Young Guns: MediaCom content manager, Chris Johnston

By AdNews | 10 November 2016
Chris Johnston

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 Bohemia content manager, Cameron Roberts. This week we head to Sydney to speak to MediaCom content and distribution manager, Chris Johnston.

How long have you been in the industry?

Six years.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Four years within MediaCom Beyond Advertising (MBA), six years at MediaCom.

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

In between working for my old man and studying full-time at university I was running a backyard wrestling federation and a few other side projects that made little to no money, although that is an entirely different article. In the end, I don’t think my university degree held any weight, my subscriber base alone on YouTube opened the door to my first content role within MediaCom – been loving it ever since.

Define your job in one word:


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

People in suits, people in meetings, people at lunches and people on phones.

How does the reality match up? 

After coming straight into the industry through the GroupM internship program, my cliché expectations were quickly quelled in the first few months of my agency life. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to multiple disciplines very quickly while being surrounded by highly inspirational and skilled individuals – many of whom I still am connected with today. Although many aren’t in suits, many are still in meetings and on the phone. I am astounded at the over-reliance on email in our industry.

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

We are the content + connections agency. We find connected solutions that link people and brands through content. My role is to make sure the right people see all the amazing stuff we create. When I say it out loud, sounds rather simple… Remarkable how often simple seems to work.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Without a shadow of a doubt, the people.

Any major hard learning in the job so far?

People will always help you get to where you need to be, but you must be driven personally to achieve what you want.

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

Wouldn’t mind getting stuck into our content production team within MBA. I’ve always had an interest in editing and creating things, particularly across video. I am lucky that in my role I am exposed to working with incredible people that remind me there is always more to learn and explore.

What's exciting you about the industry right now? 

The opportunities are endless - you really can forge your own path and career direction. I am also loving the fact there is a groundswell of young talent defining and shaping our industry. It’s awesome.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

The beast that is advertising/media will always roll on, however I do feel that as an industry we are missing out on retaining amazing new talent due to a lack of long term thinking and balance. I am not talking about remuneration; I am speaking about flexibility across work-life balance, interesting work place environments and fostering creativity no matter the role.

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

My dad. He is an absolute champion.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Nina Nguyen, head of MBA Sydney – I feel as though she will stop giving me advice now…

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

I love working with people and thrive on developing product. I don’t know who or what that looks like in 2020, but I want to be around when it happens. My goal is to be leading and inspiring a team of equally driven, enthusiastic and passionate people – both on the agency and client side.

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

Diversity across the industry.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

I am a bit of an undercover digital comic fan and I trawl comedic blogs for material. I find it breaks the daily thought cycle. If you haven’t found it already, check out ‘27bslash6’.

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

Big sports fan. Despite my recent lack of athleticism I have previously captained a few junior Australian football sides (Soccer, for all you Aussies). I am also invited to every industry golf day to carry the executive team to glory – being a scratch golfer was the best career move I have ever made.

Favorite advert is:

German Coast Guard – Gets me every time.

What’s your personal motto?

Take the option that will make the best story.

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

It seemed like a natural progression from my interests throughout university and other areas. I have always been interested in branding, entrepreneurship and the strategies behind business success. Outside my own projects, it seemed like a good fit for me to apply what I loved doing to brands who had the means to make epic things happen, alongside people that were driven to do the same.

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

Professional Wrestler. Seriously.

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