OPINION: MILLS ON ... NEW-MEDIA JOBS

Madogiwasaku is a Japanese word which roughly translates as ’people who sit by the window’. It’s a term used to denote those staff whose careers have been sidelined and, to introduce a western metaphor, have been sent to Siberia.

Madogiwasaku is a Japanese word which roughly translates as ’people

who sit by the window’. It’s a term used to denote those staff whose

careers have been sidelined and, to introduce a western metaphor, have

been sent to Siberia.



A few years ago the advertising or media equivalent of this was to be

handed an ’international’ or ’group’ role, sometimes even one that

combined the two. Then, as multinational clients became a reality, the

industry woke up to realise that international was where the action and

the power was. The smarter ones embraced internationalism with a

Damascene fervour.



By 1994 or 1995 an alternative madogiwasaku route appeared: new

media.



A good example was Stan Myerson, then deputy ad manager of Express

Newspapers, who almost five years ago to the day was suddenly ’promoted’

to a new role developing electronic media for The Express and its

parent, United Newspapers. Poor old Stan. He did his best to talk the

talk, but it was obvious he was out of his depth. Not long after Stan’s

move into cyberprint, the Mike Moore fiasco broke and all of a sudden

everything became clear - he had indeed been well and truly

madogiwasaku-ed.



These days, of course, new media is much less madogiwasaku than it is a

brave new frontier. Just as the power shifted into international, so new

media is where the action is hottest. In the past few weeks we have had

several examples of high-profile names voluntarily giving up top

old-media jobs for new. Sky’s Mark Booth is perhaps the best example,

but let us not forget Ellis Watson, erstwhile marketing director of The

Sun (surely one of the best old-media jobs of all time) now running

Currantbun; or Associated’s Martin Dunn, who gave up editing a New York

daily paper for e-media.



And so we come to Nicholas Rudd-Jones, who last week moved from managing

director of Express Newspapers to head the United group’s online

activities.



Unfortunately for Rudd-Jones, the widely held perception both inside

United and outside (particularly among agencies) is that he has paid the

price for his failure to sell the Daily Star and reinvigorate The

Express, and thus been condemned to a life on the fringes.



The paradox is that while the first part is probably true, the second

part isn’t necessarily so. However, it says a lot about industry

attitudes to new media that a lot of people think it is.



Nowhere is this prejudice more prevalent than in agencies and media

buyers where, with the exception of a few visionaries (James Best,

Martin Sorrell, Tim Lindsay, Patrick Collister, Chris Ingram and Nick

Brien spring to mind) industry luminaries have conspicuously failed to

identify themselves professionally with new media - with the effect

that, at the highest levels, too many agencies still don’t take the

subject seriously enough. Attitudes will change with time, obviously,

but it’ll happen a lot faster if a few more senior individuals are

prepared to nail their careers to the mast.



dominic.mills@haynet.com.



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