The Media Buying world is clearly in need of some PR help to drag it out of the 1980s. I found myself reading, jaw dropping to the table, this Media Week article by MediaCom’s Claudine Collins. It’s as if it had been ghosted by Charlie Brooker, Chris Morris and Helen Fielding – it reads like an unholy alliance between Bridget Jones’s Diary and Nathan Barley.
Snippets like “Later, the Telegraph’s party goes to dinner at the Goring Hotel in Victoria, where I sit next to Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6 – it is a real-life James Bond moment” and “Back in the gym for 5.45am where my personal trainer Gary nearly kills me – but luckily he is gorgeous to look at so I don’t mind” really set the tone, if a tone can be found in amongst the slew of names of the successful, rich and famous.
It was a relief to find this piece, by Ivan Clark, on Brand Republic. Thank god for Ivan – whether it’s the exact truth or exaggerated for satirical purposes doesn’t matter. He pricks and deflates the heavily shoulder-padded, driven and boastful efforts from people like Collins.
“Alarm wakes me at 8.00 am,” writes Ivan. “Lie in bed smoking Marlboro Red whilst listening to R4’s Today Show. Now replete with the bluffers guide to what is important to the London media village, I get up.”
And: “These adlads and adettes seem to find themselves most interesting. Park my moped right outside the office. Everyone else is still at the gym, I pop round the corner for a toasted egg and bacon sandwich with brown sauce. I need the carbs and protein ‘cos it’s nearly 11.00 am and time for the traditional Friday lunchtime in the pub. See lots of famous faces but can’t remember who, as by the time I get home at 9.00 pm, having gone via my local, everyone looks like Jedward.”
I don’t know anything about Claudine Collins’s life, but from this extract I worry that she’s taking her work – and herself – a little too seriously, which could lead all too easily to bitterness in later life. The beauty of Ivan’s piece is that it is a stark and funny reminder that a job is just a job and that the real business of living takes place as much outside one’s workplace as within it.