CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE - Only the fittest will win in the battle for global supremacy

Any complaints? Call Caroline Marshall, the new editor of Campaign, or Claire Beale, the new deputy editor. Me? Having worked myself out of a job by hiring staff more capable than myself, I’ve gone global (luv), and will test my own theory that global is no longer for the pensioned-off, but meaningful, stimulating and where it’s at. My thanks to the excellent, experienced and fun team at Campaign for making my stint as editor so enjoyable, and all readers everywhere for bothering. However, I’ll still be writing in this space every week - with a more international brief.

Any complaints? Call Caroline Marshall, the new editor of Campaign,

or Claire Beale, the new deputy editor. Me? Having worked myself out of

a job by hiring staff more capable than myself, I’ve gone global (luv),

and will test my own theory that global is no longer for the

pensioned-off, but meaningful, stimulating and where it’s at. My thanks

to the excellent, experienced and fun team at Campaign for making my

stint as editor so enjoyable, and all readers everywhere for bothering.

However, I’ll still be writing in this space every week - with a more

international brief.



Upon succeeding Dominic Mills, I remember saying something about wanting

to help the industry to ’shrug off its suffocating nostalgia’ and be

less insular. In the week of the AOL/Time Warner merger, it’s almost

banal to observe that the industry has been transformed since 1996. Big

changes in that relatively short space of time include - obviously - the

coming of interactive media and the digital revolution; the direct and

media communities forcing their way to the heart of the industry; the

astonishing proliferation of media owner outlets, which has helped fuel

the rise of media planning; belated recognition of the need to take

demonstrating effectiveness seriously; the emergence of Sir Martin

Sorrell as a real industry leader; M&C Saatchi, St Luke’s and Trevor

Beattie; the Asian recession, the incredible, continuing Wall Street

bull market and snowballing global consolidation which has meant the

re-establishment of US business supremacy (witness AOL/Time Warner).



The result is a UK industry that is, arguably, more professional and

better-run than ever before, but curiously lacking in

self-confidence.



This is partly because of that painful nostalgia obsession which

persists, although diminished, and partly because of the unsettling hype

whirlwind that surrounds new media. The ad industry still has a need to

put aside individual rivalries, and shout its achievements loud and

proud.



As for whether it’s as much fun as it used to be, to quote Mr Beattie,

’land on your own moon’. It’s probably fun at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO,

M&C Saatchi, WCRS, HHCL, New PHD, Yahoo!, Freeserve and OK! (I was going

to write the Daily Mail, but then it’s never fun at the Daily Mail,

despite its success).



Is it as good as it used to be? Of course it is. The truth is that

probably there will not be as many candidates for our Hall of Fame this

year as there were in 1975, but there will be fewer absolute turkeys.

There are greater pressures today, and - let’s be honest - clients are

wiser, less in control and more insecure. But it’s a bit like comparing

David Beckham’s fitness levels with those of George Best. The game has

moved on; it’s global and more competitive. Only the fittest will

survive - and that means getting our heads around Steve Case.



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