The Freelance Collective has an award-winning creative in its midst.
Chris Pocock is a freelance marketer trading under the name of 11th Hour Marketing.
He recently added his profile to our platform of amazing freelance talent. When we realised he had a Cannes Lion under his belt, The Freelance Collective was keen to learn more.
So, we reached out to Chris to find out his story. What we learned was incredibly impressive, so we wanted to share it with the world.
After all, a Cannes Lion is an honour bestowed on very few marketers.
Chris explains that he was working in marketing at Fox Sports when he was part of the team to create a campaign called ‘Monty’ – an automated machine learning model build in partnership with Google and media agency Mindshare.
While Automated Machine Learning has been applied to marketing solutions before, applying this technology in the way the team did was a true world first.
“We taught Monty the game of cricket. We ingested the last 18 months of Australian men’s cricket data into Monty, allowing him to analyse 83 unique data points for every single ball, including the kinds of ball the batsman faced, field positions and then define the wicket dismissal method when they occurred,” Chris explains.
With this information at his disposal, Monty was able to start working out statistical probabilities of when the next wicket was going to occur, effectively predicting the future and becoming the brand’s very own ‘sports almanac’.
Over the course of the summer, Monty correctly predicted over 400 wickets five minutes before they actually happened.
Chris says: “The phrase ‘game changer’ is used a lot in our industry. But I feel this time it’s warranted, because Monty has changed the live sport experience. Rather than offering data for targeting or as a visualisation after the event, we used data to predict sporting events – putting the viewer ahead of the game for the first time ever.
“Of course, it’s fantastic to have work recognised by your peers, and the judges at Cannes are some of the brightest marketers and creatives in the world. However, it’s the success of the campaign itself that makes me most proud.
“I love innovating, so being part of a genuine world-first execution of its kind is what makes me tick. Being invited by Google to speak about Monty at their global conference was pretty nice too!”
Chris was quick to point out that you’re only as good as the team around you, and that this was a genuine team effort. “As well as the overall marketing team as Fox Sports, the likes of Jack Smuth, Head of Innovation at Mindshare, and Drew Jarett, Customer Solutions Engineer at Google were essential to the success of the campaign. Everyone brought their own strengths to the party.”
So, who is Chris Pocock?
Chris landed in marketing after graduating from university after dabbling in a few other industries. “I actually completed teacher training so am a qualified languages teacher, or at least was back in 2003. However, I wasn’t convinced it was the career for me, so applied for roles in both finance and marketing.
“The marketing role got back to me with an offer first, I accepted, and have been in marketing ever since. It was a real sliding doors moment. The ‘me’ in the alternate universe is probably a bean counter!”
After 15 years leading various marketing teams for big brands like eBay, PayPal, Foxtel and Fox Sports, Chris decided to try his hand at offering his skills to a variety of clients on a freelance basis.
“The journey really started when a friend asked for my advice on his new business. I started meeting him for coffee once a week to chat marketing and provide some tips. That escalated into me building a full launch strategy for him,” Chris says.
His experience gave him experience of the whole marketing mix, from strategy and planning through to executing on the tools, making him the ultimate all-rounder.
He loved the feeling of doing something that made a real difference, so his freelance business was born. “I’m in my element with diverse projects on the go, whether that’s projects for big brand, or helping set up a small business for success.”
We asked Chris what he’d say to his ideal client if he was lucky enough to find himself in an elevator with them. He didn’t hesitate. “I’d say: ‘let’s creative and do something that that we’ll be talking about years from now.”
Over the years, Chris reveals he’s had big budgets – and no budgets. He’s worked with B2B and B2C brands. He’s also worked across a range of industry sectors such as payments, retail, music, broadcasting and sport.
“I’m equally comfortable building strategies from the ground up as I am with getting my hands directly on the tools, so I’d say my main strength is a good all-round skillset.”
Chris works mostly with clients in the health and wellness sector, but given his broad experience, he describes himself as a marketing industry agnostic.
“The marketing principle of the right message to the right person at the right time applies to any business, so I feel I can add value to any client, regardless of industry.”
He’s one to watch, that’s for sure.
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