Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Spark Foundry Chief Innovation Officer & Head of Strategy Marcos Angelides

Marcos Angelides is Chief Innovation Officer and Head of Strategy at Spark Foundry. He joined the agency in March from OMD, where he was Managing Partner of Strategy.

Who is your digital hero?

That would be my sister in-law June Angelides. Now before people accuse me of bias, let me make two points. First, she has an incredible story, which you’ll see below.

Second, it brings me no joy to admit I’m not the most digitally-accomplished person in my family. To be honest, I’m not even a close second. My wife is Head of Programmatic at a leading media agency and an absolute superstar!

What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?

June has always been involved in the digital space, working as a tech banker for a number of years, but it was during her maternity leave that she jumped into hero status.

Deciding she wanted to learn to code, June quickly found there were very few resources available, and zero courses that could accommodate those on parental leave. Rather than let that stop her, or simply finding a quick fix to suit herself, she decided to setup Mums in Technology. The UK’s first immersive learning experience where parents could take their children with them while they learnt to code.

She’s since become a venture capitalist, helping early stage businesses grow, and is a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs.

And it seems I’m not the only one to find this impressive. She’s been named the sixth most influential BAME tech leader by the Financial Times and the 15th most influential woman in tech by Computer Weekly.

So there you go, definitely the digital achiever of the family!

How has her heroism helped drive digital?

For me, June’s achievements represent what makes digital so incredible, in that there are no limits to what you can do. 

If something doesn’t exist you can build it. If you don’t know how to build it, you can learn the skills to start. And if lots of other people share the same goal, you can setup an organisation to help them get there. No other industry has as many points of entry.

But June’s also a reminder that none of this means a thing if you don’t have the motivation and persistence to see it through.

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

The biggest challenge I see is the lack of sharing and open collaboration. Obviously, we see that at an industry level with the walled gardens of ‘The Four’, but we also see it at an individual level. We’ve started to think that holding onto information makes us more powerful than sharing it.

Thankfully there are those who are bucking the trend. Jerry Daykin (EMEA Media Director at GSK) and Strategy Consultant, Julian Cole, are two examples. Jerry has been publishing insights and anecdotes for years (from his time both brand side and agency) to help people pivot into the digital world.

Julian shares a ludicrous amount of free resources on strategy and planning, leveraging various tools to help as many people as possible gain access.

I’ve never met Jerry or Julian, but I’ve benefited countless times from the material they openly share. Just imagine where our industry might be if we all followed their lead.

What is your most heroic achievement so far in digital?

I’m not sure if heroic is the right word but I’m pretty proud to have launched one of the first ever pilots of programmatic OOH. Unlike other tests it was the only one to plug directly into Google’s DoubleClick, allowing it to be bought like any other digital inventory.

It took a huge amount of collaboration between multiple publishers but it proved the concept could work, and helped nudge the industry towards the solutions we have today.

It was also pretty fun to plug Google Assistant into the San Siro stadium in Milan, creating an interactive lightshow for 80k fans.