WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERFECT AGENCY?
The people. I think the best piece of advice I've had is to never take a job in advertising for an agency’s reputation or the brands it services. The only way to maximise the chances you have to be successful, happy and fulfilled in your career is to work with people that you like, respect, and can learn from. Or at least two of the three.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRINGE WHENEVER YOU THINK OF IT?
It was during a childhood trip to a shopping centre. Having been refused the toy I couldn’t live without I’d stormed off in a mood. Too proud to go back to the scene of the tantrum I felt confident that my absence would punish mum sufficiently and she would come looking for me. She didn’t and as my self-assuredness faded panic set in. When I cracked the embarrassment began – admission of my stupidity to a store attendant, tannoy announcement, and police companion. The full works. Only to be picked up by a slightly nonplussed mother who had clearly not undergone the same rollercoaster of emotion in the thirty minutes we had been apart. It taught me a valuable life lesson though – never trust your parents!
Despite such a glowing opportunity to show that I'm a distinctive individual, I can’t see past a slightly overweight bloke in speedos walking down a beach with so much swagger I want a glass of the revolting liquid he is selling me.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DIFFERENT JOBS BEFORE COMING INTO PLANNING?
I briefly flirted with a sporting career, but the real jewel in my crown is three summers at a Safari Park whilst at university. My ‘professional’ duties included: using a pickup truck to dissuade a rhino from satisfying an itch with vehicles belonging to members of the public; operating a series of gates for the lion enclosure while futilely trying to stop people winding down their windows to take pictures (a behavioural anomaly that still has me flummoxed as having your arms ripped off by a big cat seems motivation enough); and occasionally shovelling huge quantities of large mammal shit. For all of which growing up on a farm in Scotland seems qualification enough/
FAVOURITE CULTURAL EVENT OF THE YEAR?
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival - there is something exhilarating about playing cultural Russian Roulette with your day at the Fringe: will you be trapped in a dark room with three audience members watching a naked performer roll around in filth yelling about the injustices of life, unable to leave out of good conscience, or stumble upon an undiscovered comic whose genius leaves you with repetitive strain injuries induced by non-stop laughing for a full sixty minutes?
BOOKS THAT HAVE INSPIRED YOU
I do admit a sadistic enjoyment of reading strategy books. Yet my favourite has to be a compelling examination of the inner struggle between rebellious youth and family responsibility: a detailed account of what happens when we give in to our animal instincts, the impact it has on our immediate community, and wider society. It teaches that should you have your tail shot off by three of the nastiest, toughest and meanest farmers – Boggis, Bunce and Bean; one short, one fat, one lean – the best revenge is stealing everything you can get your bloody hands on.
See more from our 'Planners Unmasked' series here