Tim Scott-Hunter, group media director of Zenith International,
worked for Lintas and Initiative in Budapest between 1992 and 1998.
’I don’t think you could pick a decade of greater change in Hungary than
when I worked there,’ says Scott-Hunter. ’Communism was disappearing and
people were adapting to a completely different way of life.
’On the day I arrived, I kept wondering when they were going to turn on
the lights. It was so dark it was like a black-and-white film; I kept
expecting Humphrey Bogart to appear out of the shadows.
’In 1991 they were just introducing Western retailing. When the Adidas
shop opened the queue stretched for a mile - before that you’d go into a
shoe shop and your choice was white or black.
’Language-wise, living in Hungary was like living on Mars - even things
you’d think have universal names, like police, are called something
completely different. Apparently, Hungarian is the second-hardest
language to learn after Mandarin.
’Hungarians are very passionate, emotional people with a real lust for
life. They love a buli - which means party - where you’ll probably be
plied with lots of beer and a plum brandy called palinka.
’Hungary also has the most beautiful women in the world. I met my wife
in Budapest, although she’s an American. She is, of course, completely
gorgeous, I hasten to add.’