Mindshare UK COO Paul Rowlinson speaks to Media Week about his ‘Media Week’

Mindshare's COO, Paul Rowlinson talks next steps for outdoor with Kinetic, watches the footie with TalkSport and swaps programmatic views with the Guardian's Pemsel, in a week that confirms it's the people that make media.


"Do I have to?" I ask Louise Richardson, our head of marketing at Mindshare. "I mean, no-one's going to be interested. I'm going to have to make stuff up."

I'm not overly enamoured with the prospect of this piece, since my days go much like this: 6am wake up, walk dogs. Run/cycle to work. Flick through Metro if on train. Breakfast at desk at 8am with, meetings, lunch at desk with, and Meetings.

At 7pm run/cycle home to Wimbledon, flick through the Evening Standard if on train, fuss over dogs, chat to family, eat tea watching telly (live sport, Skysports News, news /comedy/documentary). Check Facebook. 11pm bed. Repeat four times.

So, I’m not a voracious consumer of media, a regular "luncher" or a "media luvee". I DO love working in media though, especially at Mindshare (since 2004) because it's always changing and, more importantly, it's full of good people. For example, it’s thanks to media people's generosity that since 2007, I've been able to raise over £40,000 for a children’s hospice, and it's people that help make media weeks enjoyable. None more so than the coming week, as it turns out….

My first appearance at the IPA Media Futures Group, and a chance to discuss a wide range of topics with the likes of Steve Parker, Tom George and old chum Tim Neligan whom I've known since 7 December 1995 (my first day in media at IDK).

I admire "Nellie" a lot and always like seeing him. He's a smart operator and a true gentleman. It was Geoff Russell’s final meeting; he'll be missed, but it looks in safe hands with Nigel Gwilliam taking over.


A typical day, as above outline, until Outdoor Fitness Magazine call to confirm that March issue has a feature on me and Luke Carmichael competing in last year’s Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (a 105-mile non-stop mountain running race) and our climb to the summit a few days later. Good news!


A great start to the day. I spot an IPA Creative Partners ad featuring Mindshare apprentice Billy Lumm in Metro. I'm very proud of Mindshare's involvement in this, and it's great to read Billy's words: "My role at Mindshare has really opened my eyes ….. my apprenticeship continues to open doors and impress".

Well, Billy continues to impress us, and he's proof that talent doesn't have to come via university. Take Mark Collins, rightly acknowledged as the best negotiator in the business. I've been lucky to work closely with Mark since 2006 – he's frighteningly smart and sees things that pass the rest of us by. Mark started in the post room of an ad agency. QED.

Unusually, I take an hour for lunch with Kinetic's Stuart Taylor and John Davidson, discussing the OOH market over ham, egg and chips and a Guinness. I love OOH's appetite to invent and create impact – Tim Bleakley’s Ocean Outdoor is doing great work for example – and there's so much potential, especially with mobile. More cooperation is needed between media owners though to deliver what clients want.

After that little rant and an afternoon of meetings, I squeeze in 10km with the Mindshare Running Club, before joining Talksport's Calum Macaulay, Adam Mills and 200 others to watch England vs Denmark at Rileys Bar.

A few weeks ago, Calum had arranged for Stuart Pearce to come to talk about motivation and leadership at one of our Mindshare Inspiration Talks. Colin Murray hosted and I got the chance to talk to both. Top blokes. They are at Rileys to do the half-time chat and prize draw. I am second  out! I collect my prize from Colin and Stuart to a chorus of boos (and am described, somewhat erroneously, as a "big boss") and am well chuffed when Colin exclaimed "Oh! Not YOU again!" In the words of Kenneth Williams: "Infamy, infamy…….. they’ve all got it infamy".

Chatting with Colin it emerges that his wife, a classical pianist, played on one of my favourite pieces of music, the beautiful Clint Mansell soundtrack to Duncan Jones’s brilliant movie, "Moon". In my view a masterpiece, with a tour de force performance from Sam Rockwell, it’s a film that questions the essence of what it is to be human. Colin and I get stuck into that topic for a few minutes. Quite a multi-faceted evening.


Off to see the MD of Nestle UK Food and Beverages, Bernard Paternot, a charming Frenchman with a passion for rugby and coffee and refreshingly forthright views on the value of "digital" media.

In the evening, I attend the ITV World Cup event where I catch up briefly with old mate Kelly Williams (we met on day one at Birmingham University, 28 years ago) and a host of other familiar faces. Loads of football legends are there, including Lee Dixon who provides the analysis for ITV, and who I'm lucky enough to chat with over dinner – a genuinely good bloke. He's knowledgeable about the game and with an intelligent view on life beyond it, despite being a former Gooner! A cracking night.


I rarely lunch on a Friday these days. The afternoon is a great time to tie up the week's loose ends, and I like to run the full 11 miles home on a Friday evening, so avoid lunchtime drinking.

I do, though, get to spend an hour discussing organisational change over a tea with GNM's David Pemsel, swapping ideas around the dichotomy of custom solutions and "programmatic trading", agreeing on the need for both, the changes needed in the publishing market and most importantly, cycling. It's another perk of the job that I get the chance to listen to interesting people prepared to share their views and experiences.

I set off on the run home in spring sunshine with a head buzzing full of ideas. A nice way to end a memorable week.

Age: 46 
Favourite media: Cinema, because it's a rare luxury
My biggest inspiration: My family, my friends, Ernest Shackleton, Kilian Jornet
Dream job: Feature writer for Outdoor Fitness, on the basis that I must do all the survival courses, races etc before I can write about them 
Not a lot of people know this about me... Before coming into media I studied for an MSc in environmental management and worked on a project for the World Health Organisation on environmental contaminants in the UK diet