Mark Ward, senior group manager at sales house TSMS, lived and
worked in Auckland between 1986 and 1989.
’One of the strangest things I remember about Auckland is the way
airtime slots were booked. I was booking space for Saatchis at the time,
so I was on the other side of the fence.
’First, you had to apply in writing to the TV station - this was pre-Sky
and there were only two channels. They would then call you in to
allocate your slots.
’There would be an alarm clock on the desk and a grid that represented
programme slots. The sales guys would literally give you five minutes to
reel off the positions you wanted. You’d be frantically shouting ’6B!,
8F!’ until the alarm sounded. The ability to speak quickly was a big
’Another unusual factor was the lack of media audits, which made buying
airtime very easy. There was no advertising at all on Sundays, although
I don’t know if that still applies.
’The city itself is beautiful. It is relatively small, very laid-back
and sports-mad. One in three Aucklanders owned a boat - superb for a
keen fisherman like me. There was also a lot of camping and outdoor
activity, as well as rugby and cricket.
’But be warned: I saw about five Test matches and several one-day games
and I don’t think England won any, so be prepared to take some stick if
you’re a Pom.’