The A List: Introduction

What's the link between Sir Martin Sorrell, Mother's Robert Saville, Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest's Charles Vallance, The Independent's editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner, shoe fetishists and serial entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou? Answer: they are all to be found rubbing shoulders in these pages, alongside media buyers, magazine editors, academics and directors.

The Campaign staff who chose this powerful and inspiring bunch for inclusion in the second A List have a tough task. Some entrants - such as agency CEOs - are chosen automatically, others as a result of their achievements in 2004. That is where things get tricky. There have been begging notes from people desperate to get, or stay, in. Others have organised letter-writing campaigns to get friends or colleagues included. Although an entry is considered the ultimate accolade by many, a few others - such as Chris Ingram - have done their best to keep out.

Prominent among the entries are Grey's Ed Meyer, still the oldest at 77, and Espotting Media's co-founder Seb Bishop (the youngest at 30).

Of the 486 entrants in total this year, there are 407 men and 79 women.

For the record, the main criteria for inclusion is interest and influence in advertising, media and marketing. Entries in the book are written by the subjects, to a tight brief but with ample opportunity to demonstrate wit, conceit or - far more common, we are happy to report - self-depreciation.

The lowdowns are written by Campaign staff.

Thanks to our sponsor, Stolkin + Partners, which once again encouraged us while playing no part in selecting names for this year's A List. Finally, congratulations to everyone included. We hope you enjoy the new recreation of saying to information seekers: "Oh, look me up in The A List."

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