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Interview: Rab Makki, Commercial Director, Golf Juice/Juice Media

By Laura Thomas  //  Thu 27th November 2014

What was your first job?

My first job was as an Assistant in Agency Sales department at Channel 4…. where I stayed for almost 19 years! I have only ever worked for three companies in over 20 years of work, Channel 4, The Active Channel and now Golf Juice/Juice Media.

How did you get into the industry?

My father was/is in the industry, mostly in print media but his media background and that off other family members rubbed off on me over the years. That plus my love for TV and sales, I knew when I came out of University that’s what I wanted to do, that I ended up at such a fantastic place as Channel 4 as my first job was more luck than planning…. but we all need a bit of that.

What is your favourite sports campaign / brand to date?

I think Nike make the best sports ads/campaigns. Be that old Jordan basketball ads, Tiger club juggling, Nadal v Ronaldo or the various World Cup ads. They are the ones to emulate/look up to or beat in the industry. The campaign that still sticks out for me is the 2002 Nike Ad with the Elvis track “A little less Conversation” great ad, great players and great soundtrack.

Who is your role model?

Hmmm this is a tough one. My Dad is the obvious choice, not just because of how he acts and is such a gent but also his work ethic and how he’s helped me through my carrier. Outside that I would probably say Nelson Mandela, dignity, integrity and humanity personified…. if I could be 1% like him Id be very happy.

Tell us a bit more about Golf Juice Media…. GO!

Ha, well we started off as a small fan site, interviewing people over Skype or going out filming with our ipads! Now we are a fully-fledged media & production company, our Golf Juice arm specialise in golf content, production and delivery over our various distribution networks such as YouTube, AOL & Rightster. While Juice Media has an expanded role to encompass all commercial video production, post production, hosting and distribution. We are currently working with Sky to produce a totally new kind of innovative, irreverent and fun show to be broadcast on Sky Sports from 2015 and are currently looking for interested sponsors and partners in this venture.

How do you go about finding the right partners for Golf Juice Media?

I use various ways and tactics, from old fashioned - using old contacts, to looking through online resources like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, going through the trade magazines and publications, visiting trade shows and using our partners such as Get Me Media, AOL, and Rightster. We also have built up a good reputation within the industry and now find that we are recommended a lot by partners we have worked with. Our current work is testimony to that, in 6 short months we have gone from a small none commercial outfit to a fully equipped, commercial, trusted and respected media & Production Company and a lot of that is through word of mouth.

What is the best lesson you’ve ever learnt?

If something sounds too good, it usually is. It’s the old adage and a few times in life I have been caught out (as we all have been) but like anything you learn from that and try not to make the same mistake again. Obviously as something “too good to be true” can come in so many forms, it’s not a straight forward a lesson to learn. But experience in life and business means I can usually now spot something and not engage and waste my time, effort or money in it and concentrate on reality instead of overblown promises.

Best bit of career advice you’ve ever been given?

There’s no such thing as can’t, only wont. I think that applies to life in general not just career wise and it’s so true. Anything pretty much is possible, even if it takes time, effort, blood, sweat and tears (as well as money usually) but if it can be dreamed of it can eventually be done. I am a huge believer in that, if you can dream it, think it and want it then you can do it. I think what we have done over the past 6-7 months at Golf Juice is testimony to that.

What piece of technology can’t you live without?

My iPhone!! It’s sad but true that like many people these days I feel utterly lost without my mobile phone. It’s so much more than a phone these days, it is almost your life in your pocket. When I’ve lost or damaged my phone in the past the sense of loss is huge. Like any tech it has its good & bad, but if you integrate it properly in to your every day life then it be a massive positive to what you do in work, family & social life and that’s how I look at it…. It’s my personal helper…. that never has a day off or gets moody…. well most the time.

What do you feel the future holds for sports sponsorship?

I think that social media and integration of all information, be that sport or anything we do, is now taken for granted. Sponsors, business, organisations, governments and individuals can’t just plan and execute things in a bubble anymore. Borders because of various bits of tech are now all but gone, and sports sponsors and sponsorships need to utilise and embrace this. The opportunity to interact with your audience, your customers and even those just passing by is now key and means the straight 30” spot ad or sponsorship are no longer valid. From big to small sponsorships you need to build in not just eyeballs and recall, revenue or profit anymore but participation, interaction and feedback. I think things will be a lot more fluid, a lot more targeted and innovative in the future as people get more savvy and hard to impress, so Sponsors and advertisers will have to think of new ways to impress them.

Favourite pub or bar?

Well I’m not a big pub or bar person…more a food man, so I’ll give you my favourite there, which is Indian or Lebanese, many cracking ones in London.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I could be thoughtful and righteous here and say a politician (but not for the money or perks, when I was 14 that didn’t enter my mind) or honest and say a sports star, specially a footballer (which I’m sure covers 95% of all men in the world) Tennis player or American Footballer (but never golf at the time) I tried all and was ok at most but never good enough. Now I live my dream vicariously through my son & daughter, sad but true, they are both better at sport than I was.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I had a staring role in my school production of West Side Story; I was one of the Jets called Diesel. Every time the film comes on TV I watch it and have even forced my kids to endure it, worse still I know every line of every song…and yes I do belt them out!

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