MEDIA HEADLINER: Mr Nice Guy finds the perfect fit as TDI’s new sales director - Clive Punter’s personality should suit the TDI way of working, Claire Beale says

’How do you see this one panning out then?’ Clive Punter enquires, nervously pondering the prospect of a Campaign Punter profile, memories of a former colleague’s panning fizzing in his head.

’How do you see this one panning out then?’ Clive Punter enquires,

nervously pondering the prospect of a Campaign Punter profile, memories

of a former colleague’s panning fizzing in his head.

Sadly, Clive, I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about. For Mr

Punter, the newly promoted national sales director of TDI, is far too

poised a professional, nice guy, Mr Clean(ish) to have a skeleton-laden

closet ripe for a spot of opening.

What is it with young media men these days? Apart from earning himself

the nickname Morning Glory for managing to fit half the Daily Mail

female sales team into his bed in the pissy dawn hours of a sales

conference, Punter lacks the ... how to say it? ... ’colour’ of some of

his more seasoned outdoor counterparts.

Punter looks like a bit of a wide boy, the sort of cheeky chappy you’d

expect to see in a low-budget saucy 70s Brit flick. But, try as I might,

he gets a clean bill of health as a proficient salesman who is good at

his job - charming, helpful and slick without the grease. A jolly nice

bloke. Damn.

Actually, Punter is exactly the sort of guy you’d want working for your

company. He may not be the dazzling, schmoozing hip-shooter at the top

of every party list, but he does have a reassuring polish which belies

his tender (well, I’m 31 too) years.

Simon Mathews, the managing director of Optimedia, says of Punter: ’He

handles himself very professionally for a young bloke and he’s serviced

our business brilliantly at TDI. He couldn’t be more helpful.’ Mathews,

who knows a thing or two about fun, also says Punter does let himself go

and have a laugh: ’You go out with Clive for one beer and find yourself

completely smashed in some dodgy club at 2am.’

Part of his charm - and there is something beguiling about our Punter -

is that there’s a shy, sensitive bloke lurking beneath his tentatively

laddish exterior, say those that know about such things. One

acquaintance identifies ’a nice balance between an almost sickening

enthusiasm for his job and a winning affability’.

Which helps explain why Punter got his big promotion last week. His new

job comes on the back of the departure of the TDI sales director,

Christie Leth. After two-and-a-half years as TDI’s sales manager, being

top dog now is testament to his driving am-bition (Campaign, 27 March).

But Punter insists he’s not motivated by money and status. ’With

ambition comes learning and development, and that’s what interests me,’

he says.

And landing at TDI after ten years with Associated Newspapers certainly

proved to be a per-iod of learning and development for Punter. ’TDI blew

my mind. There’s no editorial product so we’re not governed by editorial

constraints, but then there’s no wonderful editorial environment to help

you sell your ad space so, by default, outdoor is much more of a test

for a salesman.’

Indeed, Punter sees himself as a salesman first and foremost. ’I love

the cut and thrust of dealing, of putting yourself in the media buyer’s

position and getting under the skin of what the agency is trying to


Although he might not immediately stand out as top-dog material - he’s a

little too quiet and considered to play the razzmatazz showman - and, at

first glance, seems more of a sterling number two, Punter suits the TDI

style. ’I have a fair level of integrity and honesty and I work hard to

get a result for my company and my clients.’

All of which count for a lot at a company such as TDI, which prides

itself on its professionalism and reliability. So much so, in fact, that

employees are forbidden alcoholic refreshment until after 5.30pm, staff

sport a natty TDI badge - and they probably repeat the TDI mantra when

they go for a pee in the middle of the night.

It’s the sort of puritanical zeal many a media boy would baulk at,

particularly after a decade at the rather more lubricated Associated


But Punter looks on the bright side. ’Why run with the pack when you can

be distinctive with your own brand? I think TDI has earned itself a very

solid reputation in quite a short time.’

So is Punter - with probably a few good media years left in him yet -

now wedded to TDI and life in the outdoor track?

’I have a real commitment to the outdoor medium, but I’m not saying I’m

going to be doing this until I retire,’ he concedes. Then, after a pause

to consider: ’Outdoor is very interesting at the moment and, as long as

it’s interesting, I’ll stick with it.’


1986: Daily Mail, classified sales executive

1987: Daily Mail, display sales executive

1990: Daily Mail, group head

1992: Daily Mail, agency sales manager

1996: TDI, client/agency sales manager

1997: TDI, board member

1998: TDI, national sales director


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