Habits: Geoff Day, director of comms, Mercedes-Benz

Geoff Day, director of comms with Mercedes-Benz, talks to PRWeek about his superb alarm clock and mentor Sir Martin Gilliat.

Morning ritual: I have the best alarm clock in the world: Magic, my chocolate lab. We start each day by heading out for a walk on the Upper West Side and then it's Blackberry time, when I deal with e-mails that need a response – he's not so good at those.

Required reading: The New York Times, Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz internal news clippings, and, of course, TMZ.com.

Proudest career achievement: Having put together the finest PR team in the automotive business, one that helped make Mercedes-Benz the number-one covered and respected luxury automotive brand by the US media in 2009 (according to independent research).

Most regrettable career moment: Not inventing the iPhone.

First PR job: I was press officer for Margaret Thatcher at No. 10 Downing Street.

Best career advice you've ever given: You should never explain to people how a watch works when your job is to tell them the time.

Favorite city to travel on business: Paris. It's an absolutely beautiful city, it has the most amazing food, I can actually get by with my schoolboy French, and, of course, it hosts the most elegant auto show of the year.

Person to call when you're in a crisis: When a “crisis” occurs, it is usually my phone ringing with the person on the other end needing the PR team's help. So far I haven't needed to make such a call, but if I absolutely had to, I would reach out to my colleagues in Germany.

Mentor: Sir Martin Gilliat (former private secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother). He gave me the best piece of general advice I've ever received: “If people know how the magic lantern works, it isn't magic anymore, and your job, young man, is to make a visit from a member of the Royal Family the most magical experience it can be.”

Ideal job, if you were not working in PR: I'd be the host of The Tonight Show. Sorry Jay.

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