Nothing is definite in this industry – a client can be won and lost in an instant. One moment a firm is top of the pile, the next it is languishing on the scrap heap. However, some faces remain the same within the industry year in, year out. Ever reliable. Firm fixtures on the media scene. But over the past year these well-known industry figures have begun to bow out, leaving the hard-bitten world of the media industry and taking a huge leap into the unknown. First up was Mark Gorman, managing director at 1576, who left last year to pursue other interests, then the announcement that sales stalwart Stephen Tait is emigrating to Australia to start a new life down under. Barbara Moyses has also thrown her hat into the ring and announced that she is leaving the industry at the end of the month to spend more time with her family.
But what does this mean for the industry, apart from the fact that it will be a far less colourful place when two of the most outgoing characters in the business leave in the summer?
The industry has had a shaky couple of years but now it is in the process of recovery. How will the news that probably the most revered expert in media and advertising in Scotland is to hang her hat up and gracefully bow out affect it?
Tait has worked with Moyses for the past decade – first encountering her years ago when he was Edinburgh sales manager for the Herald. “I remember thinking that she was the most formidable media buyer that I had ever come across when I first met her. She was knowledgeable and intimidating, especially for a young media sales manager, and negotiating with her was always a hard task.”
But, ever the professional, the relationship has endured its ups and downs over the past decade. For Tait, the memory of trying to get in to see Moyses will obviously stick long and hard in the memory. He comments: “The initial task when dealing with her was trying to set up an appointment as she always was so busy with her own clients. I think what she ultimately brought to the party, however, was the idea that we would have to grow up in this business. A level of professionalism that was also reflected in the work that Stuart Feather and Giles Brooksbank brought.”
“She has always been a very determined woman in what she puts her mind to,” comments Sara Maclean, who has known Moyses for the best part of ten years. “I know that some young sales execs will be grateful that she is leaving the industry, as they won’t have to deal with her and her tenacious streak any more, but the industry will really be a poorer place now that she has left.”
Maclean agrees with Tait that Moyses brought a new level to the business in Scotland and that will be her lasting legacy within the industry. She says: “She is such a professional in everything she does. I think even Giles and Stuart would admit that she really brought a great deal to the company when she joined Feathers. And they have to be credited for bringing this strong-willed, opinionated woman on and letting her have free rein of the business. But, while she might have been a tough cookie in the workplace, away from it is a woman who really enjoys life and having a good time. For example, we did a course on Reiki a wee while ago and had a great time. She enjoys the media industry, but obviously has taken the decision that she needs time out now, otherwise she might not have been able to do it as she enjoys the industry so very much. But the Scottish media and advertising industry is a poorer place because of it.
“She will be back though. She has too much experience and knowledge not to be back.”
Regional chief executive of the Incepta Group, Rob Morrice, has known Moyses for a number of years – both on a personal and professional level – and believes that it is a huge loss to the industry as a whole. He comments: “I can understand why she is leaving – she has always put everything into her career and, obviously, if she wanted to take a break she would have to cut back entirely, as she is the type to put in 80-hour weeks. The number of times we have arranged to go out and she has cancelled at the last minute. Well, it’s a lot. But seriously – she has added so much to this industry. She is the only person in media in Scotland who understands and thinks about the advertising side of things when she is working, and when it comes to clients thinking about advertising they will always speak to Barbara first before they make any decisions. She has given so much to Feathers over the years as well that it really is a great loss to the advertising industry.”
“Barbara gave me my first job in the media industry, at Barbara Moyses CIA, and it was me, Paul Elborn and Barbara in one little office in Edinburgh,” says Gillian Cairney, client services director at Feather Brooksbank.
“I remember cowering in the office when she would let rip at media owners. But that is what she’s like and I think there are a lot of people in this industry who have a lot of respect for her because of that. She really has provided me with so much information and insight into this industry, as she knows and understands it so well. I can’t see her being out of the industry for a while though. She just won’t be able to resist it.”
As she bows out, there is a common feeling that this won’t be the last the industry has seen of Moyses. Rob Morrice, however, does believe that her latest move will keep her busy in the meantime. He comments: “She will have her hands full, as I think Paul Elborn [her husband] really does take a lot of looking after. She’ll have her job cut out with that one!”