Interviewing the Interviewers: Tom Ollerton

One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting and interviewing truly inspirational people.  The new digital age has meant this privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some of the most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.

In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.

Tom Ollerton is CEO and founder of Automated Creative which uses AI to make ads. He also hosts the hugely popular Shiny New Object podcast featuring weekly interviews with influential marketers about their favourite new marketing technology

What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the digital industry in 2019?

My biggest hope is that we lose our obsession with ‘Big’ TV ideas like the John Lewis Christmas ad and start understanding the internet for all its fractured, wonderful weirdness. My fear is that clients will continue to buy ‘big’ and not use AI to serve lots of ideas in lots of ways instead.

What was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?

Launching the Shiny New Object podast! It’s been a labour of true love interviewing people I admire.

Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?

Marc Lewis at the School of Communication Arts has the most scientific approach to creativity I’ve come across. He demystifies ideas and turns them into spreadsheets. This sounds weird, but hear for yourselves. 

What one technology are you most excited about this year and why?

Creative artificial intelligence. We will see a move away from ‘AI made this ad’ and ‘AI designed this dress’ and ‘AI made this cake’ to harnessing its inevitable potential as a scalable agency smasher that can redefine how advertising works.

What was your favourite ad or digital experience of 2018?

2018 was a deluge of social media landfill. But the rise and rise of spine-tingling podcasts from the likes of Radiotopia will deservedly attract ad dollars.

What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever?

I like buzzwords. I admit they make you sound like a dick but used correctly they can save time.

Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t?

Sheryl Sandberg. Can you intro me? Ta.

How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?

A friendly and interesting email is a wonderful thing.

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