ANALYSIS: How to sell to ... Vicky Knapp - MBS’s TV buying chief is a pitching, partying, people person, writes Jeremy Lee

’Billericay Vicky’ sang Ian Dury. Well, he might have done if he’d met Essex-born Vicky Knapp, head of TV buying at MBS.

’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

to add.

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


Stupid people


The Sanctuary