General Manager - Digital, Media & Marketing, AFL • Melbourne
With almost 20 years global experience specialising in the digital media and advertising technology sector, Sarah is currently overseeing the core news, content, creative and production teams at the Australian Football League. She’s focussed on growing the AFL’s engaged fan base, while engineering innovative and creative ways for new audiences to experience the game into the future.
Vice President of Brand Communications - Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena • Atlanta
With stints at Jive Records, Red Bull, Habitat for Humanity International and now the Atlanta Hawks, Janet Smith has had an impressive career in entertainment and experiential marketing.
CMO at IAG • Sydney
As CMO at IAG Insurance and ex-CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi New York, Brent Smart knows how to change the fortunes of businesses from the inside out.
CMO Unilever International & CEO Unilever Korea • Singapore
Aseem leads marketing, innovation and digital communications for Unilever International, responsible for managing brand building for a billion dollar portfolio.
Start-up advisor and ex-CMO Virgin America • San Francisco
Luanne Calvert has decades of experience shaping some of the world’s leading brands. She was Google’s first Creative Director, and served as CMO at Virgin America for 6 years.
Board Member, Advisor & Internet pioneer • São Paulo
An internet pioneer in the 80s and ex-CEO of Walmart.com in Brazil, Paulo Silva has over 25 years experience leading high performance teams across Latin America. He’s currently the founder and managing partner of RockOn Advisors.
General Manager - Australia, Tourism New Zealand • Sydney
Andrew heads up Tourism New Zealand's marketing and business operations in Australia. His 20 year career has seen him work on iconic brands such as Red Bull, Stella Artois and Beck’s.
Senior Marketer in Multicultural Beauty • New York
Lamar has helped some of the world's most iconic brands tell their stories through digital channels, including L’Oréal, Pepsi, Oreo and Nike, and is currently focussing on multicultural beauty.
Senior VP, Def Jam Recordings • New York
A music industry veteran, Jeff’s illustrious career has seen him hold senior positions at Columbia Records, Bad Boy Recordings and Syco Entertainment.
Co-Founder of Been There Done That • London
An ex-Grey veteran, David’s career has also spanned stints at Mojo, BBDO and Bates. He set up Been There Done That in 2014 to provide a new model for brands to access creative strategy.
Marketing Consultant & ex-Global Brand Director, Hiscox • London
Annabel currently runs a marketing consultancy after an impressive marketing career, including 11 years at Hiscox Insurance and 9 years at Coca-Cola.
Marketing Consultant • Sydney
With extensive experience working for global brands like Virgin Mobile, eBay and GoDaddy, Tracy is currently consulting for some of Australia’s fastest growing tech companies.
The biggest disruption in sport has probably been the change in the media landscape. If I think about the rise of mobile and high speed internet, and the big consumer trend around OTT video streaming, there's been significant disruption and has really had to make us change the way we think about content production, media and marketing at the AFL.
Engaging our hardcore traditional fans is something that we do everyday and we do that through a whole range of content, in traditional channels and also digital channels.
But really the biggest challenge we’ve seen at the AFL is how we think about growing our audiences amongst fan groups and audiences that we don't really know that much about and that’s really presented the biggest challenge for us over the last couple of years and has certainly been expedited over the COVID period.
So on the back of 2020, and the change in media landscape and our fan’s consumption of content, it’s really led us to think about our structure and how we think about getting the most out of our resources but more importantly how we can resonate with fans.
So this has really led to an integration of our media network which is a fully fledged department within the AFL, and arguably a stand alone business on its own with our marketing efforts. And with the change and the reason for that is because we’ve started to move away from the one-off, big show off glossy ad, and started to move toward much more frequent content production and much more story telling of our game. So the alignment with marketing and media has really allowed for our marketing department to tap into our creative resources, all of our different capabilities in video production, in social media, in branded content, it's starting to think about creating content at speed, they can start to really resonate with different fans and different audiences.
A question I get asked a lot is how we think about in-housing and outsourcing, and I know that from a creative perspective, we’ve actually made a lot of significant changes on this front over the last few years. We’ve gone from working with big creative agencies and media agencies, through to in-housing the whole lot ourselves, and I think we're really in a point of time where we’re thinking about a hybrid model.
Where we’re thinking about bringing in agencies on the right kind of projects, where they offer real expertise and value. But also we’re really focused on the building of a contingency workforce, where we’re looking to scale up and down, in a much more agile fashion, which has led us to think about how technology can play a role in being able to curate a list of freelancers if you like, or contractors, who can really add value on key projects, whether that's branded content or whether its a drive at a non football state or whether its around creating more television assets, or advertising assets, we’re really looking at bringing in the best in class skill sets, but on a scale up scale down model.
And that's really where we’re thinking about from a structural point of view, rather than a fixed term structure that's going to see us to inthe next two or three years. Structure in the AFL and certainly in the media department are forever changing, and we’ll always adapt to what our fans are wanting and how we think we can best capitalise on that opportunity.
Some of the key projects that we’re working on at the AFL include an Indigenous football show, where we try to include more Indigenous crew as part of that project for example. Our big efforts around women has meant that we've employed more women at the AFL and our media department than in previous years.
We’ve also changed the demographic makeup, looking at how we’ve shifted and even from an age perspective, how we’re thinking about engaging traditional football fans, with the younger hardcore fans, because the way they consume content and want their news delivered, is very different from a 50-60 year old male hardcore football fan. So we’ve really tried to reflect our new audience growth and drive, through the team that we have at the AFL.