ANALYSIS: HOW TO SELL TO ... Simon Burgess - Western’s Vauxhall chief drives cars in his living room, says Lexie Goddard

Simon Burgess spends the media money of one of the top five advertisers in Britain. We’re talking pounds 70 million, spread liberally across 96-sheets, 30-second TV commercials, a smattering of postcard advertising and a few major sponsorships like the World Cup and Euro 96.

Simon Burgess spends the media money of one of the top five

advertisers in Britain. We’re talking pounds 70 million, spread

liberally across 96-sheets, 30-second TV commercials, a smattering of

postcard advertising and a few major sponsorships like the World Cup and

Euro 96.



Now I’ve got your attention, his client is Vauxhall - one of the biggest

names on Western International Media’s books.



Burgess shares responsibility for Vauxhall with Steve Pople, under the

watchful eye of joint deputy media director Gary Birtles. The pair take

it in turns - on a quarterly basis - to oversee the account. Burgess is

in charge during the second quarter (April, May and June) and the fourth

quarter (October, November and December), and Pople looks after the

rest.



Because of its size, Burgess might be working on campaigns for the

Astra, Corsa or Tigra, all of which have different target audiences. One

of his biggest bugbears is when sales people assume Vauxhall’s target

audience solely comprises affluent 18- to 34-year-olds and pitch their

media as young and upmarket. His advice to anyone in doubt about target

markets is to ask. He’ll know where you’re coming from.



After a brief spell as a bouncer, the 6ft 5 30-year-old started out in

the media industry by selling airtime at TSMS, before moving to sales at

Channel 4. He then jumped the fence to join New PHD as a TV buyer,

arriving at Western three years ago.



The remainder of Burgess’s time is spent on Network Q, Masterfit and

Hornby Hobbies, which makes Hornby model railways and Scalextric.



The latter has a small budget, so creative ideas that stretch it are

welcome. Manchester-born Burgess helped Western scoop a prize at the

Campaign Media awards last year when he lined up Scalextric to sponsor

Boyz Night In, a night of Channel 5 programming aimed at ’lads and

dads’.



’I have the best Scalextric set in the world,’ he says proudly. His

girlfriend Katie has since forced Burgess to put the giant toy away, but

it once snaked around the entire length and breadth of their living

room.



When not racing four-inch cars, Burgess likes watching Manchester United

(from his armchair), ’lying down’ and ’smoking’.





LIKES:



Lying down



Flavoured hot drinks



Smoking





DISLIKES:



Small, aggressive men



Nature (’all that wind and insects’)



Long voicemail messages.