J. Walter Thompson's Bob Merlotti found himself vacationing with some fast company earlier this month. While on a 10-day Asian tour, Merlotti twice ran into media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
The group creative director first caught sight of the Australian in a gym in Hong Kong. Murdoch seemed more interested in business than exercise.
"I'm on vacation, but he's on the cell phone," Merlotti said. "I guess this is what captains of industry do."
Heading home to Chicago, Merlotti and Murdoch were on the same flight on Cathay Pacific. When they exited the plane, Merlotti--who says he was "loopy with lack of sleep and bad pizza"--approached Murdoch to say, "I'm a fan."
Merlotti, who denies any true admiration for Murdoch, wants to make one point clear: "I was not stalking him. He was stalking me."
Perhaps the creative on the Miller Brewing account should have used the Murdoch encounters to brush up on his Aussie vocabulary. With the new Foster's assignment, Merlotti is going to need more than just "G'day mate."