The Fishbowl: Simon Daglish, ITV

The Fishbowl: Simon Daglish, ITV

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 Simon Daglish, deputy managing director for commercial sales at ITV.

Simon Daglish, or “Dags” as he is widely known in the industry, started his career as a runner on the Daily Express and then worked at the Daily Telegraph, Independent Magazines.

He also worked in radio at Classic FM and as commercial director at GCap/Global radio, and was vice president of sales for MySpace.

Daglish joined ITV Commercial in January 2011 as group commercial director and was promoted four years later to deputy managing director, commercial sales.

He is the chairman of Nabs, the charity for the mental wellbeing of the advertising industry, and founder of military charity Walking with the Wounded.

He has walked unsupported to the North Pole and South Pole twice, rowed across the Irish sea and completed the ultramarathon Marathon De Sables.

In the 2023 Kings Birthday Honours list he was awarded an OBE for his services to charity.

How did you end up working in media?

I started as a runner in the dying days of Fleet Street, frankly I don’t think anyone else would employ me so it was all I could get!

Which deal in your career are you proudest of?

Every deal has a little bit of ‘you’ in it hence we all care so much. But probably the one that has made the most difference was Project 84 for CALM which helped ignite the conversation around male suicide and ended up with the appointment of a minister for suicide prevention in 2019.

**Peer question** What would your younger self tell you now?

“Go and be a runner in Fleet Street and see what happens.”

**Question from Stefanie Briec, director, head of sales for UK & International at FreeWheel.

**Peer question** Tell us about a recent challenge you’ve faced in your current role, how you approached this and what was the outcome?

We are constantly challenged but I think the most recent was a brief from People’s Post Code Lottery (PPL): “how do you make it relevant to the wider audience.”

We sat down and chatted it through, laughing about silly ideas until someone said ‘why don’t we……?’ The idea is genius and I think could reinvent the sector for PPL but sadly I can’t tell you about it yet as we are still selling it in.

But, the best ideas come from conversations and the most random associations, that’s what makes this job so exciting. You never know where the next bit of brilliance is coming from.

**Question from Lyndal Beeton, head of brand and agency partnerships at PinkNews.

What’s your favourite ad of all time?

Without a doubt the Mel Sykes/Boddington ‘Cream of Manchester’ ads. The Boddington’s campaign was typical of the brilliant work BBH were producing at the time.

For fun, product demonstration, a different approach and sheer entertainment, just brilliant. Sometimes creative today fails to grab the first rule of a good ad….it has to connect with the audience and be entertaining.

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

I would love to work with Sir John Hegarty again and bring back Boddington’s or maybe Yeo Valley. It would depend on the idea but for building an emotional connection there is nothing like TV.

What are clients most excited about right now?

Data, data and more data, which is a shame as they should be excited about people, customers and connecting with them emotionally, not bombardment. Be the customer’s friend not their stalker!

**Peer question** If you won £10m on the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

I would fill a swimming pool with Rosé and only get out when it was empty!

** Question from Ryan Rummery, commercial DAX director at Global.

Who is the smartest person you know?

John Hegarty.

Sir John Hegarty: ‘Britain has dull businesses’

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A farmer…..I still do !

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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