Next in our LEAP interview series, we introduce Senior Project Manager, Matt Walker. Matt heads the team of project managers who handle the press and static OOH (out of home) advertising production at LEAP London’s production hub, ensuring the smooth running of the advertising production process for our clients.
Can you tell us about who you are and what you do?
Project managers are our client’s first point of contact for the daily production of their advertising campaigns. We liaise with the production team to ensure that the client’s brief is followed and that the work is completed within the timescale and budget. We also have to keep up a constant dialogue with publishers and site owners to ensure that all the projects are delivered to the correct specifications and deadline requirements.
The project management team performs a pivotal role in the production process, from the receipt of the client brief, through production, approval and, finally, delivery. Then, we consolidate all costs to match the estimate and pass the information onto accounts.
How did you get into the advertising industry and what led you to where you are now?
My first job was a bank clerk, but I found the constraints of working 9 to 5 very boring. I was offered an apprenticeship as a planner/platemaker at a small graphics company. I became a journeyman and worked there for 11 years.
When the trade started to go digital and bench planning was becoming a lost art, I was offered a position as contact at a reprographics company, where I eventually became deputy to the production director. After 13 years, I joined LEAP. For the first five years, I worked as a production manager in various LEAP managed studios located at our clients’ premises. For the past six years, I have been based at the LEAP London production hub.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I find that no two days are the same, with great variety in the projects we handle and the people we talk to. We are fortunate to be able to meet a lot of our clients out of office hours and get together socially. We don’t feel as though they are clients, but more like friends that we work with! It’s also great to see a project that you have put a lot of hours into, published or displayed up on a board in a train station!
What project have you especially enjoyed working on?
We’ve recently completed a campaign for the launch of a new product. The client invited us to become involved early in the process, sharing their creative concepts and working with us, using our skills and experience. Delivery went right down to the last hour but seeing the Metro cover wrap the next morning was very satisfying, and I felt like handing out all the copies to my fellow commuters!
What’s your favourite ad and why?
Over the years as a viewer, I’ve had lots of favourites, from the Kia Ora (I’ll be your dog) of my childhood to the golfer smoking his Hamlet cigar in the bunker, but I’ve always waited for the next Guinness ad to be released, and the Surfer ad is my favourite.
Do you have any hidden talents?
My passion has always been rugby, but unfortunately, when I was a young man, I was paralysed from the waist down. After a couple of operations, I got back most of the feeling, except for in my lower left leg. The doctors told me to forget my love of sport and to take it easy. Since then, I’ve run a half marathon, cycled from London to Brighton, skied the Alps and sailed the Greek Islands. I coached a successful junior rugby team for several years and generally live life to the full! Basically, don’t tell me that something isn’t possible!
Who’s your inspiration?
How do you stay motivated?
I know that I’m not walking into the same thing that I did the day before, and I still love pointing out an ad that I’ve worked on to my kids!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?
Never say “No, we can’t do that!”, instead say “Let me find out a way and get back to you!”
Find out more about the people of LEAP in other interviews with members of our team.