My Media Week: Chris Forrester, commercial director, Primesight

Chris Forrester: commercial director, Primesight
Chris Forrester: commercial director, Primesight

This week, Chris Forrester, commercial director at Primesight, talks gesture recognition cinema screens, meets with major retail advertisers and thwarts a trigger-happy neighbour's attempts to shoot the local squirrels.


It's been many years since I woke up to the pitter-patter of tiny feet, but this morning it seems that spring has finally sprung as the squirrels are scampering across my roof.

The first of my seven daily cups of coffee (I really must cut down) is consumed along with BBC Breakfast news, and I quickly scroll through Twitter and Facebook on my walk to the tube.

As with all good commercial operations, Monday morning means laser focus on the week ahead. Our sales leadership meeting includes revenues, reporting and rallying cries. We quickly move through updates on the £4m upgrade to our roadside estate, analysis of the interactive, touch screen, gesture recognition cinema screen activity and share early results from an impressive piece of General Motors PrimeMobile research.

After a meeting with my PA Zoe, the remainder of the day is a series of external meetings with agencies and specialists. It’s 7pm before I come up for air, quickly FaceTime my kids, Max and Izzy, and just make the late kickboxing session in Camden, trying hard not to get my third black eye of the year. Home late and turn my attention to 'Broadchurch' on catch-up (I'm offering 5-1 that Tom's dad did it).


I'm up early and jump on the Northern line. I’m travelling from Barnet so grab a City AM and skim the headlines, then meditate (some call it intellectual snoozing) for a whole nine stops.

I catch up with my key managers – Lou, Mark, Tim, Stephen and Nigel. They secretly think I'm a tough arse, but I secretly think they're brilliant.

Afterwards I sit down for an important hour with our new commercial analyst Gintare. We look at her early thoughts on occupancy models and revenue forecasting. It proves to be good timing as I'm straight into the Primesight board meeting. The launch of Route, emergence of Talon and the CBS sale make for an interesting discussion.

The afternoon is spent focusing on our important retail advertisers. First up, I see Tesco at Initiative and then on to Waitrose and Specsavers at MG OMD. Business discussions over, we move onto the topic of racing. They're joining 14 other teams at Primesight’s inaugural inter agency race day at Brands Hatch (another iteration of Primesight’s positioning around results). They're already favourites, I learn one of their team raced Jenson Button as a kid.

Back to the office to update with LinkedIn news before a quick drink with one of our arm wrestling, but good debate.


I'm back with the squirrels that are upping the ante by swinging Tarzan-like on the wisteria. I persuade myself that second screening Twitter in bed while watching BBC Breakfast news is justification for a "professional lie-in", before heading off.

First up I have a meeting with an agency head of planning to discuss one of his clients using our PrimeMobile tool, a real time, smart phone, consumer response app. I’m genuinely proud that Primesight are pioneering in this way.

Two specialist revenue review meetings follow. One the most established in the market and one just starting out. It’s interesting to hear their respective views.

Later that afternoon I have a meeting to discuss our upcoming series of Primesight breakfast seminars. The first one in May focuses on out of home's relationship with mobile, payment and interaction with a provocative panel.

I FaceTime kids before heading off to dinner. They seem hell bent on me signing up to whiplash at Thorpe Park at the weekend, but I divert them to restaurant choices for Friday night.

Primesight hosts a series of executive dinners for leaders within the market. City AM’s editor Allister Heath did a superb job in February. Today's speaker is Jamil Qureshi, a performance coach Primesight is working with. The timing is perfect with the Masters upon us as three of Jamil’s sporting clients are in with a chance of winning the green jacket.

I read the early edition of Campaign on my way home – I really enjoy the new iPad format.


I wake up and go for a run. I'm in the process of giving up smoking, reducing coffee intake and hoping to look a little fitter on the beach. I quickly scan City AM and the BBC news website on the tube before turning attention to my emails as we go below ground.

I have an enjoyable lunch with a recently promoted agency CEO. It’s good to share plans for our respective companies and unusually get on to the subject of a recent armed robbery in his street. 

Then I’m on to an agency that has yet to spend significant money with us this year. Our focus is driving results for our clients, symbolised by our company motto, "Results Are Our Culture".

I explain how we’re passionate about results and committed to providing the best roadside billboard estate that’s equally impressive nationwide. I hear they are about to pitch so distract the nerves with more race day chat.

Date night at Odette’s with a special friend.


I wake again to Twitter and BBC. I get wet leaving this morning, a crazy OAP with cut glass accent and a water pistol apologies as he squirts me instead of the "pesky squirrels" (god's honest truth).

I head to breakfast with a commercial director who's a good friend. We talk of challenges of growing a business in an unpredictable market that is seeing increasing client movement.

Next I have a meeting with our CEO Naren Patel to review the week. He offers me great counsel and is a true guiding light. He epitomises everything Primesight stands for, but is wearing an awful brown leather jacket in an attempt to blend in with the youthful sales team.

Lunch is with one of my favourite agency CEO's. Once we've got the business chat out of the way we turn our attention to gossip, talk of ownership and consolidation is rife.

That afternoon I write a blog for MediaWeek on how outdoor and mobile are coming together to give the advertising world a superior marketing proposition. Out of home is quickly becoming established as the natural gateway for brands to drive interaction through social media.

Back home via Potters Bar to collect Max and Izzy. We opt for Chinese tonight, diversion has clearly failed as Thorpe Park is mentioned before starters even arrive.

Read Chris Forrester's Media Week blog here.

Personal CV

Age: 41
Favourite media: Twitter
My biggest inspiration: Tom Goddard for his wisdom and bravery
Dream job: manager of Manchester United (I’d relegate them)
Not a lot of people know this about me...I'm adopted and was a county level percussionist as a youth. For those interested – I have got rhythm.

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