Young Guns: Leo Burnett Sydney integrated planner, Bryan Wilmot

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 17 November 2016
Bryan Wilmot

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the buzzing young talent under 30s 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.

Last week we spoke to MediaCom content manager, Chris Johnston. This week we head to Sydney to speak to Leo Burnett Sydney integrated planner, Bryan Wilmot.

How long have you been in the industry?

Just under four years.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I’ve spent the past 10 months as a strategist, after having spent the previous 3 years as a Social Media Manager.

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

I was finishing uni and working part time before Leo Burnett. To get my foot in the door, I created and sent in a cheeseburger-resume (actually though). Clearly beef and cheese is the way to anyone’s heart because after that I was offered an internship in the social department.

Define your job in one word:


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

I didn’t really know what to expect but I thought my days would be more exciting than a normal office job.

How does the reality match up?

My days are certainly more exciting than what I hear from my friends outside the industry. While we work hard, the social aspect to an agency, opportunities to test new products and new technologies, and spending our time thinking about people and what will excite them always keeps the day interesting.

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

Our company solves problems for clients and a big part of my work is getting to the bottom of just what that problem is.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Planning is a little 'How-Stuff-Works-esq' in its discipline and I love that about my work - thinking about and uncovering the below-the-surface mechanics of people and categories. But what I love about advertising more generally is how it creates these iconic things that can become part of a culture’s identity. Things like The Bundy Bear, C’mon Aussie C’mon or Shrimp on the Barbie (for better or for worse on this one when you meet Americans). How many people can say they have the ability to be a part of something like that?

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Sometimes politics can compromise the best work being created.

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

Data and analytics. I’m a fan of numbers because they hold so much insight and they don’t lie. While I get by working with data, I would love to geek out on it for a couple years and get myself to beast-mode.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

As much as people are switching off to traditional advertising, I believe people are more open to brands than ever before - just so long as they do more than sell products/services. People are treated to some new cool shit we can do thanks to technology everyday and the tech is just getting started. People are also starting to see that brands are the ones that have the power to not only create this technology but also give it real purpose in our lives.

So what excites me about the industry is how we'll continue to redefine ‘brands’ and create things that make people’s lives better (even if that’s as simple as being able to track your pizza - I hate not knowing how far away it is).

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

The discounting of creativity. Advertising is a balance of art and science and with the advent of accessibility and measurability, the science has become all the rage. This is good, as mentioned above it will enable us to create things we never thought possible, but never in a million years should this science become more important than the art.

My concern is that with how much we love tech and the greater ability of digi/etc. to tangibly show how well it worked, clients will more and more (and it's already happening in many ways) see digi/tech/data as their solutions and discount creativity in the process. Digi/tech can build phenomenal engines for marketing activity but what good is a great engine if the fuel you’re pumping through it doesn’t sparkle?

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

Emily Taylor, Leo Burnett head of connect strategy, is my day-to-day inspiration. She’s one of the smartest people I’ve worked with and is constantly challenging me to think in new ways. She genuinely makes me better at my job just by sitting two meters to my left.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Dan Bye (strategy director at Leo’s). The guy has an unbelievable sneaker-game and I can only hope to knock him off his throne one day.

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

I just want to keep growing professionally; you can never stop learning, especially in today’s age. I plan to absorb as much of the intelligence the people I work with in every department have, as well as constantly expose myself to new disciplines and new thinking.

What is the elephant in the room?

The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be. The standing-desk epidemic. Sit down, people.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

TV Shows and movies. I know it sounds weird but often characters are caricatures of reality. So I find that watching stuff provokes new perspectives or insights.

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

If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Favourite advert is:

Those Lube Mobile commercials. While creatively they're a bit cheap and nasty, what I like about them is the simple objective they focused on to change behaviour which I think this came off sound understanding of the consumer occasion. With lots of demand in this category coming unplanned (I.e. repair vs. routine service) people just want their car fixed and it doesn't matter by who (within a reputable set).

These ads ran in an era before the internet was everywhere and certainly before smartphones, making finding phone numbers considerably more difficult than today. So if a number was highly recallable, people would call it, and who to still doesn’t remember that kid singing ’that’s firteen-firty-firty–two’.

What’s your personal motto?

Be better everyday.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because: Consumer behaviour was my favourite subject at Uni.

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

Home by 7pm.

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