The Fishbowl: Lydia Parker, Samsung Ads Europe

The Fishbowl: Lydia Parker, Samsung Ads Europe

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 is Lydia Parker, head of international agencies at Samsung Ads Europe.

Lydia Parker has been working at Samsung Ads since 2018, progressing from sales executive to head of international agencies.

Prior to that she has held sales and leadership positions at Conde Nast, AdColony, Phunware Inc, Somo, and InMobi.


How did you end up working in media?

I always knew I wanted to go into advertising, but having not gone to university, I moved to London and took any role I could to learn the ropes.

I started from the very bottom, aged 19, in an admin role, and have worked myself up to where I am today — heading up international agencies at Samsung Ads.

It took a lot of hard work, listening and determination! I’ve been lucky to have had many wonderful opportunities come my way, working across mobile, print, digital and CTV, mostly based in London, but also including a lovely experience working in California!

**Peer question** Who was your first media lunch with and where did you go?

It would have been at InMobi where I worked as a campaign manager at the time, joining one of the sellers. A great perk of being on the sales side is being able to try lots of amazing restaurants!

Some of my most memorable media lunches have been at Boundary Rooftop, Madera at Treehouse, and recently had some delicious food over at Sessions Arts Club.

** Question from Emma Callaghan, Reach sales and invention director.

What has been your most embarrassing professional moment?

In the early days of Samsung Ads, when there were only six of us at the time, we’d travel into our European HQ each Monday for a team meeting. If you were the last one to arrive, you had to complete a forfeit as a bit of a laugh. Our building, and the one next to it looked very similar. So one day, in my rush to be first, I accidentally went to the wrong building!

I sat there very proudly thinking I was so much earlier than everyone else, until reality dawned on me. So my forfeit was to sing the chorus of Carley Rae Jepson’s “Call Me, Maybe” out loud to my brand new team members! Highly embarrassing, especially with my singing voice! Whilst the European HQ and forfeit days are long behind us, I’ve not been late to a meeting since…

** Question from Verica Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer, Channel 4.

What’s your favourite ad of all time?

Amazon’s 2020 Christmas ad ‘The Show Must Go On’. One I always remember filled with compassion, determination, and love.

**Peer question** How do you develop, motivate and engage your team in a hybrid working environment?

Trust in hybrid working is super important. From a leadership perspective, forward thinking is critical to ensure the team are always fully supported in their development.

When we are in the office I like to set aside time for collaborative work, the sharing of ideas, and opportunities for learning from one another. I run a bi-weekly breakfast meeting in person; it’s our designated time to celebrate wins and deal with challenges together.

On days when my whole team is in, I make sure there is ample space in my calendar so I can have impromptu catch-ups with them all. And when everyone’s working from home, I’m eager to respect people’s diaries. Everyone’s time is super important and blocking out someone’s calendar with virtual meetings can be very overwhelming, and also won’t win you many friends.

** Question from Mark Bucknell, chief commercial officer at JCDecaux UK.

What key thing has changed in conversations with clients this year compared to last year?

A few things:

CTV is booming — there is more competition in the market, meaning we have to ensure our offering is more compelling than ever before.

Efficiency is the buzzword we hear most often. We make sure we are an easy partner to work with, which is critical when operating on an international scale and when battling against digital budgets.

Face to face time is back and I’m loving it!

What podcast do you regularly listen to and why?

My Therapist Ghosted Me is a silly listen but guaranteed to make you laugh. I also listen to The Ben Morton Leadership Podcast for some inspiration, and try to keep up to date with Exchange Wire’s MadTech Podcast.

Has selling media become easier or harder?

I wouldn’t say it’s become any harder — it’s a changing landscape and what I was selling in media 10 years ago is very different to what I am selling now! But at Samsung Ads we try to stay at the forefront of developing new solutions for clients and their evolving needs, and as the landscape evolves, too.

**Peer question** What is the most fun you’ve had doing this job?

I love to travel, and have been fortunate throughout my career to be able to visit different parts of the world for my job. This means always meeting new people — which is the part of the job I enjoy most.

**Question from David Wilcox, commercial director, News UK Broadcasting.

Name all the streaming platforms you subscribe (pay money) to.

Netflix, NOW, Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+ (too many probably!).

Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact ella.sagar@uk.adwanted.com. 

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