Annabelle Ottaway, Account Director

To continue our A day in the life series, Account Director Annabelle Ottaway spoke to us about the importance of ESG, vibrant client activity and the how thinking outside the box can come in handy.

Annabelle Ottaway, Account Director

What led you to a career in media?

The truth is, media was never in the grand plan. After my philosophy degree, I went travelling and enrolled in my law conversion course. But, with six months to kill before embarking on the course, I decided to start a marketing internship in London with The Fork (previously known as Book a Table). You may be wondering why I am not in a court room defending clients? The reason is, after three years at The Fork and three deferrals of the course, I faced the music and decided that I had found my real passion and it was time to put the law idea to bed. My time at The Fork allowed me to progress and develop my skills & knowledge within a constantly evolving scale-up company. Being a foodie, it also had great wine and dine perks as I was often out and about reviewing restaurants.

I then went on to secure a role as Marketing Manager at 7thingsmedia, then on to a creative agency in Marlow before returning to the hustle and bustle of London working in roles at Accord, Under The Doormat and Triptease. Whilst I had a mix of experience across in-house marketing, media and creative, I was attracted to the role at MI as I was drawn towards purely media planning and buying, working for an independent agency with ambitious clients from various industries who are open to trying new media approaches. It ticked all the boxes for my next challenge.


What is your proudest moment at MI?

It has to be winning Real Techniques and launching its first ever OOH advertising activity. It was great to be fully immersed in this new media journey with the brand from start to finish. It is always so rewarding seeing a brief being brought to life  and to see the activity light up central London was the icing on the cake. I also really enjoy working on Simply Business (a business insurance client for SMEs) and seeing the growth journey that it’s been on since being becoming a client of ours back in 2022.


What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of 2024?

The topic that is on the tip of everyone’s tongues…ESG. MI has been making a lot of progress within this space and there is a real motivation to keep driving this forward. This is something I am really excited to be taking over and driving forward with various members of the MI team. It is great to see how passionate people within MI are about this hot topic. Our CEO David Sequeira especially understands that, despite being a small agency, we will continuously aim to punch above our weight as its important for us as a business, our clients and the world in which we live in. With our upcoming panel event on the topic taking place shortly, our very own ESG report launching and the work we are undertaking with clients, it’s a very exciting time to be involved.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in media? 

Curiosity is key! There are various elements within the media industry offering roles in which you can tap into either your left or right brain, where you can be creative or analytical. The options are (almost) endless, so aim to get as much exposure across as many different avenues as possible whilst remembering that there is something to be learnt from every single person within a company. Release your inner sponge and get absorbing.


What mistakes have you learnt from?

I have not one, but two mistakes in which I have learnt from. Rewinding back to my time at The Fork, it had a B2B arm and one Christmas as many companies do, we planned to send out some client Christmas cards. I should’ve known I was doomed from the get-go when the delivery was proving difficult and whilst I overcame this it got a whole lot worse. The 5,000 Christmas cards arrived, each of which were signed off from ‘live bookongs’. 5,000 cards, with our misspelt company name printed on each and every one. It is fair to say that the guillotine was my best friend that day, snipping off the bottom of the card and creating a postcard for our clients instead. That year I actually won the Marketing Award, maybe it was for always thinking outside of the box?!


Who is your role model and why?

Its cliché but it’s my Mum. At the age of 75 she has returned to the world of work and has started working as a freelance solicitor. She has always been a driven women who is passionate about what she does, so much so that when she was 20, she trained racehorses before it was even legal for women to do so. Whilst I thought my “out of the box” thinking with the Christmas cards was great, Mum topped that by putting all of 20 racehorses under the license of her Dad so she could continue to do what she loved, without getting caught. All whilst studying for her law degree.

I have always admired my Mum, but I think it was only until a few weeks ago when running the London Marathon that I really took a moment to appreciate all that she does and her pure resilience. Mile three wasn’t the right time to be getting emotional about how I have the best Mum around, but I guess it really spurred me on. (Annabelle won’t shout about her immense achievement, so we will do it for her, but with her time of 3hr 12mins, she has qualified for the Championship pen for London Marathon 2025!)



Talk To Us

Want to find out how you can accelerate growth? Drop us a line and our team will be in touch.