Simon Martin

Simon Martin

Founder and chief executive, Inside Ideas Group and OLIVER


Contact me
  • n/s
  • SimonatOliver
  • 151 Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4AB, United Kingdom
My Character:
  • Powerful
  • Tough
Work email

Bye-bye the decade with no name. What are you relieved to draw a line under?

Past decade: we invented the in-house agency model – but had to battle to be heard. Now, clients see and appreciate its value and are embracing it in growing numbers. This decade: we can concentrate on achieving more with clients rather than proving the model's worth. It's very much mainstream.

What’s your biggest hope for the decade ahead?

The world gets over populist politics. The boom continues and we avoid a bust. The boom gets shared and the wealth gap closes. Diversity and inclusion accelerate and we figure out how to stem climate change – fast.

And what’s top of your professional to-do list for the 2020s?

Continue to invest in our diverse, global and creative community of talent.

You have to job swap with someone in our industry for one month. Who would it be with and why?

Rod Sobral, our global chief creative officer. It would be great to be immersed in the work again and I’d get to wear some cool shit.

Who is your best friend in the industry and why?

Steve Parish. Outstandingly smart. Honest. Generous. Fun. Always there for you.

What do you think the Friday feeling is?

Where did the week go?

Who or what would you put into room 101 and why?

No one deserves torture, so it wouldn't be a person. Maybe an attitude? I'd put bigotry in.

If you could uninvent one piece of technology, what would you choose and why?

The gun. Let’s make killing each other less easy to do.

In the spirit of embracing failure… What has been your biggest screw-up?

Our spirit of embracing failures does not require the sharing of them here.

What do you do to stay match fit?

Listen. Watch. Think. Learn. Repeat.

What would be your darts walk-on music and why?

Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Epic opening and lyrics that challenge our perceptions.

The lowdown:

The founder of Oliver was the pioneer of the “on-site” agency model for clients such as Unilever and TSB and got a payday when he sold a majority stake in parent company Inside Ideas Group to You & Mr Jones at the start of 2019. With in-housing still high on the agenda for many brands, Martin sees room for further growth with his halfway house.

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