’Detroit is a fairly small and tightly knit advertising community,
which revolves around the Big Three motor companies: Ford, General
Motors and Daimler Chrysler,’ says Joe Warren, senior partner at J.
Walter Thompson, Detroit. ’Everything’s big, from the cars to the roads
to the number of people they cram into a meeting to make a decision.
’It’s a city dominated by cars. It has to be, as there’s no train or bus
system to speak of. Everyone drives to work from the suburbs. It’s a
long drive, so it’s mineral water with lunch and there aren’t any drinks
in the bar after work.
’Detroit may have plenty of cars, but Michigan probably has more boats
per head of population than any other state in the US, because there are
so many lakes. The Great Lakes are like oceans with beaches. People talk
about pollution, but I came here after three years in Bangkok and it’s
non-existent by comparison. You can swim in the local lake in complete
safety. Power boats are banned and there’s no petrol pollution.
’It’s ten degrees below zero at the moment and there are 12 inches of
ice on the lake. You could drive a car on it. It’s hot and humid in the
summer but everything’s air conditioned. Clothes-wise, the big companies
have abandoned suits in favour of ’business casual’ - chinos and
open-neck shirts. And Fridays are still dress-down days.
’Although they speak a version of English, you’ll need to adjust.’