Young Guns: OMD media executive, Christian Bendelack

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 2 February 2017
Christian Bendelack

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the buzzing 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. Last week we spoke to JWT senior account manager, Rose Dwyer.

This week, we head to Sydney to meet OMD media executive for Qantas, Christian Bendelack.

How long have you been in the industry:

18 months.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

18 months.

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

I was working in Brisbane at a small magazine coordinating advertising. I really wanted a job in a media agency and saw a role on Qantas out of OMD Sydney. I emailed the MD and asked for an interview.

Define your job in one word:


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

Having friends in agencies I understood agency life to be very social and an emphasis made on building relationships with clients and the media. I thought it would be high workload, high pressure but very fun.

I did a lot of research on which agency to apply to and one of the main reasons why I wanted to join OMD was its training programme. Being new to the industry I really wanted to work for an employer who would invest in my development.

How does the reality match up? 

It matches up well thankfully, although I didn’t expect to become genuine friends with my team, we’re even going away for the weekend together.

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

OMD use market and data expertise to unlock insights and ideas which when brought to life, stimulate consumers into taking action, delivering the results our clients care about. Because of this we are distinctive in market, we lead the way in performance with our client which is always done with integrity.

My role involves just this. The travel industry is very interesting to work on. It’s reactive to external market factors along with seasonality and therefore requires the ability to think tactically.

Best thing about the industry you work in?

Having the opportunity to work on well-known brands and with talented people and leveraging this opportunity to learn from them.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Nothing major. I have great guidance from my managers. The hardest thing has been trying to find more of a work-life balance and switching off at the weekend, but I think that’s pretty standard.

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

Marketing/new business because it would be great working on pitches and having the opportunity to work with and learn from the senior agency team. Plus, I think you would gain a deeper insight into the direction of the agency.

What's exciting you about the industry right now? 

The rate at which offline channels are evolving and the ever-growing opportunities to overlay data for more targeted campaigns, particularly with OOH and radio, which is making them more accountable in achieving media/business results.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

The next five years are going to be massive for the industry as we see ability to further refine targeting abilities and become more strategic with data, however this also presents the possibility that some of the magic that comes with creativity may be lost.

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

My managers. They’re always pushing my thinking with strategy and planning as well as helping me develop my soft skills. They always have my back and are keen for me to succeed as I am.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

No one to dethrone, but I’m working towards a regional leadership role.

I do see Alan Joyce as a huge inspiration, although not in the media industry, I appreciate his resilience, determination and ability to drive positive business outcomes through building a diverse team and empowering them to succeed.

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

Well, that’s a big question. Who knows what structures within agencies will exist then, but I would like to be leading client management/comms planning across strategic accounts.

I have the opportunity, I just need to take advantage of all the training that’s available to me and become a sponge and learn from those around me.

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

Retaining talent and knowledge sharing across different regions.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

I read a lot of trade press in other markets and I find these are a really good source for case studies. I’m also a Linkedin fanatic. I get a lot of information from what others post, whether it’s opinion pieces or people sharing research reports.

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

I was a dressage rider and was stable manager at London 2012 Olympics.

Favourite advert is:

Most recently I really liked what Optus did around the Olympics. It was a great way of leveraging a major event showcasing national pride through talent and humour. 

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

I always used to wonder how brands came up with their comms and why they used some media channels over others.

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

A dressage rider again, I miss horses, the outdoors and competing.

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