is important in our roles that we know the content we are looking to put our clients’ brands next to.

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

When you have been at the same company for so long, there is little that people at work don’t know about you. But perhaps there is one thing: my daughter is named after the Spurs and England forward Harry Kane. Inspired by his fan song at Spurs, ‘He’s one of our own’, the bump was affectionately known as Harry – which got changed to Harri when we found out we were having a girl.

In five years’ time I’ll be:

Enjoying what I do.

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