Publicis' Baker works hard in New York

'Hard working' New York City
'Hard working' New York City

Leigh Baker is senior vice-president group account director for Publicis New York

Why did you choose New York?
In my last year at Publicis London, I took on a global brief for Pernod Ricard and developed a taste for working abroad. The move to New York felt like the natural next step after 14 years in London.

Are you enjoying the move?
Working in the advertising industry in New York is more formal, more demanding and a little more conservative. However, the two-and-a-half years I have spent in New York feel like five minutes.

What is the media environment like?
The US ad market is bigger than the globe's next-biggest 18 markets combined. You can get amazing things done, such as branded content integrations, but you have to lock up so much of your TV budget in advance, making real-time changes far more difficult.

How proactive are media agencies?
The media talent can be as strong as anywhere else, but one of clients' concerns remains the unintended consequence of the unbundling of full-service agencies. Too often, the creative right hand does not know what the media left hand is doing.

How far advanced is digital?
There is no shortage of forward-thinking digital minds, but the US infrastructure, particularly in mobile, lags behind that of many other countries.

Culture and social scene?
The social scene is similar on the surface, but after a while you notice the cultural differences and realise your frames of reference are different. For example, there isn't the "pint after work" routine of London agencies.

Main differences in media?
Putting together a national campaign in the US on anything other than television is a challenge. There aren't really any national newspapers and the regional newspapers are collapsing like dominoes.

One thing we can learn from the US?
This country is built on the premise that you can be anything you want to be if you work hard. People work hard and they don't seem to moan about it.

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