Outdoor advertising veteran Michael Higgins has poached two of the
industry’s big names for his rival start-up, Van Wagner.
Maiden Outdoor development director Alex Brown and Mills & Allen general
manager Brian Coleman have both resigned in order to join Higgins’
Soho-based outfit (Campaign Media Business, 20 September).
Higgins also has his eye on several candidates for a senior sales
He will either hire a sales director or someone at manager level. The
former Mills & Allen sales and marketing director and More group chief
executive is planning to build a sales team of up to six staff.
Before Higgins hires sales personnel, however, he has to find sites.
Van Wagner, a US company, specialises in large, one-off,
attention-grabbing sites in prime locations such as Times Square, and
has briefed Higgins to repeat the formula in the UK. Once on board,
Brown will work closely with planning authorities to find and secure
But industry insiders were sceptical about whether the US system would
work here. ’Most of the sites in locations like Piccadilly Circus are
tied up with the big players like Maiden or More.’ Another pointed to
potential problems with UK planning permission, saying: ’The UK market
is different. We are not into massive holdings or one-off sites.’
Higgins, who claims he has already signed several blue-chip names,
replied: ’Leases don’t last forever, they’ll be put out to tender.’
While he acknowledged the UK market differed, he added: ’Our job will be
to change that perception.
People in the outdoor industry said the same things when I introduced
back lights. There has always been a head-in-the-sand mentality.’