ANALYSIS: HOW TO SELL TO ... Paul Alexander - The international director of Walker Media was once in sewage. By Lexie Goddard

Paul Alexander remembers the moment he decided to be an advertising man.

Paul Alexander remembers the moment he decided to be an advertising


His uncle, who ran a Scottish agency called Robertsons, picked up the

wee laddie in a Porsche - and the boy’s mind was made up.

’I remember sliding down in the leather seat and feeling that roar as

the car accelerated,’ says Alexander. ’It was then I knew what I wanted

to be.’

Now 28, Alexander doesn’t have a Porsche, but he bashfully admits to

owning a BMW Z3, which he plays down as a ’hairdressers’ car’.

He’s also done rather well in advertising. The Newcastle-born director

started out at The Media Factor, which was founded by Paul Booth.

Alexander later left the company to work for Paul’s brother Steve, who

was launching Booth Lockett Makin.

Fancying a bit of travelling, Alexander moved to Australia to work for

Leo Burnett. During surfing school, for which he bought an entire

wardrobe of since untouched ’surf dude’ clothes, he had the bright idea

of producing a CD of drinking songs for his client Heineken.

The Aussies lapped it up and the CD shot to number one in the Australian

music chart, earning Alexander the Leo Burnett Global Media award and a

place back in London managing media for Starcom’s client Procter &


Alexander jumped ship just after Starcom announced its merger with


Now he is two weeks into a new job as international director at Walker

Media, the post formerly occupied by Paul Bay, who went to Brussels to

become director of media planning and buying at Levi-Strauss.

Alexander looks after planning for British Airways, One World Alliance

(the link-up between BA and a handful of airlines) and several UK

dotcoms that are about to launch internationally.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Alexander, however. In the days

before the BMW Z3 and the jet setting, Alexander worked in a Thames

Water sewage treatment plant over two particularly hot summers.

’My job was to fish out the condoms so they didn’t plug the filter

beds,’ explains Alexander. ’I also had to pour shit into a container and

measure how fast it settled’ (sounds like a job invented by the

full-time staff to wind up the summer-holiday boy). ’One day the

container broke and it all poured out of the top, soaking me and the

bloke behind me. I thought, ’It can’t get any worse than this’.’


Skiing (he’s a qualified instructor)


Soft-top cars



Bulging media packs

Media owners with no market savvy

Punishing travel schedules