MEDIA: HEADLINER; The Network’s new recruit is keen for creative challenges

Gordon MacMillan hears why Tania Scotland will be welcomed at the Network

Gordon MacMillan hears why Tania Scotland will be welcomed at the


The name, Dr Scotland, has a nice ring to it, conjuring up warm and cosy

images of black-and-white 60s TV shows. But, while the Network’s new

director of non-traditional media has never been in a TV show, she did

come close to becoming a shrink.

‘It’s true,’ Tania Scotland says. A psychiatrist? ‘Absolutely.’ Okay, I

can see it now, and there is a kind of symmetry if you consider it for

more than a nano-second. Straight out of Manchester University for a

two-year stint as a TV planner at J. Walter Thompson, naturally you then

go to Middlesex Hospital medical school for psychiatric training.

Dr Scotland, though, was not to be. Medical training turned out to be a

two-and-a-half-week flash in the pan. ‘It was a twentysomething ‘oh my

God, what am I going to do with my life’ crisis. It was the usual

stuff.’ Scotland says now that it’s one of those things that you just

have go through. Of course it is, what else can you say?

Out of hospital, Scotland didn’t have to look around for very long, or

very far, for a new job - McCann-Erickson being handily positioned

opposite the Middlesex Hospital.

It seems that there is something special about Scotland - either that,

or I’ve been speaking to all the wrong people. Everybody in town (her

home town of Alnwick, Northumberland, that is) thinks she is a genius,

with words like creative, clever and charming tripping off the lips of

one and all. When asked if Scotland also has a media fan club, it seems

everyone who has ever met her wants to shout ‘ra ra ra, give us a T,

give us an A,’ etcetera.

At a push one media lad did admit that media owners thought she was a

bit strange, but then ruined this by swiftly adding that it was because

of this that most people liked her.

Possibly they mean ‘strange’ as in eccentric. Strange like enjoying

mountaineering and rock climbing. Strange like giving up smoking and

cutting down on drinking. It’s strange like good. Sitting in BMP DDB’s

offices you can sort of feel this strangeness, and see it in her tanned

healthy glow. It’s no wonder media owners like it.

However, when you look at Scotland you know without a doubt that she

cuts a mean swathe through anything standing in her path. She is by

birth a Northerner and plays a slightly affected line in Northernesque

affability. She says she’s naive, but the bottom line is, she takes no


This is one point most people agree on. ‘She can charm but she also has

a hard edge,’ says one, while another adds: ‘She is ruthlessly


So, is she altogether a good catch for the Network, then?

By all accounts, the Network’s managing director, Mandy Pooler, has been

talking to Scotland for around a year and the two are looking forward to

working with each other. And anyway, the fact that they’re both from the

North is sure to get the relationship off to a good start.

Her arrival is sure to be felt by the Network. The agency has some great

clients, such as Ford and Guinness but, as one source puts it: ‘Tania

will make a real impact. The Network is not the most exciting agency in


One of the elements that attracts Scotland to the job is that it will

give her the chance to break new ground. It will be a creative exercise

in all senses and it will be about looking for new opportunities and

turning them into finished products, whether this means developing

advertiser produced TV programmes, working on programme sponsorship or

targeting events.

This sounds like a tall order, but by all accounts Scotland will relish

the task. To begin with she will be hanging out for a spell with the

non-traditionalists at Ogilvy and Mather New York, learning everything

they know, and then, as she puts it, doing it better.

That kind of comment probably best sums up Scotland. She wants to make

an impact and offer something extra.

But perhaps the oddest thing about her new job is the title that puts

her in a club of one. When discussing the idea of titles with Pooler,

Scotland said that what she would really like to be called is Wing


Pooler has clearly saved Scotland from exposure to remarks such as

‘Scotland is a bit of an air head,’ or ‘Scotland’s up in the clouds’.

But after so many years in the shadow of BMP’s joint media directors,

Derek Morris and Paul Taylor, Scotland now has the chance to really

prove that she can fly her own plane.

The Scotland file

1980 JWT, assistant media planner (TV)

1985 Middlesex Hospital, medical student

1986 McCann-Erickson, media planner/buyer

1987 BMP DDB, media planner/buyer

1991 BMP, head of media management

1994 BMP, assistant media director

1996 The Network, head of non-traditional media


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