THE KINGS OF MADISON AVENUE: Introduction

CAROLINE MARSHALL, EDITOR



It takes a few tours of duty for a Campaign journalist to adjust to the

battleground of New York advertising. The acres of oiled teak and plate

glass, the vertiginous views from the power offices, the vastness of the

budgets and salaries, the dollars 2 million Superbowl spots broadcast to

100 million viewers, the length of the limousines, the mega-brands, the

price of the best wine at Le Cirque. Even today, as worries about the

faltering US economy run like a thread through the business, it's all so

wonderfully excessive. No wonder we dubbed advertising's most powerful

figures the Kings of Madison Avenue.



This series of interviews has run in Campaign for more than three years.

It kicked off in 1998 with John Wren, who was then the new head of

Omnicom. Today there are 18 Kings - or rather 17 Kings and one Queen -

and most are New York-based. But any series on the personalities who are

the driving force behind advertising today would not be complete without

Maurice Levy, the Frenchman who has made Publicis a true player on the

global stage by buying Saatchi & Saatchi. Sir Martin Sorrell, the

founder and group chief executive of WPP, is in there too, taking the

rather less glamorous title of the King of Farm Street.



Each interview chronicles a career in advertising and provides insight

into the minds of the global figures that have led the agency business

through its mergers and acquisitions frenzy of recent years. The

subjects talk about their individual and professional philosophies, how

they achieved their success, their advisers and enemies, the importance

of both the client and the consumer to an agency and the future of the

business.



Consolidation has transformed the agency scene since this series began

and today Grey and Cordiant are tipped as the next networks to be sold

off. Mischievously perhaps, we have chosen to run the interviews

unedited.



So in these pages, Sorrell floats the notion of buying Young & Rubicam

(he did), Shelly Lazarus talks about losing Ford and her hopes for

winning it back (she did), Interpublic's John Dooner talks about his

'not to be denied' approach to business (he beat Havas to True North two

months ago) and TBWA's former CEO Mike Greenlees is to be found musing

on the messy politics behind his accession to the top job (he recently

stepped down).



Requests for a compilation of the interviews to date has been

overwhelming, so here it is, with Metro as its sponsor. Thanks to Mike

Anderson, of Associated Newspapers' much admired free newspaper, who

spotted the link between these global innovators and Metro's own success

as one of the really innovative media products at the turn of the

millennium.



MIKE ANDERSON IS THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF METRO



Since our launch in March 1999 we have been continually searching for a

deeper understanding of our audience. Sometimes what will seem a

difficult situation can force you to think about things in a different

way. Early on in Metro's short life, the market wrestled with a

positioning for our brand. A media buyer will always judge our value by

its lowest common denominator, and this is a worthy and appropriate

tactic for those of us with a buying efficiency brief. But the primary

uniqueness of Metro lies within the expression that we have come to call

the 'Metro Moment' - a morning media experience that lasts for most

consumers for 20 minutes. In an ever-fragmenting world, 20 minutes of

anyone's time is hugely valuable. As a media product, Metro is seen as

more than a newspaper. Indeed, one of the best descriptions of Metro is

Britain's biggest offline website, it just happens to manifest itself in

print.



In the consumers that engage in the 'Metro Moment' we are beginning to

define, by use of extensive qualitative research into 'Urbanites', an

audience that is truly understood more by where they live, what they

think, their aspirations, their attitudes to brands, to advertising and

to life. Urbanites are not about geography, hence we felt it appropriate

as part of our activity to champion this audience.



By supporting Campaign's coverage of individuals who work in our

community but don't live with us, we believe we can express that

Urbanites live in all the cities of the world. There is no doubt that

the Kings of Madison Avenue have been influential in shaping our

business. This is a damn good read about interesting Urbanite people who

are in our community of advertising.



Our recommendation to you is to find the time to have a 'Kings of

Madison Avenue' moment, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee

and enjoy an engaging read which will have you focused for a time. And

remember one thing, there is 'no other space like it' - enjoy.



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