Senior Traffic Manager
There’s no rest for the wicked, especially if you coordinate the traffic for the McDonald’s account at Leo Burnett. Simon Keyworth is sitting hunched at his desk on a typically manic Tuesday morning wondering which fire to put out first. He resolves to let them simmer for a while and talk about his experiences of working in the traffic department at Leo Burnett.
Simon’s route into advertising is not typical. Over a decade ago, he was grafting in the numbing cold of London’s building sites working as a brick layer. He couldn’t wait to leave school at 16 and found the first job that paid well. Understandably, it was not a particularly happy experience. “I was absolutely sick of working in the cold,” he says. “It was like ground hog day everyday, same thing over and over, it might have paid well, but I had to find something different, and I did.”
A speculative trip to the job centre earned Simon a junior role as a runner at a graphics company which often involved delivering work to advertising companies. By force of his gregarious personality, Simon soon got to know people working in traffic departments across London. He had decided by this stage that’s where he wanted to work and often asked whether there was a junior position coming up, soon one did come up. After four years working at various agencies, Simon worked his way up to a senior traffic manager.
A burning question remains, what exactly do traffic do? Simon smiles. “I would say quite simply, that we are the glue that hold the departments together. We have to know what’s going on, where and when. And then we have to deliver this knowledge to the right people at the right time. The traffic department ensures the smooth running of each and every job. We make sure timings are met, budgets are adhered to, and always with a smile on our faces. In a way, we make sure everything happens from briefings to shoots to final production. You’re seeing an idea from start to finish, and it’s great to be one of the cogs that gets that machine going.”
Simon’s desk reflects his life. It is littered with timing plans, West Ham memorabilia and pictures of his two year old son Archie. He loves life at Leo Burnett and is looking forward to many more years working there. “The special things that make Leo Burnett what it is are quite simple, there are the people you work with, the way you get treated and the work you get to do, it’s simple really.”