Nick Vale, group account director at Optimedia, doesn’t fit the
media mould. He dislikes golf, rugby, cricket and exercise generally,
dons the black shirts favoured by his creative cousins and would rather
wander around the Serpentine Gallery, read a Salman Rushdie novel or
listen to Radio 4 than wash down a Vindaloo with 20 pints of lager.
But Vale is far from pretentious. In fact, he is free of airs and
Vale’s favourite restaurant is a fish ’n’ chip shop on Marylebone Lane
called the Golden Hind - but for Christ’s sake don’t try to book a table
there like one misguided ad executive did a few years back. He’s also
one of the most sarcastic blokes in the business.
Vale has just been promoted (Media Business, 6 March). Having been
singled out as ’a bright young star’ he is now one of half a dozen group
account directors at Optimedia. This is despite the fact that his
publicity photos make him look like a menacing bouncer or, as one kind
sales person told him, ’the prince of darkness’.
Vale is heading a new account group built around Go, British Airways’
budget airline whose colourful ads grace Adshels and underground posters
in and around London. He works closely with David Magliano, Go’s
marketing director, and the airline’s PR company Cohn & Wolfe, on media
Aside from using traditional media, Vale has looked at Go’s website,
pioneered an initiative with the Ministry of Sound to publicise special
weekend flights to Ibiza during the summer, and sponsored a stage at the
Edinburgh Festival to get Londoners flying up to Scotland.
New-media owners take note: Vale and his planner/buyers Sarah Clark and
Sarah Taylor are also in the midst of drawing up media schedules for
ClickMango.com and the auction site Premier Find.com. You will need to
don your thinking caps as he is looking for something ’beyond banners
and buttons’ that will work long term. Other accounts in his group are
Yahoo!, the UK’s biggest portal, and a slice of the contract for the
merchant bank UBS.
Vale claims not to be fussy when it comes to freebies. ’Faberge eggs or
a part in any major Hollywood production will do,’ he says.
- Black shirts
- Ad executives who admit when they are wrong
- Fish and chips
- An overly aggressive telephone manner