How Far Do You Go For the Sale? Literally

Posted by Marc Mallett on October 9th, 2012 at 10:45 am

Using some of my commuting time on the Metro North I started thinking about how far I actually travel in a year in the pursuit of digital advertising budgets in the New York market.  I decided to focus solely on New York instead of factoring Boston, Atlanta and Chicago trips into the equation.  It’s a little staggering how much we physically travel around the city meeting with agencies, entertaining, etc.

But before we start, a disclaimer: I’m not a mathematician and these are truly back-of-the-napkin calculations.

Walking: A lot of us rely on the oldest form of human transportation to get to many of our meetings. Whether from a subway stop, office, or moving from agency to agency (the 3 blocks from MEC to Mediavest anyone?) it’s often the easiest, most efficient and (in the summer) sweat-inducing way to get from point A to point B.  Rather than estimate how often, distance between, etc., I’m going to estimate the amount of time per week and work backwards. The average person walks at 3.1 mph -- average new Yorker, closer to 4.5 – but lights, angry cabbies, groups of tourists waiting for Letterman (Mediavest again), and the humanity surge around Harold Square (UM) bring it down closer to 3 mph.  Including to and from the train, I walk about 3 hours a week on average. At 3 mph that’s an estimated 9 miles per week.

Cabs:  Despite the smells, weak AC in the summer, dampness in the winter and the fact you’re often jumping into the car of someone who thinks Manhattan is an aggressive driving video game, we all use them (except for my friends at Tremor). I quickly added up a month’s worth rides and it came out to approximately 17 miles.  Using that as a benchmark, I’m looking at approximately 204 miles in a cab per year.

Elevators:  I’m not sure about you, but I rarely give stepping into an elevator a second thought. When you step back and think about how often (and essential) elevators come into our day to day, well, check it out:

The Lobbies of the major digital agencies in New York:

  • OMD:                  24th floor
  • Mediacom:          24th
  • Mediavest:          14th
  • Zenith                 10th
  • PHD:                   7th
  • UM:                    7th
  • Horizon               6th
  • MEC:                  6th
  • Initiative:             5th
  • Digitas:               4th

Average story of a New York City office building: 11 feet

I’m pulled to each of these agencies by my team not necessarily on a weekly basis, but often enough that I usually hit 6 to 8 of them a week, some of them twice. Math warning: The average floor of the agencies above is 11.  Factor in going up and down (22 floors) then multiply by 7 meetings (per week, total), and it equals 154 agency floors per week.  Taking into account our own office on the 16th (4 rides per day with lunch and meetings = 64 floors) the total number of weekly floors covered and total feet are: 474 floors and 5,214 feet respectively.

Yearly breakdown – based on 50 work weeks (2 weeks vacation):

  • Walking:   450 miles
  • Cabs:        204 Miles
  • Elevators:  23,700 floors, 260,700 feet (at 5280 feet per mile, that’s 49.4 miles)

To put this in perspective

  • Walking:  This is the equivalent of walking from New York to Boston... and back (216 miles one way).
  • Cabs: Taking a Cab from New York to Baltimore with a couple miles to spare (192 miles).
  • Elevators:  And taking an elevator ride to the top of Mt Everest 8 times (29,280 feet), or laying it on its side and taking it to Norwalk CT

Talk about hustling for media budgets.


One Response to “How Far Do You Go For the Sale? Literally”

  1. Vinnie says:

    Mr Mallet,

    Try ad sales on the west coast, mostly in Los Angeles.
    Average sales rep will put 20,000 miles per year on the car! Not only is gas expensive,
    I had roughly $900 in parking fees last month. :-)

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