My Media Week: Mark Henson

Mark Henson: head of business development, Primesight
Mark Henson: head of business development, Primesight

This week, Mark Henson, head of business development, Primesight, finds a lot of love for 96-sheets but is reminded that clients see audiences, not formats.


I vote for a lie-in on the first May Bank holiday. Bliss. Spring is in full bloom and Suffolk is looking its best.

A trip to the local dump serves as a reminder of rampant consumerism as car after car disgorges unwanted items. Unilever's sustainability stance suddenly seems very prescient.

I see my first political poster in Colchester. The Tories stalking the weakest prey in the region with "You can make the difference".

We start an 800-metre race with my 12-year-old son Jake, marshalled by my nine-year-old, Kit. It concludes with me having to give it everything to get past the line first. I promise myself I will run more than once a week to save face next time.


I'm at Manningtree Station at 06.53 looking out over the unspoilt marshland three miles from where Constable painted the Hay Wain. It makes the long commute worth it.

On the way to the office from Liverpool Street I bike past the iPhone 6 banner of a stunning image (taken with the iPhone 6) of a climber surrounded by hill peaks. The fresh air and the inspiring poster make a great start to the day. Coffee is no longer required.

I meet Frank Bryant, managing parter at Talon (and owner of the firmest handshake in media), to run him through "#TheUltimateCanvas", which launches our two new 96-sheet packages.

He understands the importance of differentiation and makes a couple of useful suggestions before I taxi to Kinetic to present to Colin Bundock, head of trading, and Martyn Stokes, chief strategy officer. Both have good ideas on finding fertile ground.

There's clearly a love of 96-sheets out there and sometimes a re-appraisal of the key benefits is all it takes. Thinkbox springs to mind.

I decide on a quick Itsu lunch (duck potsu) before catching up with Matt to identify development clients on his agency patch for H2.

Nadya, our comms manager, bribes me with chocolate to finish the intro to our launch invite. I tell her she would make a terrible parent, her tactic works on me.

I have the pleasure of attending an internal feedback meeting on the subject of a training session with Gavin Presman from Inspire on how to be trainers ourselves. If only I could make it look that easy...

On the train home I review Twitter comments on #TheIsland while watching the pre-recorded C4 programme. The pig slaughter scene divided opinion quite sharply.


I am at the 8am sales meeting we have every Wednesday. The teams agrees forfeits for coming short of their weekly pledge on Friday, one being to eat two chillies. Better be a good week then.

I launch #TheUltimateCanvas project internally to the sales team patching in the regions. Some good feedback and more potential clients identified already. All judges are now confirmed. It's a great industry, everyone is prepared to get behind a new initiative with immediate enthusiasm.

Brief catch up with Andy Tilley, creative director at Talon, who introduces me to TalentHouse. His connections are invaluable for a medium that relies on strong creative to really maximise its impact.

The day continues its creative theme by putting Santander's recent artwork through our creative evaluation model, Primedesign. The client's pro-activity in this area has made a real difference to their creative over the last couple of years.

For Primesight's new Wellness initiative I decide that my two top pledges will be to learn to kite-surf and try to sell a piece of my own art before September.

Chris Forrester, our commercial director, is constantly challenging us to find the next "learning curve" and I feel suitably stretched with these two.

In the evening I play tennis doubles with friends. The top spin is not quite tuned, so we narrowly lose. No one really loses though as the post-match beers and chat is what we're really there for.


Tim, our head of trading, and I go to present to Rob Rosenthal, the trading director at Posterscope, who observes that clients see audiences rather than formats. We discuss a re-sizing service to sidestep creative issues.

Rob's PA informs us that Chris and Naren (our chief executive) are here for their meeting with Rob. Tim asks her to tell them both to wait their turn. His one-liners are legendary.

At lunchtime I make a quick 35-minute run to the top of Regent's Park. It's all I can do to stop my pride from being dented by racing my son again.

Andy, our agency sales director, and I make a brief run through for our internal planning awards entry on Monday. Our chosen Carlsberg campaign allows us to reference VE day with the Danes creating Special Brew to thank Winston Churchill for his war efforts.

I meet with Joel who is one half of our strategic planning unit. It's a good session as he and Julian have dug up some interesting consumer habits surrounding the convenience sector.

I catch the 10 o'clock news. Exit polls are predicting the Tories are destined for 316. Where did that come from?


Exit poll predictions seem to be true. Staggering. Two thoughts – firstly, stability good for business and secondly, does no one admit to voting Conservative outside the polling booth? Colchester goes from yellow to blue.

I see the new Vodafone Live on 4G poster on my through Liverpool St. It's so much fresher and more current than previous campaigns. Handy, as my first meeting is with Neil Harrison, the head of media at Vodafone, so we discuss its new campaign as well as the window of opportunity while the sector undergoes changes. Lots of good questions from a media savvy client.

It seems to be the day for networks as we run an in-house session for the O2 media team, showing them the capabilities of our cinema foyer fully interactive digital screens.

During Friday's sales wrap-up meeting we had one team falling short of their pledge and, as fate would have it, the forfeit was the chillies. Cue uproar, laughter and wincing faces. There was a choice not to do it but pride took over.

After a quick focus meeting with the managers on next week's priorities, I head back to Suffolk and some good stories from my boys' week at school.

The lowdown

Age: 45
Favourite media: Interactive touch-screen digital screens
My biggest inspiration: Simon Daglish. Charm and steel
Dream job: A bridge between outdoor and the creative industry
Not a lot of people know this about me: I do art as a hobby and a few years back designed the marquetry floors of the penthouse at 1, Hyde Park

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