Video: Adman Nigel Marsh on his new book and possible US TV career

Former Y&R Brands CEO Nigel Marsh is pursuing a possible US television career with the former head writer of Friends working on a script based on his book, and a separate opportunity which would see him fronting a reality show.

Marsh found his career heading in a new direction after he wrote Fat, Forty and Fired about his experiences of finding himself out of work. And his business speaking career took off after giving a talk ad TEDx Sydney about work-life balance shortly before he left Y&R following a turbulent two year period at the helm.

In a video interview with Mumbrella editor Tim Burrowes to coincide with the launch of a new book, Marsh said that the TV projects – both at a very early stage – were among the options open to him:

Marsh, who also spent time at the helm of Leo Burnett, also did not rule out another return to the advertising industry if it was on his terms. However, comments in his new book Fit, Fifty and Fired Up about previous experiences suggest that it may not be his first choice. Some of his comments may trigger speculation about which of his previous employers – he also worked at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in London – he is talking about at various points in the book. Quotes:

“It wasn’t so much that there was anything wrong with the advertising industry, it was more that there wasn’t enough right with it.”

“By the time you’re forty it can get to the stage where every day you come to the office, a little bit of your soul dies.”

“I’d been privileged to work in and with many wonderful firms, but I’d also encountered more than my fair share of toxic workplaces that brought out the worst in people, with leaders who managed by fear or set their employees up to fail and made them feel bad when they did. I’d come across companies where suggesting telling the truth for a change was met with slack-jawed amazement. I’ve regularly seen racism, sexism, bullying, staggering selfishness, barely believable stupidity and rampant dishonesty throughout my business career.”

“Some of the most financially successful companies I’ve worked with have been the ones with the very worst cultures.”

“Like a prisoner in a cell, every evening before I left my office I ticked off another day on the 400-Day Plan chart I had drawn up.”


  1. anon
    30 Jul 12
    11:24 am

  2. nice post, thanks. The AIEF thing at the end seems like a very worthy cause, good plug Nigel.

  3. Kevin
    30 Jul 12
    12:18 pm

  4. Go, Nigel.
    Top bloke, wish him well.

  5. Kayla
    30 Jul 12
    12:49 pm

  6. Nice guy! Good take on how soul-destroying some business cultures are. Glad to see that he’s now getting joy from his skill set. All the best!

  7. Bec
    30 Jul 12
    1:06 pm

  8. Great interview and awesome guy. Had the pleasure of working with him for a couple of years and wish him the very best!

  9. nick williams
    30 Jul 12
    1:40 pm

  10. one of the good guys of the business – he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do.

    I’m sure the book will be a great read

  11. oh nigel
    30 Jul 12
    2:36 pm

  12. What a laugh of a guy. Did a bit of time at an agency he headed up. A good time and good learning experience.

    I think his ‘left’ hand turn on his journey of life , provides a nice inspiration for life after advertising. Let’s all be honest…….. we will all have one. Just look around how many plus 45 year olds are sitting around you…… Start planning folks it will happen and as someone fast approaching 45 time does fly by.

  13. steve s
    30 Jul 12
    8:21 pm

  14. Nigel is one of the best I’ve worked with in over 30 years and I’ve heard of the great work of AIEF as well they are a top notch outfit. good on you nigel I look forward to seeing those 7000 Indigenous kids shine