’Billericay Vicky’ sang Ian Dury. Well, he might have done if he’d
met Essex-born Vicky Knapp, head of TV buying at MBS.
Not that the Kilburn-dweller is the least bit fake designer; in fact, in
her leisure time she enjoys nothing more than hanging round a bonfire at
Glastonbury, albeit without a dog on a string.
On the day I met her, she had been out the night before to celebrate the
end of the (successful) CGNU pitch and looked like she’d drank ten
rounds with Euan Blair.
Knapp happily admits she enjoys a drink - she started her career in
media ’on booze’ in 1988, working as a trainee TV buyer at Burkitts on
the IDV account. She was also responsible for the launch of Archers, she
reveals with pride.
After her spell at Burkitts, she read business studies at the
Polytechnic of Wales (’a shithole’), and spent a placement year buying
press in Birmingham at an outfit called The Point of Media.
Knapp left college in 1994 and got a job as a trainee buyer at MBS,
where she has remained ever since. She has now reached the heights of
head of TV buying, working with Ivy Michael and reporting to media
veteran John Earl.
Knapp works on the CGNU, Allied Carpets, Eaglemoss and Limelight Group
accounts, with assistance from her executives Rachel Tucker, Alex While
and Megan Robertson.
This is a pretty hefty task, to the value of around pounds 35 million.
She is also heavily involved in pitching for new business.
This workload means that when she lets her hair down, Knapp really goes
for it. On a recent holiday to Ibiza she overdosed on drugs and ended up
in hospital - they were prescription drugs for her asthma, she hastens
Knapp is no girly-girl. ’It really annoys me that women never get
invited to the football - we don’t always want to go to the Sanctuary
and, after all, Spurs is my life.’
Her vision of the future is that it will be all about testing and
learning - she thinks Digital TV is still a small enough medium in which
to make mistakes.
More immediately, Knapp is making plans for her thirtieth birthday later
this year. And she has a message for a certain media magazine that tried
to pick out the industry’s rising stars in its ’30 Under 30’ feature:
’You’ve missed out on this one, lads.’
Dealing with people she likes
People thinking before they present