Spotlight on… Ollie Oshodi, Head of Entertainment at Fuse
Tell us a bit about the journey you’ve taken to joining Fuse?
I started my career in marketing about 15 years ago working at integrated agencies like Triangle (now Arc) and Elvis, where I got a real grounding in pure integrated marketing. However, I’ve always been really passionate about music, so at school I was going to gigs, editing a fanzine and doing work experiences at places like Sony and NME. I continued getting work experience through university where I moved into broader entertainment with placements at the BBC, RDF, Princess Productions and Edinburgh Festival, while also hosting a weekly radio show. Post-uni, I interned at Botchit & Scarper (an independent record label), but fell into marketing when I was looking for a full-time job.
I enjoyed the process of marketing, responding to a brief and using consumer insight to develop strategy and activations that delivered against client objectives, but I wasn’t as big a fan of the end product. I was doing lots of shopper and promotional marketing and when I was close to being promoted to Account Director, I realised I didn’t want that role in the agency I was in. I had a burning desire to get back into music.
Luckily, I managed to side step into a role at FRUKT, a brand experience agency that specialised in music, so I could take the skills I had obtained in my career to date and use them on brand and music campaigns for clients such as Topman and Coca-Cola, gaining additional music knowledge in the process.
After FRUKT, my next full time role was at Cornerstone a full service agency specialising in music and entertainment. Well established in the States, they were looking to open an office in London and brought me on board as one of the first employees. I worked on incredible clients such as Converse, Sonos, Smirnoff and Bushmills and a wide range of amazing artists and partners. At Cornerstone, we worked hard to ensure brands became truly relevant and meaningful within culture. It can be easy for brands to buy their way in and enter culture as a shallow tactical play, however, consumers have become wise to this and it’s important that brands play a real role and have a true purpose within culture.
What appealed to me about Fuse was that so often music and entertainment can be quite subjective. Clients provide a brief and you can respond with your instinct and opinion when it comes to suggesting talent and partners. Whether an idea crosses the line can sometimes be a matter of personal taste, but using data to inform the selection and decision making process is increasingly vital. At Fuse, there’s such rigour in what we do with data and insights to support and inform the ideas that we come up with, which I love.
What’s your focus going to be at Fuse? Why have you been brought into the team?
My focus is going to be on building on the great work the team has done so far. The entertainment team at Fuse has been running for the past two or three years with some great clients, from Pepsi and the Opening Ceremony at the UEFA Champions League Finals to Tuborg’s cross-platform, global campaign, Tuborg Open. We’ve already established a really brilliant team, so it’s about building on that. My aim is to create more purpose driven campaigns within music and entertainment. I want to create campaigns that are really contributing to culture and to the music industry, there’s room for brands to do so much there.
What’s been your best moment at Fuse so far?
My highlight so far would be going to Madrid for the UEFA Champions League Final. I knew the work our team was doing, securing Imagine Dragons for the Opening Ceremony, presented by Pepsi and booking the artists for the Champions Festival, but I no idea what the whole Fuse team was doing at the UCL final and it completely blew my mind!
Going to Madrid and seeing it all on the ground where over 200 Fusers were out there across Pepsi, Nissan and Santander was incredible. It was super slick and so impressive and as it was only my second month at Fuse it was such a brilliant introduction to the agency and what we do.
Do you have any advice you’d give to people looking to start out in a career in marketing and entertainment?
I think it’s really important to follow your passion so, for me, that’s the starting point to getting your career in marketing and entertainment.
Once you’ve found your passion, do anything you can to get experience. What do you like doing? Do you like putting on nights? Maybe there’s an artist at your university or school, think about what you would do to manage them? Maybe write for a blog. Do what you can to show your passion and demonstrate your interest in the industry. That would be my starting point. Then try and get more formal work placements and internships if possible. This can be challenge for some people though, especially if you live outside London, so doing your own thing first would go quite a long way.
Once you’ve started in the industry, it’s about being friendly to everyone. You’re going to meet so many different people, so talk to them, go out meet everyone and show yourself as a positive, friendly person and that’ll get you far.
What’s been a highlight of your career so far?
My deeper interest in music developed when I was a teenager and Britpop was huge, I was a massive fan of so many of the bands in the scene, especially Blur (that was when I started to consider music as a career and when I started my fanzine and got work experience with NME). It all came full circle a few years later when I was working at Cornerstone on Converse. The brand had partnered with The 100 Club in London and wanted to create an unofficial Olympics campaign to support music fans with shows that celebrated London’s different music tribes.
Over nine nights during the Olympics we hosted a line-up of 45 different artists, which included Nas, Plan B and Paul Weller, in a venue with a tiny stage that holds about 350 people. At the end of the run we announced a surprise Blur show which was just epic. For me, to see this band that I had been such a fan of when I was growing up, in this intimate venue, when they were just coming back, was mind-blowing. It was definitely a goosebumps moment.
Tell us something we don’t know about you
I am also a trained nutritional health coach! I’d been working in the industry for a while and wanted to do something different. I was always interested in health and wellness, so on the side I retrained in nutrition (I was actually going to open up a juice bar but that’s another story!). The more I learned, the more I thought that I could actually make a career out of it, so I took a little break out of agencies full time for a couple of years to pursue health and nutrition where I coached individuals and hosted group workshops. I actually worked with agencies across Omnicom Media Group UK including PHD and MG OMD! It was great to learn something new and use my brain in a different way and meant that when I came back to working in music and entertainment full time, I was refreshed and full of new ideas.