We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.
Lolly Mason is one of the heroes of adtech. From her work at trade bodies the IAB and AOP to pushing the creative and tech boundaries at companies such as TradeDoubler and now Celtra, she is a true force in the adtech industry.
Who is your digital hero?
This was briefly a tough choice having worked a good number of inspiring, bright, and compassionate people, but additionally wanting to recognise the pioneers who have been pushing digital ad evolution in a creative and / or responsible direction.
Then I thought of the great Ally Owen, founder of both the Brixton Finishing School and agency Hoxton United, and didn’t need to think further!
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
We’ve had a heightened industry focus on diversity and inclusivity in recent years and some strong champions have been making great strides within their organisations (for instance at Verizon and Microsoft).
Ally went a whole leap further and had the courage and vision to ‘quit the day job’ and successfully set up a brilliant organisation, the Brixton Finishing School and also agency Hoxton United. This will have entailed bringing in talented trainers, sponsors, community outreach, job creation for students… I could go on.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
Brixton Finishing School provides outreach, free full-time training, work placements and mentoring to groups that are traditionally underrepresented in our industry (for instance BAME, disadvantaged, and neurodiverse talent).
This is changing the lives of individuals in a very clear and direct way and supports the industry to bring in genuine diversity of talent to digital creativity, bringing a broader spectrum of ideas, and in the process, better returns. A big win-win all round.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
Creating a better internet for consumers. Much needs to be done, especially to protect minors and ensure political advertising is managed responsibly. And if a free ad-funded internet is to be sustainable, digital advertising absolutely must be more respectful, relevant, and either enjoyable or interesting. In turn, this of course helps brands to better deliver their messaging.
Transparency and simplification of the buy/sell side supply chain.
Adjusting working practises to support better mental health. I’ve been impressed to hear of MediaCom’s work in this area.
IAB UK are championing all of these issues already and have been supporting the industry to come together around common guidelines – so well done IAB!
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
So, if I must blow my own trumpet, I’m proud to have campaigned and worked hard to create quality improvements in digital advertising throughout my career.
Including with ongoing development of IAB’s IASH standards (the precursor to DTSG); in refocussing strategy to innovative and content-driven affiliate businesses at TradeDoubler; and more recently with a focus on creative quality and ad UX at Celtra and in my work with the IAB and AOP.