The Fishbowl: Bill Dennett, Ozone

The Fishbowl: Bill Dennett, Ozone
The Fishbowl

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week, it’s Bill Dennett, head of regional agency sales, UK and Ireland, at Ozone.

Bill Dennett started at Ozone in 2021 as a senior agency partner, became regional sales hub lead in 2022 and took on his current title in 2023.

Before Ozone, Dennett worked at News UK in agency sales positions for more than six years.

He started his career in media sales at Clear Channel in 2012.

How did you end up working in media?

While studying at university in Manchester, I was lucky enough to secure an internship at Clear Channel.

It was a great introduction to the world of media, as it involved supporting various business-change work streams.

This led to me securing a full-time role when I graduated and I haven’t looked back since.

Why are you passionate about media?

There are so many reasons to be passionate about media. At best, it connects brands with communities and inspires action.

I am incredibly passionate about protecting quality journalism and focus on helping brands realise the value of premium publisher environments.

And this is why I was so keen to join Ozone, given we have a shared mission to build a digital advertising business for the future — one that puts advertisers and publishers at the centre and that creates a better experience for readers.

Which advertiser would you love to work with (but don’t already) and how would you sell Ozone to them?

I would love to work with Patagonia, which is recognised as one of the most ethical companies in the world. It uses premium sustainable materials and actively supports customers looking to repair their clothing instead of buying new ones. I feel that our values are closely aligned.

Patagonia follows fair-trade practices and closely monitors its supply chain. Ozone was created to build a fairer ecosystem for audiences, brands and publishers. Thanks to our single buying point and premium-only portfolio, we are an incredibly efficient, transparent and sustainable route to programmatic success.

Beyond our shared values, I would highlight that Ozone is built on an unrivalled wealth of first-party data and our unique cross-publisher view of user reading patterns would ensure Patagonia reaches quality audiences across the right environments.

What’s your favourite ad of all time?

Carlsberg’s “Probably the best lager in the world” — it has been around since 1973 and still has the same impact.

My dad was a comedian and they sponsored his show with the strapline: “Probably the best show in town!” So there is a personal connection to the ad campaign too!

What are clients talking about this year that they weren’t last year?

We’re at an inflection point in our industry, with political and economic uncertainty and changing consumer behaviours.

Change is the only constant for the ad industry, but we have an opportunity to redesign our industry for the better.

While the deprecation of the third-party cookie has been a constant topic of discussion in our industry over the last few years, as we move through 2024 there has been a noticeable shift towards turning the conversations to action.

And while the cookie chat has often come from a place of concern or worry about what the future might hold, the situation actually creates a lot of opportunity for a business like ours built on fully compliant, publisher first-party data.

How often are you in the office in a typical week?

We aim to be in our new Manchester office three days a week, but the nature of the regional media landscape means an office day can be spent across the four corners of the UK and Ireland, getting closer to clients to understand their challenges.

Peer question: Who are your role models?

My aunty, Anne Smillie, has always been a role model. She was CEO of Badminton Scotland at 28, retiring as the longest-serving CEO in British sport, having led the sport for nearly four decades.

Her achievements included staging nine major international championships in Scotland, securing a royal patronage for the sport and becoming the first female to join the Badminton World Federation.

She has an uncompromising adherence to strong moral values, always acts with integrity and stands up for what she believes in.

Question from Davina Barker, sales director, Digital Cinema Media

Peer question: You’re in charge of the line-up for Glastonbury in 2024. Choosing any artist, dead or alive, who are your headliners for Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

I would have to start the weekend with Queen, hoping they could recreate their iconic Live Aid performance.

For Saturday, I would end a 15-year feud with an Oasis reunion.

Sunday would see Elvis close the show with his first UK performance.

Question from James Cornish, SVP, international sales and partnerships, Vevo

Peer question: What are your top three workplace non-negotiable behaviours?

One of our values at Ozone is “together is the best way” as we believe teamworking is how we make the most impact.

Success is a team effort, so being a collaborative team player is a must. Ozone’s chief revenue officer, Craig Tuck, is passionate about ensuring the team operates with humility and I’ve seen the positive impact this has on team culture and success, so staying humble is key.

Finally, we spend most of our time at work, so ensuring you have some fun along the way is important too.

Question from Ryan Rummery, commercial Dax director, Global

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