OPINION: QUESTION TIME WITH ... Richard Bogie - Talk of a sell-off does not get the Express ad director down, says Colin Grimshaw

Your newspapers have suffered years of decline against a dominant competitor. Now, with the parent company about to be taken over, there is every likelihood you will be sold off. Does it make you depressed?

Your newspapers have suffered years of decline against a dominant

competitor. Now, with the parent company about to be taken over, there is

every likelihood you will be sold off. Does it make you depressed?



Not if you’re Richard Bogie. In a week when the latest ABCs revealed 4 per

cent monthly increases for both the daily and Sunday titles, the Express

advertisement director is buoyant. He claims agencies are genuinely keen

for the papers to succeed and this acts as a huge motivation in turning

the papers around.



Although he recognises the Daily Mail’s strength, Bogie insists that

members of his team don’t get obsessed with the competition. ’We need to

be clear what we are about and what clients can expect from us,’ he says.

’Sure, it’s a challenge, but we don’t have a problem motivating

people.’



Bogie also believes that a Carlton/United merger would be good news for

the newspapers. ’We have to avoid merger paralysis and get on with driving

the newspaper brands forward,’ he says. ’Traditional media still have a

powerful role to play.’



Like many people, Bogie fell into media sales when, broke, he came across

an ad in The Guardian. This took him to The Independent’s telesales

department, aka the Sly Bailey school of media sales.



His fellow students included Media Planning press director Priscilla

Rogan, Walker Media managing partner Andrew Sherman, Nova publisher Elaine

Foran, International Herald Tribune sales director Simon Mukerjee and

Charlotte Hollingshead, ad director of The Economist’s sister title CFO

Europe.



At the Indie, another mentor was Austyn Hallworth, now publisher of

Harpers & Queen, but it was Bailey who had the most lasting influence. She

later took Bogie to IPC to help her develop a central classified sales

operation - he ended up spending five-and-a-half years there.



’Sly was my first boss and I loved working with her. She really gets you

fired up and believing in yourself,’ he says.



Though he prefers newspapers to magazines, he concedes there was more time

to think at IPC and a greater opportunity to get out and meet people.



’I only spend a quarter of my time on outward facing when it should be

half,’ Bogie says. ’I think the sales director has a key role as a

champion without undermining the sales teams.’



He’s not a natural sales person and he’s worked hard to overcome that. ’I

love presenting but I’m not a showman. I need to rehearse and know exactly

what I’m going to say,’ he says.



At the recent Express sales conference at Disneyland Paris, Bogie made the

keynote speech to the troops for the first time since becoming ad director

last year and he admits it was tough.



’Andy Jonesco is a hard act to follow,’ he admits. ’He has the ability to

make the hairs on your neck stand on end. But I think the speech went

well.’



For a man in such a pressured role, Bogie appears incredibly relaxed. He

credits his wife, Cosmopolitan’s art director, with keeping him grounded.

He also has a passion for sports and takes part in a wide range of them,

including football, golf, cricket, tennis, surfing, snowboarding and

motorcycling.



As for ambitions, he says, unselfishly, that it gives him great

satisfaction to contribute to the success of others. ’If, like Sly Bailey,

I could bring through a new generation of ad directors and managing

directors, that would make me really proud,’ he says. ’I might just bow

out then.’



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