Getting to Know… Horizon’s Simon Ross

Horizon Media Canada recently added two new members to its senior team, reflecting the company’s growth strategy that saw the opening of an Alberta office last year, and winning the Alberta Blue Cross business.

Joining Horizon are Karrie Werny as director, business solutions (and first new hire for the Alberta office), and Simon Ross as new VP digital acceleration. Werny has worked at a number of agencies in Canada for brands like RBC, Bayer Crop Science, General Motors and Imperial Oil, while Ross most recently worked on the McDonald’s Canada account with OMD Canada.

We asked Ross if he’d answer some of our “Getting to know” questions, and here’s what he told us:

Favourite TV show of all time and why? The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is my all time favourite. I always identified with the Fresh Prince growing up, I myself coming from a low-income household, and wanting to make a better life for myself—that always resonated with me and my own personal situation when I was younger. The Fresh Prince was ahead of its time, and you watch it now and it’s still relevant to today’s societal issues and still so funny. However, I am avoiding the reboot, I’m worried it’ll ruin the show’s legacy.

Favourite book of all time and why? Yes Man by Danny Wallace. The movie adaptation was okay, but the book is so funny, I remember reading it during my pre pandemic commutes and I have never laughed out loud at any other book, ever.

Are you a sports fan: favourite team and favourite player? Being British I love soccer (the real “football”) and I support Tottenham Hotspur. My team is known for constantly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and are constantly bantered for being nearly men, but my grandfather and father supported them, and hopefully my now six-year-old will too. My favourite player at Tottenham is  Harry Kane, he’s my sporting hero.

Favourite thing about weekends? I have lived in Canada since January 2019, having moved from London. Moving from the U.K.’s capital to Toronto has opened a lot of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. My son is obsessed with animals so pretty much every weekend, as a family we find somewhere to go hiking. Rouge National Park is not too far away and we often visit, but I’m always looking for new suggestions for places to visit.

Movie you love that almost nobody else likes? I always had a soft spot for The Fifth Element. I loved Luc Besson’s dystopian future and Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich are brilliant in it. I always had a soft spot for Bruce Willis too and yes Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Most important person in your life outside work? My wife Alice and six-year-old son Jack, they’re my everything. (Jack was conceived through IVF, making him extra special.) It’s been hard being a newcomer to Canada, we have had to rebuild out lives from scratch then lock down isolated us from the small network we did build when we arrived making it even harder. Massive respect to anyone that has moved from one country to another to restart their lives, it’s much harder than it looks.

Favourite thing about this industry? The fact that we get to do cool stuff, we get to lead on things like managing data, talk about stuff like the metaverse or augmented reality—this stuff is so interesting to me and the fact its my job to talk about it makes it great.

Least favourite thing about this industry? You disappoint publisher/vendor partners when they don’t make the plan. Client’s only give us so much budget and in an ideal world all partners would get on the media plan, but we can only go with those that we objectively think work the best.

David Brown