My weeks are unfortunately measured not in hours and days, but in mileage and time zones, so I always try to plan my travelling well in advance - an effort that usually ends up proving that truism: "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
The start of the work week has steadily crept up from Monday morning to Sunday night, then to Sunday afternoon. At this rate, my epitaph will no doubt read "the inventor of the 24-hour weekend". Fortunately, I love what I do and, frankly, at this point couldn’t imagine living any other way.
My extended week begins with a Sunday flight to Brazil, landing on Monday in a hot São Paulo in time
for an early morning client meeting. Since full service is the norm in Brazil, it’s a challenging environment for media agencies, where the business model is counter-intuitive to the region’s growth and reputation for specialisation and media innovation.
By Tuesday afternoon, I go back to New York, having experienced the metabolic mayhem that is a result of trying to combine client entertainment with a 4am wake-up call. I land in time for a goodbye dinner with PepsiCo’s global chief marketing officer, who is moving on to a new challenge.
Wednesday is a day entirely dedicated to our clients, beginning with early calls to Asia and then Europe. As always, I wonder if New York is the best place for global headquarters considering the time difference with London, Moscow or Shanghai. Nissan is also in town for the auto show, which creates a great opportunity for meetings in the afternoon and a good catch-up at dinner – and after dinner – with its global chief marketing officer. Way too many dinners out – normally not good for my health or seeing my wife, but great opportunities to build solid, long-term relationships with people I value and respect immensely.
I stupidly forget to cancel my trainer, so Thursday begins with the shock of an intensive session after way too little sleep over the past few days. By 8am, I feel like I have been run over by a truck. I get to the office (late) for a meeting on our new operating system, Vision, which we are soft-launching internally this week. I am so caught up in this that I miss my next two meetings. I then spend the afternoon with
a team of incredibly bright and interesting people, judging our internal awards in preparation for Cannes and The Festival of Media.
Oddly enough, I end the day feeling more invigorated than when I started. After a quick dinner with one of our pitch teams to catch up on a large
global project we are working on, it’s finally time to head home. Is it my imagination, or do my cats seem happier to see me than my wife? Considering my travel schedule recently, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Friday is a holiday in our New York office and I take advantage of the
proximity to many tropical climates to escape from this endless East Coast winter and take, yes, another very early morning flight, but this time for pleasure. Sadly, my kids, who are at university in the UK, won’t join us this time, but at least they are coming to stay the following week.
All in all, a very typical week – many opportunities for discussions across geographies, product categories and business priorities; significant client challenges and opportunities; big focus on new business, but also on our offer and the quality of our work.
Mainardo de Nardis is the chief executive of OMD Worldwide
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