My Media Hero: Christopher Kenna, Brand Advance
February 19, 2020 Justin Pearse
Christopher Kenna is CEO and Co-Founder of Brand Advance, a company which connect brands with diverse audiences globally, and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at OUTvertising, the Advertising industry Lobbying Group.
Who is your media hero?
I have to say (because he would ignore me for life if I don’t!!) Jerry Daykin, EMEA Media Lead, GSK, has to be my media hero. I also have professional crushes on other people like Sarah Mansfield, Luis DiComo (Unilever) and obviously Karen Blackett ! (Mega Champion Crush!)
But Jerry literally stands for everything I do and shouts as loud or sometimes louder about what not only is right but just good media business sense.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Jerry has not only lead the way with many global brands such as Diageo and GSK in ensuring their media planning and buying is fair and inclusive of all demographics within society – but he also champions the smaller minorities or actually ethnic majorities in some cases (London / Manchester / Birmingham / Leeds, Bradford) or LatinX USA.
How has he helped drive media?
Ensuring that big brand money is channelled to not only engage consumers and increase revenue – but at the same time ensuing that the voices of community and minority demographic media are kept going. In today’s world these voices are needed and brands can really help in that – Jerry champions this hourly!! (Just check his Twitter and LinkedIn, he literally never shuts up about it!)
Being part of the Conscious Advertising Network and movement alongside taking to many stages with yours truly and others to champion brand safety/keyword blocking, he has made brands and agencies consider something that they may have ignored before – his relentless pursuit has quite literally changed the course of many brands in this area.
What are the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
The biggest challenge in media is the unequal spend on ‘mainstream’ – straight white media – than in LGBTQ+, Black Asian & Minority Ethnic, Disability, Gender, Age 50+ and religious media which added together dwarf the ‘mainstream’ consumer bucket. Quite frankly brands cannot afford to ignore any longer.
What is your most heroic achievement in media so far?
My most heroic media achievement is not so much mine solely, but the team I have built at Brand Advance’s collective achievement.
As we provide a way for brands globally to reach diverse audiences in publications without key word blocking affecting commercial revenue – we have estimated that around 40 people have been able to make running their publication a full-time ‘paid’ venture, due to the regular revenue they now receive from Brand Advance.
I’m also extremely proud of the £100,000 publisher fund we recently released, allowing anyone with an idea for a digital publication speaking to an underrepresented community to apply for £500 – £5000 grants to help them start-up.