Tara Marus is worried. ’I’ll probably come across as the dullest
person in media,’ she frets as we settle down to chat. Why? Unlike most
agency folk who jump ship every 12 months, Marus arrived at BJK&E for a
week of work experience and ended up staying for six years. ’If it ain’t
broke, don’t fix it,’ she explains frankly. ’I like it here.’
But dull she isn’t. People who have received a tongue-lashing from Marus
know how strong her character is. Indeed, some might call her downright
scary. ’I’m sure many media owners are frightened of me,’ she says with
a sly smile.
Her clients are also anything but boring. Triumph underwear, Chrysler,
Seiko watches and FT.com all come under the watchful eye of the
Battersea-dwelling media group director.
Marus and her team - planners/buyers Duncan Owen and Jason Smith - are
also about to relaunch the hairspray brand Harmony, this time without
the kitsch ’Is she or isn’t she?’ 1970s strapline. Finally, they are
putting together a ’fun and funky’ media plan for the launch of Coors
Light, the American beer that arrives herein October.
Marus reports to agency director James Jennings but insists that BJK&E
is not into hierarchy. ’We’re like one big family,’ she adds. A typical
family outing goes as follows: pints of Fosters in the Coach and Horses,
a tiny Irish pub near BJK&E’s Covent Garden office, before moving to
PJ’s where they knock back tequila until they are chucked out at 2am
(see Diary, p28). ’I’m surprised they still let us in,’ she laughs.
The group head is ’addicted’ to golf and has a ’respectable’
But to avoid completely embarrassing yourself on the fairway, you should
know that Marus won first prize in a golf tournament organised by
BJK&E’s occasional ad partner Delaney Fletcher Bozell.
Still afraid of picking up the phone? BJK&E managing director Mark
Patterson assures Media Business that Tara is, in fact, a softy. ’Her
bark’s worse than her bite,’ says Patterson. ’She’s very cuddly - a real
But you don’t stand much chance of getting cuddles unless you’re
Apparently, Marus only goes for fellas over six foot two.
Jollies (’can’t get enough of them’)
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