Young Guns: Iris Sydney senior account manager Alex Peel

By AdNews | 11 May 2017
Alex Peel

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke to PHD Media planning manager Ben Lynch.

This time we chat to Iris Sydney senior account manager Alex Peel.

How long have you been in the industry?

Three years

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Three years working for iris, initially in the London office but in Sydney for a bit over a year.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

Labouring on building sites around London and picking up work experience and internships in advertising where I could. After a few interviews at different agencies a friend from university told me of an opening at the agency he worked at that I’d had my eye on for a while. He put in a good word for me and they asked me in for an interview. I’ve been with iris ever since.

Define your job in one word:


What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

The real expectations of working in an agency were that I would be working in a place where creativity was welcomed from any anyone in the building. Lots of my friends were going into financial services and similar city jobs, which didn’t appeal to me. I was looking for a more creative environment. The clichéd expectations were that I’d be reprising the role of Don Draper, wining and dining clients whilst coming up with ground-breaking campaigns off my own bat.

How does the reality match up? 

Somewhere between Mad Men and the D-Day Landings.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

We’re a creative agency integrated with data consultancy to ensure that the big ideas we produce are aimed in the direction that will most benefit our clients. My role is to build relationships with our clients, coordinate our internal team and ultimately ensure we deliver great work.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Working with fun and engaging people every day

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Don’t take it personally

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

Creative. I’d like to see if I could actually come up with any good ideas when the pressure is on.

What's exciting you about the industry right now? 

The speed of innovation in the industry at the moment is leading to greater fragmentation and diversification of the agency landscape.There are so many agencies with deep specialisms in different areas. This means we get exposed to and have the chance to collaborate with, so many different experts in these various fields. With all these opportunities it’s an exciting time to be working in the industry.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

The flipside of the fragmentation of the industry and the emergence of so many specialised agencies is that this is driving down margins and making the landscape a lot more competitive. The industry is only going to get more competitive as time goes on, which could mean a lot more time spent pitching.

Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?

Kobus my wooden hippo.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

David Griffiths. I’ve worked with him in both hemispheres and he knows his onions.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t even know which country I’ll be in. The great thing about this job, and working as part of a global network, is that it opens up a huge number of doors for you. In three years I could be in New York or Singapore or still here in Sydney, maybe having recently dethroned David.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

Diversity within the industry.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Kermode and Mayo’s film review podcast – check it out.

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

I have a blog

Favourite advert is:

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

What’s your personal motto?

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

I got into advertising because:

I couldn’t face wearing a suit.

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

Still laying floors in London.

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