Steve Allen has been a mainstay of the Australian Media scene possibly since the Jurassic Age. At any rate we know his media career started when Television was black & white, Newspapers (print versions) were a growing media and FM radio was not even thought of. Digital media was generations away and computers were only used to send people to the moon. Steve has the wisdom of living through so many changes in media and working with so many clients that he really is a media treasure trove for our industry. So, we thought we’d put a few questions to him.
How / why did you get into advertising? I left school before my final year as I wasn’t enjoying school and wanted to get into the workforce. My Uncle (who was twice voted Sydney’s best dressed man by the Daily Mirror), was a Publication Representative. He had relationships in Advertising Agencies and I got a job at Times Advertising which was becoming SPS. I learnt everything; Production, Creative, Accounts, Media, Account Service
Your toughest boss? Probably David Baker at McCann Erickson, but really I consider Clients as the real bosses for what I do. In those all really bright people constantly thinking about improvements in their business. Mal Quin of Tip Top Bakeries, Rentlo, Bob Miller of Toyota, David Hollott of Citibank, Ted Waters of ING/Mercantile Mutual, Ian Dear of Australian Sugar Industry, Liz Katsiotis of Ateco/KIA
The smartest people you’ve worked for? Bob Miller, David Hollott, Karim Temsamani, David Burkett, Mark Kelly
Lessons learnt about business & life over such a long and distinguished career? Be upfront transparent and honest. Tell clients what they should do…if it were my $$ etc.  Developing a Media Marketing strategy is everything. Work in the clients interest, not the Medias. Never paint the grey…always make things black and white. Take the long view in developing business.. Always come up with new Media Marketing ideas or possibilities (annually at least). Use research to arm clients better and get them closer to their customers.
What makes a great client? Clients who metaphorically speaking, or actually, have skin in the game. Clients committed to doing things better and beating their competition. Clients who love sharing results and asking how we could do it better.
What makes a great media relationship? Honesty and transparency (within reason). Media’s job is to sell up. Our job is to achieve value (they are not the same thing).
What is the best campaign you’ve worked on? Toyota – Oh What A Feeling! Consumer ranking went to #1 or 2 in all scores within 24 months whilst still being outspent.


The NEO typology is a sociographic consumer classification based on an algorithm of 100 behavioural factors, 82 attitudinal factors and 12 elective spending factors. The algorithm sits inside the Roy Morgan Single Source database. But more than a typology or an algorithm NEO is a Premium mindset, Premium state of mind and Premium way of thinking.
The flipside of the NEO mindset is the Traditional mindset. Consumers with the traditional mindset want the best price. best deal and are motivated by features, functions and status.  These two mindsets are so completely different they may as well be on two different planets – which one are you?


The use of Data to refine media buys has been around for many years although the proliferation of Data and Suppliers is immense.  The amount of data on all of us is growing astronomically as we continue to leave a digital footprint, use more loyalty cards and become a cashless society through the use of cards. Data is used across all media but is particularly effective across Digital, Outdoor, PayTV and BVOD (Broadcast Video On Demand).
Some of the bigger “Transactional Data” suppliers include:
• Quantium – their data comes from NAB customers and Woolworths Rewards customers as well as RP Data for properties and Foxtel consumers
• FlyBuys – get their data from Coles, Kmart, Liquorland
• Ticketek – every time you buy a ticket your data is stored
• Roy Morgan – survey 55,000 people to determine what people buy
There are also ‘Data Aggregators’ who gather data from numerous sources such as the Census, Australia Post and popular websites.  The Aggregators are companies like EYeota, LiveRamp and Experian.
There are also industry specific data covering Travel & Auto. Red Planet (owned by Qantas) and Adara & Sojern cover a collection of airlines and hotels. A360 is an Auto data player getting data from carsales.com.au.
The media vendors also have their own data although since the Facebook data breach issues Facebook, Apple and Google presently do not ‘mix’ their data with other sources.  Media such as Nine and News Ltd do combine their data with other sources to maximise targeting.
Having all this data at our disposal is certainly helping us make more informed decisions around media.


The interim November results were released on Monday with year on year results continuing to be negative. That’s now 15 months in a row. SMI’s early November data is showing the market back 12.9% (ex Digital) at $436.1 million.
The major problem facing the market is far softer demand from Retail advertisers with SMI’s early data showing total Retail spend to be back 19.8% with that large fall having greatest impact on Television and Radio media.  The 2018 November figures also included spend for the Victorian election and the beginning of the lead up to the Federal election.

But the new competition in home delivery has seen the Restaurants category grow ad spend 11.5% already in November, and the emergence of Disney+ and Apple+ in the In Home Entertainment category has resulted in that category’s ad spend lifting 62% this month.
The Outdoor media has emerged as the best performer in November, and the only media to report growth, with its early bookings already up 0.3% to a new November record level of $97.7 million. This will be welcome news to Outdoor who have only had 3 positive months since January and previously had many years of growth in ad spend.
The softer demand unfortunately continues a trend we’ve seen all financial year and calendar year, with bookings for those periods now back 7.5% and 5.8% respectively.


1. The first song ever played on MTV was ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’

2. Greta Thunberg may be this year’s Time Person of the Year but knowing Adolf Hitler was Person Of The Year in 1938 does take some shine off it
3. Australian Consumer Confidence is the lowest its been in more than four years
4. Netflix topped the Morgan Christmas list, nominated as ‘really cool’ by 66% of 6-13 year olds & more than 70% of 10-13 year olds.
5. The fireworks budget is estimated at $6.5 million to ring in 2020, which is up 12% on last year.