I started reading Campaign when I was 14 years old and earnestly thinking about my future. I would enthusiastically pick up the latest issue from the local railway station newsagent and flick through the weekly on my way to school.
That was a time when the allure of advertising could easily captivate the same calibre of talent that’s now diverted towards jobs in investment banking, management consulting, the next indispensable digital start-up or an established technology titan.
It was a time when one agency’s extraordinary valuation gave it the audacity to attempt the failed acquisition of a publicly traded high-street bank, rather than just making do with winning an account with one. And, with a potential peak-time audience of about 25 million viewers, it was also a time when a career in commercials would be an honourable stepping stone to the bright lights and dizzy promise of Hollywood.
Campaign has survived the hysteria and navigated the industry’s new-found sobriety
Movies are a form of escapism for me. I, therefore, watch a lot of films. Given the volume and variety of cinematic stories I’ve encountered, it’s remarkable (and a metaphor) that my all-time favourite film, Gattaca, was written and directed by Andrew Niccol. He once worked at a London agency and was suitably praised in the pages of Campaign.
Likewise, AKQA’s wins and losses have been chronicled, making headline news on numerous occasions, from our founding as a consultancy to the acquisition contests fought by various suitors.
Any coverage always felt slightly surreal since it reminded me of my youth and, because our product is predominantly design, not advertising.
Today’s ad industry is unlike the one that persuaded me. Transformed in scope, ambition and vision by an era of unprecedented change, few agencies have made it this far – and fewer will make it much further.
Campaign has survived the hysteria and navigated the industry’s new-found sobriety. It has steadfastly stood by the trade during all its triumphs, tribulations and ongoing trials.
Shaping and curating, Campaign has championed the start-up and influenced the status quo. An ever-present voice that’s kindled and encouraged many conversations,
Campaign has provided an essential link between a creative profession and the people that will lead it.
Ajaz Ahmed is the founder of AKQA