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
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
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
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.