20 Questions with Jimmy Murphy, Publicis

After a brief stint as a cheesemonger, Jimmy Murphy worked as an account handler in several ad agencies before starting his own shop, The Hive, which was acquired by Publicis in 2011. He’s an executive board director, co-owner and client lead at Publicis. He does most of the agency business development and a lot of strategy for clients. He is a former chair of the Marketing Society and president of IAPI.

01 What was your earliest ambition?

Striker for AC Milan or F1 racing driver. Neither quite worked out 

02 It’s our round. What are you having?

Heineken, of course. On draft, in a pub, in the West, with some insubstantial Tayto on the side

03 Social media platform of choice?

I’ve a love/hate relationship with all social media

04 A mentor or someone that inspired you?

Brian Ross. The account man’s account man

05 If you could be born into another time and place, where and when would it be?

Africa’s Savanna before the Europeans arrived. It must have been spectacular

06 Favourite writers?

I’ve been reading pandemic books. So, Roth’s heartbreaking Nemesis and García Márquez’s fantastic and hilarious in places Love in the Time of Cholera

07 A film you’d watch again tonight?

Jerry Maguire. I empathise. Agencyland can be an “up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing seige”, but it’s never dull

08 Is there an unsung hero you’d like to thank?

The missus. She does stuff and doesn’t talk about it. The exact opposite of me 

09 Something that no longer happens that you miss?

We’re just left 2020 behind. Where do I start?

10 Desert island pet: Dog or cat?

Two dogs

11 Favourite ad?

The Nike Kaepernick Instagram post. The balls on that client!

12 Are you an early adopter? What’s new?

Design. It’s not new but the world is finally waking up to its power and it’ll become the defining differentiator and value creator of our time

13 A brand to which you feel some loyalty?

Betway, Davy, Flogas, Heineken, HSE, Iarnród Éireann and Virgin Media. They keep the lights on

14 Someone you might be starstruck to meet?

Marco Van Basten. See Q01

15 Something that recently brought a tear to your eye?

We lost Shackleton, our family cat of 15 years, shortly before Christmas. Wife and kids were inconsolable and that’s what set me off

16 Something that recently got your goat?

There’s too much outrage right now. No need to feed the fire

17 What would be your fantasy act of heroism?

I’d regulate social media

18 You’ve won the Euromillions and disappeared. Where might we find you?                 

 Jumping on a bed in the Hotel de Crillon Marie Antoinette Suite with a bottle of 2012    Bollinger in hand. Let’s just say I’d know how to spend it

19 Someone or something that strikes you as beautiful?

I’m gonna say Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min’s dipping, curling shot around Arsenal goalie Bernd Leno at White Hart Lane recently. (Sorry Michael, I had to…)

20 ‘Here lies Jimmy Murphy’. Complete your epitaph…

“He was sound and really, really fit for an incredibly old guy”













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