Exclusive interview with Marian Salzman, “creator” of the term metrosexual


We all know the term metrosexual, but how do these trends become popularised and a part of the everyday British lexicon?  One reason:  Marian Salzman, a American colleague of mine, and a pioneer of opinion-forming and trend spotting.

Don’t take my word for it.  She’s been pretty much on every news channel known to man:

You may not realize it, but Marian Salzman has already had a major influence on your life. … Salzman is a charismatic power blonde (think Carrie Bradshaw mixed with Hillary Clinton). —The Observer (U.K.)

A one-stop oracle, it is her job to predict the social trends—and thus marketing opportunities for her clients—just around the corner. —Sky.com

Marian Salzman has recently been appointed President, Public Relations, North America, Euro RSCG Worldwide.  A company she is rejoining after a short hiatus to pursue her own professional objectives.  I think she holds a legendary status within our company, so I asked her to take time out to answer a few questions for me and these are her responses.

1- Everyone knows the word Metrosexual, but not everyone knows that you coined the term (or at least I think you did)  How did this come about?

I didn’t coin the term, Mark Simpson did. But I found it via Matt Donovan, a Euro colleague, based in Sydney. He popped it off to me- an article from the Wellington, NZ newspaper- that featured the word, and I took it and ran with it, and popularized it.

2- What work are you most proud of?

Proudest of the global Tweetup I just sorted for Pepsico, probably the first big corporate meeting on Twitter (held April 1st). Second most Tweeted event that day – all the corporate walls fell down virtually. Or maybe of the “It’s Like This” spots I co-created for Pepsi almost 20 years ago – with real teens. Or Esprit’s What Would You Do? Again real people. Notice reality is a big theme for my pride.

3- What is the difference between media in the UK and the US?

The media in the UK is more cynical and literary and more likely to take the piss out, but also more likely to spend the time to write a story, in part because there is more newspaper space or it feels that way, at least at the national and urban level. In terms of broadcast, US media is more chatty, you have to be Carrie Bradshaw as guest to be invited back; in UK they’d prefer Arianna Huffington (JC: co-founder of the Huffington Post) versus fluff.

4- Are you more creative or strategic?

I am more creative, with a very manipulative eye – that is I create solutions and zero in on the best and easiest way to succeed. I love easy. And I have a sixth sense on what will win. But I am not strategic like a brilliant account planner.

5 – What is the future for PR?

Future of PR is rosy if PR people get bigger balls and stop speaking in corporate jargon and start talking in real speak. We need to be smart risk-takers and straight shooters and fight for our share of the marketing and public affairs budgets.

6 – Have you ever been to the North of England?  What do you know about the City of Manchester?

Not only have I been there, I spent 4-5 summers living in Minworth, outside of Birmingham. Stop laughing, I can still remember the smell of the HP sauce.  And I flew in an out of Manchester Airport more than once (first time overseas was on a BOAC flight to Manchester from JFK in the 1970s and I landed and couldn’t understand a word).

[This was the first in an occasional series of interviews with major influences in my professional and personal life.]

((tag: PR, Marketing, Media, News, Marian Salzman, Euro RSCG, )).


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