About Kym

Entrepreneur | Business Mentor | Author | Photographer

Kym Illman is an Australian entrepreneur, business mentor, photographer and best-selling author.

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Kym is the son of a former state cricketer and a small business owner. Being the eldest of three children taught him to lead as well as listen. Kym credits his parents with instilling in him the qualities of persistence, intensity and curiosity. This and his passion for finding the often overlooked opportunity have helped him develop into the trailblazing entrepreneur he is today.

In his early years Kym travelled around Australia with roles as a mobile DJ, radio announcer in Darwin and audio engineer at Channel Nine. In 1988 he struck out on his own and founded audio advertising company Messages On Hold.

Kym’s dedication to customer service and his famous ambush marketing tactics turned Messages On Hold into an international success. With offices in Australia and Singapore it now services clients in 18 countries.

Today Kym divides his time between his position as Messages On Hold’s managing director and his many passions, in particular photography. A father of two and husband of one (his wife Tonya also works at Messages On Hold), he’s also a devoted community caretaker, highly regarded for his promotion of WA coastal town Lancelin and his commitment to the Lancelin Pirates Football Club.

Married to: Tonya Illman
Children: Two
Career Highlights:

– Messages On Hold
– The Message Group
– Canity

Author Credits
– The Future IS Customer Service
– Africa on Safari
– Lancelin: Western Australia’s Coastal Gem

With photography, every day brings something new. I try to capture the new with new angles and new technology to get something unseen – something striking.

Ambush marketing put Messages On Hold on the map. Bloody effective… if you have balls of steel!

Good customer service is like a bolt from the blue: It’s unexpected and leaves you speechless. I love it.

Paris Baguette TVC


In September 2011, a South Korean advertising agency commissioned Kym to program an unforgettable synchronised Christmas lights display for a national TV commercial.

Ambush Marketing

Subi City 1

The simple and sometimes controversial marketing strategies that earned Kym the title of “Australia’s most prolific ambush marketer”.

Online Training


Kym is the founder of Canity – an online collection of training videos that helps businesses create stronger relationships with customers and bridge skill-gaps amongst staff.

MOH Racing


High intensity footage, images and stories of Kym’s rally driving career piloting a Mitsubishi EVO 9 in various Targa events.

Kym In The Media


As Australia’s most notorious ambush marketer, Kym Illman has made regular appearances on Switzer TV, CNBC and Sky Business.

World’s Best Christmas Lights


Drenched in LED lights and synchronised to music, Kym’s lighting displays have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. His 2011 display became an international hit with millions viewing it on YouTube after Ellen DeGeneres featured it as her video of the week.