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
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)
Bulging media packs
Media owners with no market savvy
Punishing travel schedules