The A List: Adland's favourite consumer magazine

By Pippa Considine, campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 14 December 2004 12:00AM

Those at the top of the ad industry like a satirical edge to their current affairs - but also enjoy indulging their love of luxury. The power of knowledge is important to the busy A Lister when he or she grabs some recreational reading from the newsstand. Clearly in a mood for skullduggery, they are most likely to buy a copy of Private Eye. The satirical magazine delivers all kinds of information on existing and potential clients.

It is also funny and quite thin, so it doesn't disturb the slimline aesthetic of the Blackberry-carrying reader.

Private Eye - with its long-running Ad Nauseam, Street of Shame and TV Eye sections - certainly delivers the goods as far as media is concerned.

The runner-up is the also controversial but slightly fatter Spectator (or The Speccie as it is known to regular readers). Edited by the colourful Boris Johnson, its words of wisdom and strong opinion inform adland and fuel intelligent conversation at media gatherings. There is also a very helpful half-page round-up of all - yes, all - the week's news, for those who don't indulge in The Week.

But plenty of A Listers do. It seems ad executives rarely read most of the papers every day. A shocking state of affairs, but easily remedied by a long Tube journey or a traffic jam in a cab accompanied by The Week.

This handy magazine not only sums up national and international news, arts, gossip, sport and science but throws in some observation and keeps you up to date with the week's goings on in The Archers.

Interestingly, there seems to be some confusion about what constitutes work and what makes for pleasure. Looking at how the A Listers voted for their favourite business magazine, we see that both The Week and The Spectator feature in the more serious category. The smaller number of people who consider them to be business magazines may, questionably, be reading them on company time, while those who pick up them up for personal entertainment could, perhaps, take a quick look at their work/life balance.

However, having been persuaded by some of our charming A Listers that they study current affairs earnestly each week, we quickly move on to the serious stuff. The seven other top ten magazines show us the fluffier and aspirational side to our media luminaries (we knew they had it in them). To begin with, three of the top ten favourites all come from the unmistakably glossy house of Conde Nast.

Conde Nast Traveller is almost as popular as The Week and The Spectator.

There are swathes of luxury goods advertising to satisfy professional interest. Surely, all advertising executives owe it to their image, if nothing else, to spend a bit of spare time getting an unrivalled lowdown on the most exclusive and expensive destinations in the world. There are also helpful hints on the best restaurants and hotels for the pack of international A Listers who need to keep a little black book for entertaining, and useful lessons on such things as how to get an upgrade for those still being fobbed off with economy-class seats.

Vanity Fair is up there with double-digit votes. It offers a heady mix of power and celebrity - and a distinctly American point of view. The magazine is, of course, a US icon and if you are going to read one American glossy, then Vanity Fair it has to be. It makes sense to take in some serious and expensive investigative journalism and to know which of Hollywood's finest share your horoscope.

It is reassuring to note that, among the also-rans in the list, are the fashion bible Vogue and the music aficionado's favourite, Q. So a few Chanel suits and Jimmy Choos may be creeping into the upper echelons of WPP or Omnicom, just as the ad boys are hanging on to their passion for rock ' n' roll.

Others are not afraid to have the design lover's favourite Wallpaper on their sleek, Italian coffee tables. The magazine is another read for those aspiring to international style.

The several mentions of Time Out suggest that at least some advertising folk don't head straight home after work with a copy of Private Eye tucked under their arm. Perhaps they are bypassing the classifieds and taking a colleague out on the town. This leaves the readers of Country Life to sit at home on their Conran sofas, deciding just which of those lovely houses in the provinces would make the ideal rural retreat.

Position Title Votes

1 Private Eye 32

2 The Spectator 24

3 The Week 22

4 Conde Nast Traveller 20

5 Vanity Fair 17

6 Vogue 7

7 Q 6

8= Time Out 5

8= Wallpaper 5

10 Country Life 4

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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