1. TIM McCLOSKEY, managing director, OMD
The best media buyers aren't (just) about demands with menaces. Some can negotiate (as opposed to haggle) persuade and charm. The very, very best can make you feel good about the fact that you've just been had. It helps of course if you look a little bit like the Artful Dodger. But don't worry -- you don't actually have to count your fingers after shaking hands.
2. NICK THEAKSTONE, head of investment, MindShare
The MindShare job that Theakstone took on last year was not for the faint of heart. He was joining a less-than-happy ship and what's more, he was brought in to do a job that his boss, Simon Rees, knew inside out. Rees had been peerless at managing agency deals while at Carat - but strangely, he showed no interest in getting involved in this side of things at MindShare. Theakstone has prospered - even through a period of upheaval that has seen Rees's departure. Media owners say that Theakstone is not only a tough negotiator but also has the "big picture" mind of a planner.
3. CHRIS HAYWARD, TV director, Zenith Media
It's hardly rocket science, is it? Well actually, sometimes it damned well is. When you have to balance the demands of a large number of very big TV spenders, you have to be good at sums and have a firm grasp of the big picture while maintaining cordial yet robust relationships with those that matter at the media owners. Tenacity and integrity was the summary last year. And they're such good words that we'll use them again this year.
4. TIM KIRKMAN, director of press, Carat
Contrary to popular belief, and despite the evidence of this list, not all press buying directors are required by law to be called Tim, Mark or Chris. This particular Tim is tough but fair, which is just as well really, given the amount of clout he wields. The popular perception of Carat is that it shoots first and asks questions later, but Kirkman and his press buying operation are a good deal more sophisticated and subtle than that. The main requirement of the job is to make the numbers stack up, obviously, yet the Carat press unit is as innovative as they come when it comes to partnership deals with media owners.
5. MICK PERRY, Chairman, Magna UK
Perry has flourished in his position as negotiator-in-chief for the Interpublic Group -- a role he clearly relishes. The jury is still out on the structure that Interpublic has chosen for Magna and some would say that too much power still rests with the individual group media agencies -- Universal McCann and Initiative. They're still feeling their way forward, so the Magna job requires refined diplomacy skills as well as a masterful command of airtime market dynamics. Perry scores highly on both counts.
6. CHRIS BOOTHBY, director, broadcasting, BBJ
Media owners are impressed with the way that Boothby hasn't been eclipsed following the centralisation of much of Carat's TV negotiating function at a group level.
7. STEVE GOODMAN, group press director, MediaCom
MediaCom has a damned fine press department - because it's not only headed by Goodman but it also boasts his deputy, Claudine Collins, who's rated very highly indeed on the media owner side.
8. MARK COLLINS, broadcast director of MediaCom
Mark is another of those rarities in the media world -- an airtime trader who hides his light under a bushel. On the other hand, MediaCom is a media operation blessed with more bushels that most. But he's good. Very good. Renowned for getting incredibly good value out of a schedule.
9. MARK JARVIS, TV buying director, Carat
We couldn't really leave him out, could we -- though we were tempted to show just how fickle we could be, given he was top of last year's list. Jarvis carries Carat's big stick -- so sales teams turn to jelly at the merest mention of his name.
10. ANDY ROBERTS, buying director, Starcom Motive
Andy complained bitterly about his inclusion at the lowly position of number five on last year's list. So, pleased to be presented with a rare opportunity to take on a crack negotiator and win, Campaign has decided to demote him this year. Robot is one of the few Czech words to have been adopted by the English language (Ed - is this relevant?) -- not that we're implying that Andy is of Slavic origin. Nor would we suggest that he is an automated machine programmed to perform mechanical functions in the manner of a human. The job's actually slightly more ticklish that that -- especially seeing ITV is a client of the agency, which puts him in some tricky situations. On the other hand, doesn't that mean he gets favourable treatment?
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