Mark Runacus Co-founder & Planning Partner, Wax/On, Chair of Outvertising | The Dots

Mark Runacus

Co-founder & Planning Partner, Wax/On, Chair of OutvertisingLondon, United Kingdom
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Mark Runacus

Co-founder & Planning Partner, Wax/On, Chair of OutvertisingLondon, United Kingdom
About me
I am the co-founder and Planning Partner of Wax/On, a new kind of hybrid creative and media agency. Previously I was one of the owners of Karmarama, the UK's leading independent creative agency. I call myself a planner and I'm a data-driven marketing strategist. I'm most at home devising integrated creative and communication strategies for brands, and I frequently turn my hand to harnessing data for targeting and consumer insight. I have spent quite some time in my career developing and implementing data-driven content strategies and have had the honour of working on a number of world-class eCRM programmes including American Express, BT, British Airways, Honda, IBM, Mercedes-Benz, and Sainsbury's. I champion best practice in digital and data-driven marketing in my role as Non Executive Chair of the DMA (UK) Group. I'm an active campaigner for diversity. I'm the President of PrideAM, the world's first advertising LGBT+ network, lobbying for LGBT+ diversity in marketing and advertising. I'm an experienced researcher and am a Certified Member of the MRS. I speak very good Spanish, good Portuguese and dreadful French.
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Projects credited in
  • The Outvertising PodcastIn our podcast, you'll learn more about our work, and hear us chat to inspirational leaders within the Advertising and Marketing industry. We help to amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ community in order to promote more awareness of current issues and trends. We support everyone LGBTQ+ and straight allies working in advertising and marketing to be their authentic selves and become positive role models. Our Podcast host, Joanne Oatts, is an award-winning freelance creative director, with over 20
  • Make a difference with Pride Brand Makeover 2018This completion is now closed. PrideAM is now Outvertising.
  • British Heart Foundation, Dechox campaign 2019Dechox is a British Heart Foundation campaign that asks people to give up chocolate for a month, for charity. Rather than focusing on any negative stereotypes or guilt tactics, we decided to show people what their chocolate gets up to when you send it packing for the month, demonstrating that if chocolate isn't missing you, you shouldn't miss it either. The result was an extremely successful campaign for the charity and a 5/5 rating on The Drum.
  • Doddle Christmas CampaignDoddle is a collection service that allows it's customers to pick up their parcels at a time most convenient to them. We created their 2018 Christmas campaign designed to raise awareness, build brand recognition and deliver clarity on their proposition.
  • British Heart Foundation, London To Brighton Bike Ride 2019The London to Brighton bike ride is the British Heart Foundation's flagship event. We were challenged with making a film that promotes this year's ride around the theme of togetherness. With a modest budget, the client was expecting a re-edit of last years event footage. We felt this would not do the event justice and so pitched a variety of routes that get to the heart of the proposition. The final film far exceeded expectation and looked pretty good to boot!
  • The Corporate Come-out: Top tips for making the Corporate Come-out easier for your LGBT+ colleagues *Tips on being a decent human Starting a new job is nerve-racking enough, but for people in the LGBT+ community it’s that much more terrifying, because once again we have to deal with The Corporate Come-Out. Particularly in any industry where we’re seriously underrepresented. Am I right in the role? Will I exceed expectations? Will I make friends? These are natural concerns that most of us have running through our minds as we make our way to our first day at a new job. Will they assume I’m straight? Should I just succumb to the pressure to perpetuate certain aesthetic stereotypes, pandering to straight expectations of LGBT+ behaviour so that I won’t have to explain myself? Will I have to ‘perform gayness’ just so I can avoid yet another lunchtime conversation in which I’m asked who I think the office hunk is? (Who even uses the word hunk these days?) Do I try to subtly work my sexual orientation into the conversation or will there be an awkward moment when I have to correct my new boss, telling them that actually, no, my partner is in fact a woman? Unless you fit a rather aesthetically structured stereotype an assumption we can make in this day and age is that the corporate come-out is well and truly still alive. So there I was – first day nerves. I’d been out at my last workplace. I had the experience under my belt, so it should have been easier this time around, right? That’s what I thought, what I hoped for. But alas, something that hadn’t even crossed my mind was that I’d had a girlfriend last time round. Although I may have had to correct my colleagues on the pronouns and gender my partner identified with, it provided a suitable opportunity to establish that, indeed, I am not heterosexual. Having just started a new job and recently single, there was no partner to talk about and therefore no obvious moment to pre-emptively correct people’s assumptions that my prospective partner would be male (no partner, no opening conversation you see). And with my hair the longest it’s ever been, a newfound love for perfume and a lack of girlfriend-gushing, most people were assuming I was straight. How would I get to the point where I could tell them that I just didn’t feel the same way about Ryan Gosling as they do? I didn’t know my colleagues well enough yet to casually drop into conversation that I actually prefer Rachel McAdams. Of course each person’s journey and approach to the Corporate Come-out will be different. I have friends who are very open about this part of their identity at work and will happily talk about their latest HER match over their morning coffee. I also have friends who think it’s irrelevant to their day-in day-out work routine and are therefore more than happy for it never to be brought up in conversation. Whatever floats your boat, my friend. However, a person should always feel comfortable enough in their work place to bring their authentic self to the job. If you’re still reading this, then I know you want to be one of those people who helps foster the kind of environment that’s inclusive and welcoming to LGBT+ people, so here are my top tips on how to make the Corporate Come-out easier for others: 1.              When someone refers to their “partner”, do not - I repeat -  do not assume that partner’s pronouns and gender. Just refer to the colleague’s partner as “they” unless the person you’re talking to drops a different kind of pronoun in there. As a straight person, you’ll be subtly demonstrating that you are aware of a non-heteronormative world and that you’re not making any judgements. 2.              Don’t keep fishing. They may not drop a binary pronoun into the conversation and you’re just going to have to respect this. This is a big one – with more and more people not identifying with a binary gender, “they/their” is becoming a more common pronoun used by the LGBT+ community. 3.              Don’t resort back to the ‘norm’ and assume someone is straight. Even if someone doesn’t have a partner, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid bringing up things like dating or celebrity crushes. Just go with gender-neutral pronouns. “What kind of person are you interested in?” or “Who would be your celebrity crush?” – it’s easy, see? And it provides a window for your colleague to tacitly mention their sexual orientation without making a big deal of it. Above all, be respectful. 4.              If your workplace does not already have an LGBT+ network, set one up. Whether you identify as LGBT+ or as an ally, you can talk to your HR department about creating a network – or proactively do it yourself. Pride AM can provide lots of useful advice on how to do that. Just go to for more information. Statistically, 41% of LGBT+ people don’t feel comfortable enough to come out at work and 62% of university graduates go back into the closet when they enter the workplace. Having a network and support system in place is healthy step towards encouraging change. Some people think that you only come out once, but of course this isn’t the case. Colleagues who foster a welcoming environment for their LGBT+ co-workers can make a world of difference. And that means you.  Let’s make sure those shocking statistics are reduced and more people feel comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work. The start of this movement could be as simple as this: don’t make assumptions.
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Work history
    Co-founder & Planning PartnerWax/on
    London, United KingdomFull Time
    Wax/On is a new kind of agency; we've brought creative and media back together for modern brands and organisations. Seamless integration of brand building creativity and multi-channel media buying. Delivering great work produced cost-effectively, distributed intelligently and accurately. All under one roof.
    Chief Strategy OfficerKarmarama
     - London, United KingdomFull Time
  • Advertising
  • Activism
  • Charity