My Digital Hero: Jerry Daykin, EMEA Media Director, GlaxoSmithKline

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Jerry Daykin, EMEA Media Director, GlaxoSmithKline, is a true digital hero, constantly pushing both the creative and corporate social responsibility agendas. In January 2019, he was appointed to the board of the WFA’s Media Forum, a community of client-side global media directors within the influential trade body.

Who is your digital hero?

Tess Alps, ThinkBox.

She might be horrified to be nominated as a digital hero, and as a representative of an organisation representing TV’s interests, she’s not an obvious choice.

That said, for me she’s always been a powerful voice of reason for a digital industry that can get a bit ahead of itself. She helpfully keeps us grounded when we get carried away with our claims and numbers and does a good job of publicly keeping some of the big platforms accountable.

All TV in the UK has been digital since analogue signals ended in 2012 anyway!

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Digital is entering a new era of accountability and collaboration, where we start breaking down some of the silos we’ve created and appreciate how different media types work together.

The time when just ‘doing digital’ was enough to get headlines is hopefully over, and advertisers need to be making strategic cross-media decisions across their marketing.

Although they’re often classified as detractors of digital the likes of Tess or Mark Ritson have been a key part in forcing the industry to take a long hard look at itself to get to this point.

Sometimes digital does itself a disservice when we stand up and make unsubstantiated statements like ‘all money spent on TV advertising is a waste’.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Although brand safety has shot up the agenda, I still worry a lot of advertisers aren’t fully aware of exactly where their adverts are appearing and potentially what they are funding.

That’s not just avoiding obviously bad things, but also about considering if you are supporting the kinds of content you want to see more of.

Wouldn’t you rather your ads were helping a minority audience have a voice, than encourage another celebrity plastic surgery slideshow?

We’re a big influence in shaping the content around us. The Conscious Advertising Network is a great volunteer group starting to push this in the UK, though there’s plenty of room for heroes to champion it.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

It’s rare that you see the big tech companies working together, but while working at Diageo I managed to get Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat to sign off on a joint communique – committing to continue making their products safer for alcohol advertisers, and in turn to protect vulnerable users.

I did it in partnership with IARD (International Alliance for Responsible Drinking) which is an organisation which in turn managed to get a dozen competing companies behind the same initiative.