1. 2023 is the year of?

Peak Headwinds, with any luck, we start to look down from the peak this year and start to decend.… and a failed promotion (again) to the championship for Portsmouth FC.

2. Who is your hero from the marketing and advertising world? Why?

Ryan Reynolds. Come on, you have to give me that! Sure he is an actor but.. Aviator Gin? His telephone business? Wrexham FC? Deadpool 3? We know about all of them and they are worth a lot more than they were before he got involved. The man is a genius is publicity and marketing done in the funniest and most engaging way.  

Pete thinks Ryan Reynolds is a marketing genius

3. What was the last ad your saw that made you buy something?

An outdoor pavement poster for a 5 euro breakfast of croissant coffee and an orange juice on my local dutch high street.. I now go there every Sunday for 20 minutes of peace and quiet.. so I guess trial and repeat purchase!

4. What’s your all time favourite advert/campaign and why?

The magic of real people speaking about their gas and electricity bills through the mouths of plastecine animation. Simple genius. The high point of British gas.

Was anyone not a fan of the Creature Comfort adverts from the 1980s???

5. Riding the Storm - how are you persuading your CFO to keep on investing in innovation and creativity and not cut your marketing budget?

With higher prices comes great responsibility. More than ever, people need to be reminded of why our brands are worth the money. If we are not reminding people they are worth paying more for, we can assume that some simply wont pay more for them, they just wont buy them at all. Luckily, my finance partner is onside!

6. What keeps you awake at night?

Worrying that I am doing lots of things averagely and not prioritising enough. That somebody will spot the fact that, at times in the last 4 years, what to do next has been a guess, not an obvious act learnt from the marketing text book. That and a teenage daughter…

7. The Metaverse - in, (‘it’s the future baby!!’)  or out, (“I’ve seen Ready Player One and didn’t like it!”) ?

OUT. There you go, I have said it. Feels good to be honest. Who do you know that says ‘’yes, it's what I have been missing, at last the answer to that unmet need’’. I remember when people said ‘’in 5 years there will be no actors’’ after Toy story came out in the 1990s, that wasn’t a thing either! I wont be putting my money into the metaverse just yet. Mind you, I also thought the blackberry devices could not be bettered… so don’t listen to me!

8. Given the advances in AI, do you have a job in 5 years time? 

I hope so. I only see AI helping, not replacing. Creativity is hard to artificially create isn’t it? But if it does take over, wont the AI companies need a CMO?  

9. Which established brand continues to inspire you?

I am a cyclist (I live in the Netherlands!). I love specialized as a brand. They have format differentiation, premium tiers, brilliant product and a huge commitment to R&D and staying ahead of the rest. They have created a huge gap between them and the rest in my view. And yes, I have a bike from specialized. In fact I am currently considering a 2nd… but don’t tell my wife that! 

10. Which challenger/game changing brand should we all have our eyes on?

Aeropex headphones. I keep thinking that surely everyone has heard about them, but then I keep finding new disciples. Earphones you can wear whilst jogging that down go over your ears… so you can still hear traffic but also hear your podcast. They are brilliant… and also water proof. I am keen to see what they do next.

11. What’s the biggest opportunity in marketing and advertising right now?

Outdoor advertising. I can see you laughing…I just don’t understand why more marketers don’t use it. No issue with ad blockers; no streaming issue taking eyeballs off your product; capable of advertising within close proximity to your selling point;  capable of communicating and engaging Gen Z as they are out and about and, every time I see an ROI survey, its always over 4. What am I missing?? Oh, and podcast advertising… if you could buy advertising across multiple podcasts in a bundle it would be brilliant.

12. What is the most underrated superpower in marketing?

Courage. Safe is easy, but safe is wallpaper isn’t it?

13. Which (emerging) trend or innovation of 2023 will have the greatest impact on the industry in 2024?

Magnum Starchaser and Magnum Sunlover – the two new ice creams from Magnum. OK, maybe not industry impacting! Look out for the falling eyeballs on social media 1.0 . I think, like a rush on a bank we could see a fall in popularity of things like facebook become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

Summer is here, (well, nearly here'ish), so time for a Magnum!

14. What would you most like to change about the ad industry?

Awards… usually reserved for big brands with big budgets. But there is genius in small campaigns created and deployed with limited funds.  

15. What are you speaking about at MAD//Fest in July?

The conflict between data and human behaviour… how sometimes, data can make you miss an insight hiding in plain sight and how being in this current storm it takes more courage to act on those obvious insights. Despite the title, I promise pictures, some good stories, and only the odd bit of data!

Pete Harbour will be taking to the stage at MAD//Fest in July alongside other great speakers who include, Alesandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer, Tesco; Fiona Tomlin, CMO (UK + Ireland), PepsiCo, Thomas Beahon, Co-Founder, Castore, Christopher Miller, Global Head of Brand Activism, Ben & Jerry’s, and Ben Dancer, Director of Brand Marketing, Harry’s Razors. 

Earlybird tickets are available here.