Pantomime Revealed - The secret password and pitch recipe

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 13 December 2023
Author Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, front centre.

The industry's first pantomime sliced open media and advertising with the scalpel of a newbie as she tried to work out how to make a sale and find a piece of uneaten pie.

Author Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, spared none with her precision barbs, delivered by a peak amateur ensemble gathered from senior, and some junior, ranks on the stage of Sydney’s Seymour Centre for one night only.

Le Roy (clearly a gem of a chronicler with a keen eye for industry foibles) told a tale of lament, of shrinking expense accounts, the sorrow of disappearing Christmas hams, and fading tans from the now-dimly remembered annual reboot at a gabfest in the South of France.

She shows us the flow of the media-sphere: MBA programs done in an instant, academics with contradictory “solid” evidence of where the ad dollar works best, and those pesky (cliche alert) economic headwinds dragging at results (bonuses).

A slew of awards, in this case the 27 under 27, and events including a new conference North by Newcastle West, plus  lunch and learn at the office. 

Addy Lala and the MOOD Tea Thieves, via industry social purpose organisation Unltd, followed a young woman as she navigates the industry.

The dialogue is littered, in the best panto tradition, with bad puns, especially those that promote the industry’s MOOD tea: ”GUIL-TEA” And: “Oh rosé is so passe, so 2021. We need a quali-TEA beverage to get us in the brainstorming MOOD.”

Let’s pitch. “Hi there, I am Addy and here to change the world. I am a changer!”

Teddy at the Daily Washpot: “Nah mate that is what the media buyers say every time they change their media plan and demand a lower rate or a free ticket to a sports game."

We see a string of creative titles, including Purpose Evangelist, Digital Visionary, Chief Imagination Officer.

And the end of the pandemic jobs boom is clear.

Addy is told: “New kid listen - I am sick of your privilege, last year we might have been wooing you, pretending that work from home is productive, allowing everyone to bring their manky mutts into the office and making counter offers to second tier social platforms but in 2023 things are... different! Please bore someone else with your questions.”

The stick: A move into “ad operations if you are not up to a commercial role”.

The carrot: “… media sales is one of the careers where you can earn moderate wealth, access almost adequate expenses budgets and if you are a high performer you will get to spend three days in the Hunter Valley with your colleagues (wine not included).”

And the inevitable AI. Addy is told: “I have just moved into the new AI division where I am selling a dream. The dream of re-labeling machine learning as AI and getting native content turned around in an instant, not to mention AI creating my sales presentations in a jiffy.”

What Addy needs is a guide. Enter Micky Cabana (played by Ricky Chanana sporting a spangly jacket). “I am just a humble and quiet chap who has stumbled his way through the marketplace to find my path and I would love to share my knowledge and be your pathfinder.”

And the best place for sales leads? A conference, specifically Future of Creativity Modern Media Razzle Dazzle Conference.

With content streams: Retail Fairytale WorkshopHow to Build Your Brand Through Controversy; Women - they are a thing now. How Barbie and the Matildas helped us discover this niche market.

And enter geeky adtech showman Jimmy Seltzer (Sam Buchanan) the VP of APAC at M8X. “We have a universal identity solution that is quadruplely encrypted, privacy safe by design with an AI driven optimisation engine.” 

The curator of craziness for creative agency FUN (Fearlessly Unconventional Ninjas): “How much pitch would an adpitch pitch if an adpitch could pitch? He would pitch, he would, as much as he could, and pitch as much pitch as an adpitch would if an adpitch could pitch. This is the nonsense clients and procurement want us to believe!”

And Salesguy (Laurence Nelmes at, who has just been informed that his position has been right-sized, sings (words written by Chris Freel of Unltd): 

(American Pie backing track)

A long, long time ago I can still remember

When expenses used to make me smile

And I used to get the chance

To frolic in the south of France

And maybe I’d be happy for a while

But now the world just makes me shiver

And Cairns is all that gets delivered

Recession on the doorstep

It’s hard to take one more step

I know that I have mainly cried

As the pandemic hit us deep inside

And rivers of gold have all now dried

Even Christmas hams have died.


So bye bye to my slice of the pie

No faces at the races or Lunch and learns with a prize

The good old days have gone in the blink of an eye

Singing is this now the end of my time?

Narrator: “Our industry can be tough but salesguy I am sure you will land another stellar gig soon.”

Addy eventually pulls it together: “I have gathered all the insights and knowledge from the best and brightest in the industry along with a no-fail magic password (first party data).”

And a recipe is created: A sprinkling of native advertising; Some content integration; Lots & lots of video; A podcast; Distinctive assets; AI driven creative optimisation engine; A reality star influencer campaign; Sophisticated branding screens based media component with proximity targeting; Billboards; Social extension; and the BIG one, First party data.

Another person hooked on the crazy and exciting advertising industry.

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