My Media Week: Ed Cox, Forward Media
A view from Hayley Hayes

My Media Week: Ed Cox, Forward Media

This week Ed Cox, the managing director of Forward Media, talks start-ups, Snapchat and Star Wars. 


The week begins at 6.12am when my six-year old wakes me up because he has broken his latest Lego creation and can't possibly wait until breakfast time to ask for help in fixing it. Most mornings start like this, but I don’t begrudge the early start when it means I can play a bit of Lego with my son.

My working day kicks off with a management team meeting to review progress against our 2016 goals. Forward Media has recently celebrated its first birthday, and have big plans for year two, as we move out of the start-up phase and into our next phase of development.  

Most of the afternoon is taken up with a hastily convened meeting with the new business team - a new lead has come in, and we have to decide quickly if we should go for it, or not. The moment reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from President Bartlet of The West Wing: "Screw it, let's do it. It's game time". A great philosophy to live by, I think! 


I grab a coffee at the station and board the train to Charing Cross. I use the 30-minute commute to review emails, Twitter and various industry news feeds.

The day starts with an internal meeting with the Havas Village project team – why didn’t they call themselves the Village People, I wonder? We're right on schedule and this time next year, all 1,500 people from the Havas UK companies will have moved into the exciting new 'London Village' in King's Cross. 

I sit down with our innovations team for a presentation on the opportunities around Virtual Reality. Last week, I was at Mobile World Congress, when Samsung unveiled the S7 and Gear headset, and VR was by far the most talked about topic at MWC this year. I had a fun try out of the HTC Vive headset at a visit to the studio of Visyon, a VR production company we work with.

Ok, so I may only have been playing a special version of Fruit Ninja, but for a while I felt like Neo in that scene in The Matrix where he learns martial arts. 


I spend Wednesday morning at a session run by our futures team '18 Hubs' on how brands and agencies can work better with start-ups. Many early-stage martech businesses are desperate to partner with like-minded agencies and brands but it's not always plain sailing. Common themes include "don't keep us at arm’s length", "get us involved early", and "tell us your problems and we will work together with you to fix them". That, and "give us time to develop a solution, but move faster once we have it". It appears the marketing industry has a reputation for wanting new ideas, but delivered in 24 hours! 

Later on, I meet up with Daniel Rosen, who heads up global advertising for Telefonica and Simon Bailey, the chief executive at mobile exchange Axonix. We discuss how we can build on the work we are already doing together on O2’s own campaigns, and further leverage the rich data they have.

This was another theme at last week's Mobile World Congress: there is so much unlocked potential for deep consumer insight, inside the telcos' databases. I think we will find the telcos taking a more central role again in the mobile advertising ecosystem over the next couple of years and potentially further acquisitions like the Verizon/AOL deal.

I go out with a couple of colleagues for an after work drink – some blue sky thinking over a glass of red.


I drop my eldest off at school. Those of you with kids will know it's World Book Day today, when kids dress up as fictional characters from the world of literature. Like most kids, my son would rather go as a movie character than anyone from a book. We compromise on James Bond – the books came first, I guess – and he is wearing a cute mini-tuxedo and brandishes a toy gun (thank goodness for Amazon Prime). We pass a friend dressed as a Stormtrooper. "Which book is that from", I ask? "The Star Wars Character Encyclopaedia," he replies, proudly.

On my way into the office I bump into Matt Forrester from Snapchat. It's fun hearing about how such a huge platform with over 100 million daily active users is still very much in start-up business mode over here, with just a handful of employees in the whole of Europe. We have a quick catch up, and manage to get a date in the diary for a proper meeting next week.

I usually grab lunch on the go, but today I head across the road to local favourite Sheekey’s to meet with Natasha Murray, the managing director of Havas Media, and Christophe Cases, our global deputy managing director and chief executive in China.

Christophe has done some impressive things bringing together the creative and media teams in Asia, and shares some valuable learnings from his time on the consulting side at Accenture.


Back at base, it's breakfast at my desk as I prepare for the pitch following on from Monday’s lead. The team has done a great job on the presentation: it goes well, there’s good chemistry and I’m feeling optimistic.  

I spend most of the rest of the day on staff reviews and writing objectives for my team.

I've always worked in the client services side of our industry, putting clients first, and worrying about the team second. But a colleague of mine introduced me to this Richard Branson quote a while back and I've tried to bear it in mind throughout my career: "if you take care of your employees first, they will take care of your clients". 

I manage to get home for the kids' bath time, and there’s even a few minutes left to help with yet another Lego creation before lights out.

The Lowdown

Age: 38 
Favourite media: The Guardian 
Biggest inspiration: Probably my dad, who launched and developed a number of start-ups, back when they were just called 'small businesses'
Dream job: Travel blogger 
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