My day started the night before, flying from JFK into Heathrow. Upon arrival I tell Kathleen Saxton, our Advisory Council chair, her efforts to have me detained at Heathrow have failed again and I gather up an embarrassing amount of luggage at carousel 9 for a two-week stay in my second home.
With so many flights back and forth and also traveling frequently to Tokyo as we ramp up Advertising Week Asia, I’ve convinced myself that I’m not tired and have learned to make sure the room is ready so I’m not wandering around like a nomad hoping the Esso Station will let me take a shower in the back of the garage.
Check in at the Groucho, a quick shower and I meet with our new director, Rebecca Eaves, on all things Advertising Week Europe. We spend a few hours going over everything, starting with our kick-off Leadership Breakfast at Ronnie Scott’s with The Guardian.
Next up is the quick walk over to Picturehouse Central, our new daytime thought leadership venue in Piccadilly. I’ve done the walk a hundred times, but there is a new urgency and focus as I start thinking about routing each day. Once the bell goes off Monday morning, every minute counts.
I walk past the huge vacant Outdoor Plus billboard on Shaftesbury knowing in a few days Advertising Week Europe will be up in lights, literally.
Partner meetings begin. Just about all the corporate and gold tier partners are visiting Picturehouse every day and it’s our job to get their questions answered quickly. My business partner Lance Pillersdorf and I are deeply committed to that ‘ole notion of good customer service.
Then it’s over to Ronnie Scott’s to check in with managing director Simon Cooke and our man Fred Nash who really runs the show for us. With six events at Ronnie Scott's, there’s a lot to go over. We also talk about jazz talent for the inaugural Opening Gala in Tokyo, which is 30 May.
The day ends with a walk to Lillywhite’s to answer my own question and see if there is any golf gear they have that we don’t have in New York. (Answer: It’s all the same stuff). Dinner at Wahaca, then it’s Casino on Sky Movies until 2am and off to sleep. Nothing like the soothing imagery of Joe Pesci.
Today is filled with full-on partner meetings. We make it a point to connect and spend time with everyone engaged in The Week and it never feels like work — it’s what we like to do. There’s also a lot of focus on making sure our out of town guests from potential Advertising Week host cities are all set. Connect with Manuel Rivera, the chief executive of Grupo Expansion out of Mexico City, our man Clive Prosser in Sydney and Malika Toure from Senegal. Advertising Week Latin America is on the front burner, for 2017. Sydney and tackling the African continent are on the horizon, for 2018.
Plenty of work on Advertising Week Asia going on in between partner conversations. From 2004 to 2012, we had one Advertising Week. Since 2013 it’s been two, roughly six months apart. For 2016, it’s three and Asia is right on top of Europe timing-wise so learning (on the job) how to manage three is an on-going evolutionary process.
Our operations tsar, Keith Weckstein, arrives. Keith lives in Indiana and has to travel to an airport to get to another airport to get pretty much anywhere. Keith knows his stuff dead cold, I’m apt to change my mind or have thought of some zany idea and need late help to execute. We laugh a lot, talk about our shared affinity for Jonathan Durden’s Below the Belt product line, and agree to reconvene for dinner.
That night it’s Keith and two of his key guys, Colin and James, for dinner at Jamie’s Italian and then it’s off to buy milk, almonds and grapes at Whole Foods. Of course when I get back I see the Groucho folks have already put milk in the fridge. (So if anyone needs a quarter pint of milk, I have an extra.)
I start the day at the new office of Chime Communications to see Chris Satterthwaite. Really like Chris and their new office is super impressive, a real creative, positive atmosphere. Chris also leads the Roundhouse, a wonderful organisation doing fantastic things to help young people and we support them any way we can.
On the way out we bump into Lord Coe and we get to catch up about our mutual friend, the late great Bud Greenspan, who created the genre of the sports documentary and had made a film about Seb.
We then meet with Gavin McBride at The Telegraph and go over the run of show for The Brexit and talk Wired Women, which Emma Barnett is chairing. Gavin really gets it and he will get things done.
A quick lunch and halfway through I remember we have a call with Ogilvy & Mather Asia-Pacific chief David Mayo on our objective to add Tham Khai Meng, worldwide chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather, to the roster of committed speakers for Advertising Week Asia.
The day closes with an impromptu team dinner at Red Fort where Rebecca meets many of our full time team for the first time. Our own Elizabeth Petra declares her interest in competing in the Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, the World Championship of Competitive Eating, and we talk about the upcoming Adland Cycling Championships Friday night at the Olympic Velodrome.
Up at 4am to get a full day’s work in before leaving at 11am to meet the IPA’s Paul Bainsfair. Paul and I have a golf tradition before each Advertising Week Europe and who am I to mess with our mojo?
So it’s off to Swinley Forest for a great round and we agree the CPD initiative we began this year with the IPA has big upside for the future. Paul plays great and I am surprisingly less than abysmal.
Back just in time for a call with Sheryl Sandberg’s west coast based team on Advertising Week in New York City this coming autumn. Always humbled to have folks like Sheryl in our sphere and her team led by Elisabeth Diana is really strong.
Then off to the Third Space for a run and back to Wahaca, this time with Louise and Elizabeth on our Stillwell team. We have a great meal and remain mystified when the waiter said, "We are out of tap water" when we asked for water. We’re reasonably convinced it was a plot to sell us bottled water.
I end the week at Picturehouse for final meetings with our creative shop, Gravity Road, and our PR firm, Seven Hills, led by Nick Giles, a great lunch with Media iQ’s Richard Dunmall at the Groucho and massive amounts of emails to tie up loose ends.
Last meeting of the day is with Chloe Franses at Freuds about future engagement with her firm’s clients and then it’s a quiet end to a busy week.
Preserving mental energy and having time to think about the week ahead is key, with this being the 16th global edition of Advertising Week, I know how important it is to go into the week feeling strong.
Favourite media: The Huffington Post and ESPN apps by day, Netflix by night and I love Pollstar
My biggest inspiration: Delivering for our partners, surprising and elevating our game is my biggest inspiration.
Dream job: This one. Would not trade it for any other gig.
Not a lot of people know this about me… As a kid I once had my own ice cream cart in Manhattan selling Chipwiches, a delicious concoction of two chocolate chip cookies surrounding ice cream.