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
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
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
’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
When not racing four-inch cars, Burgess likes watching Manchester United
(from his armchair), ’lying down’ and ’smoking’.
Flavoured hot drinks
Small, aggressive men
Nature (’all that wind and insects’)
Long voicemail messages.