Rick Jones is Regional President, Western and Southern Europe at Adform. He has worked in the marketing industry for the past 25 years, with roles for QXL, Camelot, Sony, John Lewis, and Google before joining Adform in 2016.
Who is your digital hero?
David Warmsley, who I worked with at John Lewis between 2007 and 2009.
What did he do to win hero status in your eyes?
When I joined, David had recently taken over running the John Lewis website at a time when it was really in its infancy. The senior management team wasn’t taking ecommerce very seriously at first.
By the time David left the business two or three years later, he had taken the site and the business through a complete transformation. It was an extremely successful site, a pioneering omnichannel retail proposition, which was soon taking in more money than any of John Lewis’s most successful stores.
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
That was the first time I had seen someone from a digital background make such a major impact on a business and rise to a very senior level. That may seem fairly normal now, but it certainly wasn’t back then. He provided a template for someone like myself in how to make your case to senior management and how to build a successful career.
What big challenges in digital do we need another hero to solve?
For me, the biggest challenge right now is how we navigate AI and find a new level of value proposition. It’s likely that we’re going to have to create a variety of new roles for this new AI-assisted era.
So far, the ad tech industry has helped to create a lot of complexity around serving digital ads. I would love it if AI helped lead us back to recognising the importance of creative in advertising’s effectiveness.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
When I was at Camelot, I was responsible for building the UX of the world’s first transactional National Lottery site. On another occasion, I was responsible for selling off the old Wembley Stadium, seat-by-seat, square foot of turf by square foot of turf via an online auction. The finale of that was even screened live on Sky Sports!