Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2021

40 Under 40 2021: Suraj Barnawal, Together

With a dogged determination to challenge the media status quo, Barnawal has quietly and humbly been transforming the digital media industry over the past 10 years—and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

40 Under 40 2021: Suraj Barnawal, Together
Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry

Suraj Barnawal

Head of programmable media
New Zealand

Over the past decade, Suraj Barnawal has been helping to transform the digital-media industry, particularly in the programmatic space. At the start of his career he helped launched Xaxis in India and was responsible for educating the whole market, not just GroupM agencies, to pioneer programmatic advertising. After four years, Xaxis in India was a juggernaut, with revenues above US$16 million.

Moving to New Zealand in 2016, Barnawal built one of the country’s largest and most successful programmatic media teams at OMD NZ. Building the team from four people to 17 people, and increasing billings, Barnawal’s team were at the forefront of many of the NZ market’s biggest media wins, including The Warehouse Group—the largest retailer in NZ and, at the time, the largest media pitch ever held in NZ.

Since 2019, Barnawal has been head of programmable media at Together, helping it to become a leading media agency in the market. In the past 12 months, Barnawal has contributed to multiple new business wins, has launched new digital content offerings and platforms, and has led some of the most high-profile, data-driven media initiatives in New Zealand, including masterminding the use of programmable media for the Labour Party, which achieved a record-breaking election victory.

Barnawal’s natural leadership qualities mean he has a history of inspiring and developing the leading digital talent in New Zealand. The list of people who have learned the digital trade under his mentorship includes the heads of programmatic at both IPG and OMG. In addition, he plays a very active role in mentoring final year students, delivers regular seminars on digital media, and has also established the Together internship programme.

Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry


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