The Annual 2004: Your starter for tens

For me, nothing sums up the past 12 months better than the headline on the following page. From the shenanigans at Grey and the brief trajectory of Ben Mark Orlando to Ed Meyer's $286 million, the political twists and turns of the Unilever media pitch, the wobbles of the obesity debate, the compact newspaper revolution, dancing jellyfish and the sheer hell of the HSBC pitch, you most definitely couldn't make it up.

It's been one hell of a year and, as the hangovers set in and the turkey beckons, what better way to slip quietly into the Christmas fug than by reliving every ecstatic high and toe-curling low as seen through the weekly pages of Campaign.

Over the course of the following pages, you will find some serious stuff, with invaluable and stimulating round-ups of 2004 in key sectors of the market and handy facts and figures from across the board. Crucially, we have set out to champion and applaud some of the best work of the year and the biggest, brightest talents of the business - both the established and the rising stars.

But, heck, it's Christmas and this is our last issue of the year, so we've also had rather a lot of fun putting this Annual together. As usual we've been wholly partisan, shamelessly frivolous and sometimes rather silly (see 10 Best look-alikes). And if it seems on occasion that we've gone below the belt (see 10 Best quotes) or settled an old score or two (see 10 Best rumours), well then we probably have. All I can say is 2005 is as yet a virginal blank page. And you have been warned.

Merry Christmas.

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