Growing up in the country with 12 siblings, Imagination Media’s Aaron Pitt excelled at being the classroom clown — and it’s this love of performing that forms the foundation of his career today. “To get noticed in such a large family, I had to learn to be good at it performing,” Aaron said. “I used it to camouflage my struggle with reading and writing. It took a long time for my teachers to work out that I was dyslexic, especially when I was making them laugh"
He dabbled with acting in school and, after taking on advertisement work for large companies, he began to see his dreams come to fruition. “I auditioned for my first semi-professional play and won a leading part,” he said. “The experience showed me how much effort goes into a professional production, and taught me what was required to be an actor.” Taking up studies in drama and subsequently marketing, he could see he was dropping behind financially and applied for a car sales job at Midway Ford.
While working at the dealership, Aaron attended an automotive auction with his manager and decided he wanted to be an auctioneer. In 2001, he was appointed Branch Manager of Pickles Auctions and also took on the role of Senior Auctioneer. While at Pickles, Aaron met Russell Goodrick from Channel Nine and Chris Wharton, who was then CEO of 7 Perth. He took up an offer from Russell to train and work part-time as a presenter on his show.
Approaching 30, Aaron took a leap of faith and explored what he could do in video and marketing, leaving his full-time job to explore the idea of producing and presenting a car television program. From his background in car sales, he wanted to find a way to promote and explain automotive products in an educational, yet enjoyable way. “I saw video as the perfect platform to break down the barrier between retailers and customers,” Aaron said. Chris Wharton kept in contact with Aaron and offered constant advice that would see him pursue his ideas in production further.
It took about two months to produce a pilot for Zoom TV, an advertorial-style program. Aaron presented Zoom TV featuring Allan Symons, Ross Dunkerton and Kate Mac (Hardcastle) to 7Mate two years later and the channel accepted the pitch. “I was so excited that after all the no responses, I finally had a yes,” he said. “But I was totally blindsided by the reality that I had to find sponsors to be able to fund the programs.” Perth car dealer John Hughes became one of his first sponsors, offering him a room in his corporate office and eventually becoming a business partner. Wayne Smith from City Toyota became a sponsor and mentor, and the team at United Fuel Injection also played a pivotal part in the shows evolution.
Aaron’s main difference to other advertorial-style programs was his ability to involve the audience, and his production values, which he believes were much higher than his competitors. “When I was taught to sell a car, it was always to look at the customer and respect them no matter what,” he said. “When I took on TV production, I focused on letting the camera see what a customer would want to see and explaining what they would want to know in a way that they would understand with complete transparency.
Asking popular comedian and actor Peter Rowsthorn to appear on Zoom TV gave Aaron a chance to get him to consider being part of his next production for Channel 7, The West Real Estate Program, which was commissioned by the then CEO of Seven Perth Ray Wardrop in 2011. “Peter agreed to be a celebrity hitchhiker on Zoom and later, whilst doing the interview, he agreed to be the host on my next show – The West Real Estate Program, which later became Real Estate TV,” he said. “To have such a respected talent heading up one of my programs was unbelievable. And, without a doubt, one of the reasons the program was so successful. “When you have someone of Peter’s caliber working with you and investing their celebrity in your creativity, you have no choice but to do your absolute best. “When the HIA came on board as a major partner in 2012, I was sure we were heading in the right direction. “And in 2013, John Gelavis, Executive Director of the HIA, started to appear on the show personally, which told me we were producing a very professional and informative real estate program.” In 2014, with the support of the founders of Student Edge, Aaron started his third program IwannaB – a show that educated students on careers.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Heirisson, he co-founded a charity initiative Give a Feed with his friend and mentor Wayne Smith and with the additional support of Greg Hebble, CEO of Foodbank WA, which helps feed WA families in need every Christmas. As of 2018, their charity has provided food hampers to more than 20,000 families in WA.
Imagination Media has by default become one of the largest producers of commercial television programs in Western Australia, collectively producing more than 450 episodes of television consisting of more than 2,700 standalone segments for more than 2,000 customers, and at the same time, produced more than 500 television commercials. All without any financial support from a television network or any form of government grant. “When I think about where we are today and all of the amazing characters we have met who have trusted me to tell their story or represent their company, I am extremely proud not to mention fortunate,” Aaron said. “I could never have achieved anything without the support and belief of so many companies and individuals and I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of the talented creatives we have here in WA, who are amongst the best in the world. “I’m just so very grateful that I have been able to play a part in some pretty incredible things and at the same time so fortunate to be trusted by so many to tell their story – now that’s a story.”