Media: Double Standards - 'I saw Craze dance with Georgiadis at 60,000ft'

Media agency bosses recall how they entered the industry, compare media diets and divulge the secrets to successful pitches.

JERRY HILL - GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE, INITIATIVE

- What makes your agency stand out from its competitors?

Initiative is fast and fun - not big on hierarchy and egos, but big on initiative, wherever it springs from. In an era of packaging agency sub-brands, we act differently. We integrate our various disciplines, rather than setting up endless profit centres.

- What's the best thing about running a media agency?

The "total sensory workout" you get every day. It's immensely rewarding when you nail aligning brains, a tough brief and ideas to hit the bull's-eye.

- Why are fewer media reviews happening and is it a long-term trend?

The growing impact of the digital revolution is changing the value equation, increasing the downside of holding perpetual procurement-led reviews. The new landscape is raising questions of agencies that don't adapt - media reviews will continue, but with a new focus.

- What's been your biggest pitch disaster?

The only disaster is when you have to tell someone to postpone their holiday for a pitch.

- What's the secret to running a successful media pitch?

Clear pitch leadership, a well-organised team that stimulates creativity and consistent client management. The important work is often done at the front end - listening, challenging the brief and demonstrating clarity.

- What can we expect from your agency in the next 12 months?

We have completed our transition, leaving behind the label of "Unilever's buying agency" to create our own identity, giving a wider mindset of who our competitors are and setting new boundaries for our service and advice.

- What type of training do you offer to graduates?

The Initiative Academy is a structured programme of internal and external modules, providing all the skills to ensure our graduates do a brilliant job, while getting the best out of the media industry within a creative and digital context. IPA accreditation reflects our approach.

- How did you come to work in the media industry?

A chance meeting with the sales manager of Anglia TV. My sister was his PA and I was at their offices to borrow money to buy a fantastic chocolate brown "penny" collared striped shirt. Despite the dubious fashion leanings, my sister called me later that evening and said I had a job without an interview. Things were done differently then!

- What is your media diet and do you spend time surfing the internet?

Driving into work, I listen religiously to Radio 4. At the office, I flick through Times Business to see what our clients might be up to and then move online to some forward modelling on Arsenal's fortunes. My TV viewing has been transformed by my new megabyte Sky+ box. Wireless broadband means I am migrating away from the newspaper, to the laptop in front of the TV.

- What has been the best media jolly you have ever been on?

Terry Groat and Steve Miron (then of The Independent) whisked eight well-known media travellers to the US Masters on Tony O'Reilly's Gulf Stream jet. To see Mark Craze dancing with Phil Georgiadis at 60,000ft on the way home was unforgettable.

- What do you do to relax in your spare time?

I am not sure that I do relax that much. I spend most weekends watching my sons play rugby, which I love but I don't find particularly calming. Golf I also love, but find even less so. I do remember a great morning's fishing off the coast of Salcombe last August - that felt pretty good.

JED GLANVILL - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MINDSHARE

- What makes your agency stand out from its competitors?

We have the best client list in town. The House of Media is real. We have more resources and specialist expertise available to spark ideas. Destination planning - our approach to communications - makes collaboration and creative insight central to our way of working.

- What's the best thing about running a media agency?

The people, the challenge and the responsibility. The most exciting developments in marketing services are the changes to the media world and the impact of technology.

- Why are fewer media reviews happening and is it a long-term trend?

I think there is a trend to bigger, more complex, often multinational pitches. There is a big cost associated with changing agency. If clients do decide to pitch, you have to be able to offer them planning, insight and executional advantages backed up with a track record of delivery.

- What's been your biggest pitch disaster?

I had a row with one client mid-pitch presentation. I hoped it came across as passion. That said, we didn't win!

- What's the secret to running a successful media pitch?

Enthusiasm. If the whole agency gets behind a pitch and the team is enthusiastic about the brief, the chances of success are greatly increased, as this will come across to the client during the pitch itself.

- What can we expect from your agency in the next 12 months?

Our focus is on delivering outstanding, high-quality work for our clients: so, many effective, famous and envied campaigns. We will build on our existing strengths - retail, content and digital.

- What type of training do you offer to graduates?

Company and departmental inductions, a mentor for the first year, rotations within our House of Media teams and visits to creative and other partners. Qualifications such as the IPA foundation certificate are encouraged, alongside courses such as business tools and presentation skills.

- How did you come to work in the media industry?

Richard Brinkman from Chrysalis is a friend of mine from college. He was working at BBJ and wangled me a job putting competitive figures on to a spreadsheet for the princely sum of £100 per week, cash. I subsequently failed the "7 per cent of seven" question to be a TV buyer, so they made me a planner. The contrast with my previous answer says a lot about how things have changed for the better.

- What is your media diet and do you spend time surfing the internet?

Varied. Internet during the day.The Guardian on Monday train, The Times and The Sun during the week on the Tube, Sunday Times on the weekend. Today on 3 on the Friday train. ITV News and Champions League midweek evenings. Radio 4, Five Live and talkSPORT on Saturday morning. Sky Sports, Teletubbies, the Tweenies and Angelina Ballerina during the day. ITV drama on Sunday.

- What has been the best media jolly you have ever been on?

Can't remember, it's been so long ...

- What do you do to relax in your spare time?

Losing my BlackBerry helps, as does a glass of Amstel during the week or Sheppy's cider on the weekend.

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