Raoul Shah: My Life In Media

'If I didn't work in media, I'd like to open a shop that sells one-offs, and becomes a Friends-style bar in the evenings'
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What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I fell into it, really. I love people and the impact you can make by putting the right people together. I guess I was creating my own media "word of mouth" network before it got labelled.

When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

My parents read The Sunday Times and London Evening Standard, but I only read the music reviews. I was reading Blitz, The Face and i-D at the time.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I grew up watching Tiswas and taping the Top 40 on Radio 1. Then I graduated to The Tube and John Peel. I still have the tapes.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

I read Metro every day on the way to work, and then, online, Guardian Unlimited, Urban Junkies and WGSN (news for the fashion and style industries).

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I'll get a recap of all the key news affecting our business, clients and consumers via the team at Exposure. I always check Fast Company's Fast Take section to help me to think beyond the everyday.

What is the best thing about your job?

There are lots. But I'd say the variety of people, the fact that our business environment changes so quickly, the freedom that we have to do what we want as an independent agency, and the satisfaction of hearing clients say "Yes".

And the worst?

Time-wasting. You can spend hours on a project and then be told that the brief has changed. Time is our most precious commodity and I'd love to have more of it. I wish I could create something to give us an extra hour in the day.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Having Exposure London, Exposure LA and Exposure NY on my speed dial. Or the fact that the business now manages over £20m worth of marketing budgets dedicated to non-traditional communications. Plus the responsibility we have for clients such as Levi's Europe, Coca-Cola and Sony PlayStation.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

When I took the basketball player Dennis Rodman to Quo Vadis for dinner. He ordered the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu, and when I was asked to provide a credit card, mine only had a limit of £2,000.

At home, what do you tune into?

If I'm not listening to my own record collection, I like Xfm and the National Geographic channel. There's a lot more out there that I want to discover and learn about. Children's books have reminded me about spontaneity and having fun.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Observer and The Sunday Times Business and Motoring sections. Otherwise, my favourite magazines are Fast Company, National Geographic and The Independent Magazine.

Name one career ambition that you would like to realise before you retire

We once created a media property for Levi's called Mined (which is denim spelt backwards) that went on to win a D&AD award. I would love to create another, more commercial property for a brand that also happens to have a massive international reach.

If you didn't work in the media, what would you like to do?

I'd really like to open a shop that sells one-off products, and that becomes a Friends-type bar in the evenings.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Anyone who has been brave enough to start something on their own and stick with it.

The CV

1993 Launches Exposure, one of the first agencies to combine PR, product placement, brand collaborations and media events. Secures Converse as his first client

1997 Restructures the company to encompass new forms of integrated marketing and brand experience

1999 Wins Levi's® Europe presence & publicity account, launching the Levi's® Engineered Jeans® brand to the UK and European media

2001 With Mark Blenkinsop creates Exposure Design & Digital. Clients including Nike and Rizla

2002 Places the Dr Martens God Save the Queen parka on Kate Moss, resulting in big feature in i-D

2003 Aligns existing client, Coca-Cola, with designer Matthew Williamson to create the Summertime Bottlewrap - generating £2.4m worth of global coverage

2005 Responsibilities extend to overseeing international expansion, focusing on LA and New York offices

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