Close-Up: The Hot Seat - Adam Kean, Publicis

Name: Adam Kean

Job: Joint executive creative director, Publicis

- You've got five hours left before the world explodes. What do you do?

In the Mad Men episode about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the impending doom acted like a truth drug. Everyone started being very candid, putting their emotional house in order. I think I might curl up into a foetal position. Or, at a push, find the bomb and defuse it.

- What's your best joke?

There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

- What's your biggest fear?


- When did you last cry and why?

I cry a lot. Though hardly ever from sadness. At the school summer concert, I started. And it wasn't even my child singing.

- Who is your hero?

Philip Larkin. Read Aubade.

- Name one thing about yourself that few people know

I wrote "Not a lot of people know that" by Michael Caine.

- What's the worst thing about your job?

It's got less instinctive.

- Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Edmund Kean. Watching him act, Coleridge said, was "like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning".

- If you had a trained monkey, what would you make it do?

Play the lute.

- If your office was burning down, what object would you save and why?

The incriminating box of matches.

- What would you do if you were invisible for the day?

Caught in girls' dormitory at "lights out"? A man of my reputation?

- What's your most evocative childhood memory?

I saw a dead body being carried out of the swimming area at the Serpentine when I was about 12. It was completely rigid and, although it was the height of summer, was covered in a thin layer of ice like in a cartoon. Apparently, the man had caught his foot on a rusty mattress and been held under.

- What belief do you hold most strongly?

My dad always liked Vera Brittain's phrase: "Imperfect decency." People are generally nice, so you should be too. But don't worry if you're a bit naughty sometimes.

- What's on your iPod most-played list?

Misty in Roots.

- What do you wear in bed?

A smile.


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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).