Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Brian Fitzpatrick, IPONWEB

Brian Fitzpatrick is General Manager, Europe at IPONWEB. He’s worked in the digital industry since 1995. He was one of the first media buyers at Mediacom London, before moving on to leadership roles at Game UK and Lycos Europe. Prior to IPONWEB, he was MD Europe at He was also previously European MD of WPP’s Media Innovation Group the precursor to Xaxis.

Who is your digital hero?

 Tim Brown  Co-Founder at Fiducia DLT.

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

Tim spotted the potential of digital media early and managed to stay at the forefront of the industry from its inception to the present day.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?  

The late 90’s were the ‘Wild West’ for the digital industry, almost everyone was under 30 and full of big ideas and lots of bluster. This is the kind of energy that’s needed to launch any new industry, tales of changing the media and disrupting the old way of doing things abounded.

However to make anything happen, you need this enthusiasm, but you also need leaders and this is where Tim came into his own.

As Managing Director of 24/7 Real Media, he was able to play ringmaster to the circus of characters he had to manage, some of whom were geniuses others charlatans.

The skill of this Digital Hero was to be able to spot the difference and focus teams to achieve great things, not just once, but in each role he had.

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

While we have made some good progress in recent years, there is still a big problem with trust and transparency. Agencies have worked hard to address this issue, but there is a lot more to do.

Perhaps the hero to solve this is not a person, but supporting technology. The media industry has completely transformed over the past 20 years, yet we still have many of the same structures and business models in place resulting in value creators not being properly rewarded.

The mantra of ‘murkiness equals margin’ is still prevalent, however it’s holding the industry back and transparency that properly rewards advertisers and media owners is needed.

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

It’s probably being part of the team that created the first agency trading desk for WPP. The Media Innovation Group, the forerunner to Xaxis, helped to transform the way agencies utilised technology to manage and optimise advertisers’ campaigns.

The technology was part of media buying already, but the MIG set out the template for how media planners and technology could work together to make campaigns efficient and provide a level of optimisation that the industry had not see previously.

This is standard practice today and every Agency holding group subsequently established their own trading desk, so it was nice to be there when it started and help shape this part of the industry in a small way.