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Behind the Headlines with Strike Media's Wez Merchant

15 December 2015

Wez Merchant, founder and MD of Strike Media and Under The Influence Of, on how he knows when a campaign is succeeding, his days being known as Wendy and working on Aqualung’s Strange & Beautiful release.

Behind the Headlines with Strike Media's Wez Merchant

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already...
Put my contact lenses in – otherwise I’d never make it. I’ve also fed my baby, Willow (cat), fed the fish and fed myself some porridge, having hopefully not been rudely awakened by the dustman. Next comes the daily joy of getting a delayed train into London Bridge, and a hot chocolate, although that may go as I seek to lose a few lbs.

You’ll mostly find emails about...
Current projects, demands and the occasional link I have sent myself to read at a later date that I never get around to.

I know I’ve had a good day if...
I can leave the office on time and head home to relax. That’s if I’m not playing football or singing with my choir. Combining the two inevitably leads to injury of the shins and vocal chords so I try to keep them separate.

My first job was...
Working at a pub in the village where I grew up in Essex. I started out as a pot washer at 13 and progressed through the ranks to become bar manager by the time I left school at 18. Ever the entrepreneur I always had a few small businesses on the side – washing cars, cutting grass and selling my parents vegetables down the bottom of the drive to name but a few.

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when...
A client is happy and I’m content that my all has been put into it.

I eat...when nobody is watching.
Plastic. I own many a chewed pen.

The first time I pitched to a journalist...
Was for the release of Aqualung’s Strange & Beautiful single that was on THAT VW Beetle advert. Awesome single and awesome album. Still have my signed t-shirt and album by Matt Hales.

The worst thing anyone has said to me is...
That the balance disorder I have been suffering with for the past 30 months would take a long time to revert back to normal. It has been something which has made me take stock of a lot of things in my life and actively do more things that I love so maybe it wasn’t the worst thing in that regard.

Being called Wendy by a lecturer reading out names in my first year of university wasn’t the greatest thing. Wesley couldn’t have been that difficult to read back in the late 90s and Specsavers would have saved me from the ignominy of being called Wendy by my friends and random students for the next nine torrid months!

The last book I read was...
Us by David Nicholls. Witty, sweet, sad and a good take on the inner chatter of the head in a relationship.

I’ve never really understood why...
Everyone queues up to get into The Breakfast Club. Obviously I’m willing for them to invite me for a free meal in order to show me why.

If I could go back and talk to my 10-year-old self, I’d say...
Get involved in everything and have fun. I’d also tell him to make sure my 21-year old self doesn’t smoke that first cigarette.

This time next year, I’ll be...
Cramming everything in in the build-up to Christmas and wondering where the year has gone. Again!

Fancy featuring in a Behind the Headlines interview? Please email richard.odonnell@gorkana.com.