A Chat with Gavin Stirrat

Stuart Elmes

 

It’s been an interesting few months for all of us across the globe, the uncertainty of a global pandemic has made the onboarding process a little different to usual but here at Adimo our team has become bigger than ever. With Gill Smith, our COO going on maternity leave, Gavin Stirrat has stepped in as acting COO in Gill’s absence. Gavin has extensive experience in the Digital Advertising sphere so we set up a Zoom call to find out a little more about him...

Where were you working before Adimo? 

My career began at Price Waterhouse. This was where I started working with digital advertising companies and discovered that it would be an interesting space to work in. By 2001 I had interviewed with and joined Advertising.com as a Campaign Analyst. I joined the company when there was a technological boom around the world so it was a great time to be in digital. I went on to head the operations team before moving across to product where I finished at Vice President of Strategic Solutions. 

By now I was an experienced professional in digital advertising on the agency side, I joined Greats, a dutch greetings card company to try to gain some valuable client-side experience, Greats were a dutch version of Moonpig, and while I was not in the industry for long before the 2008 economic downturn I learnt a lot. For example, the Dutch enjoy cute cards with a teddy bear on them, whereas the British are more into sarcastic cards that take the mick. 

After Greats shut down I spent a year working with a few friends at Clash Media as COO before, in 2010, the CEO of Advertising.com rang me up to say he was launching a new company. My Ideal Media would be similar to Advertising.com however, for mobile. I took the role as European Managing Director and the company saw significant growth in its first 2 years. The company’s worth went from 0 to $40 million and in 2012 My Ideal Media was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. After 3 and a bit fantastic years I left and was approached, Alex Rahaman. He had started a new mobile DSP called Strike Ads.

It was a tough few years for the industry, competitors were going under frequently but StrikeAd were quite ahead of their time which meant that we did ok from it. After selling to Sizmek I joined OpenX, not knowing that there was a global pandemic just around the corner, which leads us up to the present… 

How did you discover Adimo?  

Alex Rahaman who was my CEO at Strike Ads is now Chairman at Adimo, we know each other pretty well and he knows how I work. So when he came to me with the proposition of a year maternity cover the process was pretty quick. I had a meeting with the CEO Richard Kelly and got on well as well as the COO Gill Smith, and that was that. 

How have you found starting working for a new business remotely? 

Other than the stupid amount of Zoom calls, the onboarding process has been straight forward, I feel like I have a reasonable understanding of the business, what we do and how it’s run now. But as I said I’d rather meet people face to face because I feel you can get more done. But it is what it is. 

What digital marketing trends can you see emerging post-pandemic? 

For me, Google and Facebook are and will remain the biggest companies in Digital Marketing. In terms of trends, brands are now becoming under more regulatory pressure than they ever have before. Privacy and transparency are becoming a huge part of what brands do. Some brands even go as far as to say that digital advertising is a murky swamp of fraud. 

I think COVID-19 has accelerated the trends that were happening anyway, for example, online eCommerce, which was slowly getting more and more popular year by year has now become a necessity for any commerce brand. People overall are spending less money out of their paycheques, but they are spending a higher proportion of their outgoings digitally than ever before.  

How would your friends describe you? 

Well, I guess I like to work hard and I like to play hard so I guess they’d probably say that I’m good fun on a night out but also most of my friends are in the industry. So it’s started as a professional relationship and then we’ve got on well and started to hang out outside of work.   

Do you have any interesting hobbies or interests?

So, I have a love of gadgets, but also a love of cooking and I particularly like where I can cross them and have gadgets that help me cook. I’m one of the few people I know to have an internet-connected BBQ. So I have drilled a hole in the top of the BBQ and fitted a device that has a few thermometers on it that not only measures the temperature inside the BBQ but also the meat. I then have an app on my phone that tells me the temperature etc. So yeah I love BBQs.

 What is your favourite music genre? 

It’s probably dance music, just because it’s what I DJ with, so within dance music I like funky house, disco house and vocal house.  

Who are you inspired by?  

I’d say I am inspired by people that I’ve come across in my life, not necessarily famous people. For example, after failing my first year of Strathclyde University, I thought I would have to take a year out and then re-take the module that I had failed. The boss that I had a part-time job convinced me to continue with education but at a different university, who knows where I would be now if it wasn’t for him. 

Another inspiration for me was Will Becker, my boss at Advertising.com. I recently wrote about him in an article for New Digital Age, My Digital Hero. He gave me my first job in digital advertising and for that, I am truly thankful.  

 

We would like to wish Gill all the best on maternity leave and we are looking forward to what the year will bring with Gavin on board. To keep up with the latest from Gavin and the rest of the Adimo team follow us on our social media channels and stay tuned for all the latest from the world of Digital Advertising in Gavin Stirrat’s monthly article for, New Digital Age