CAMPAIGN DIRECT: ON THE RECORD - Edward Lazarus tells Meg Carter why working at the Reader’s Digest isn’t half as dull as it might sound

What do you do?

What do you do?

I am responsible for media planning and buying for direct response

campaigns for the growing range of Reader’s Digest products, from books

to music and video although excluding the magazine. Our main aim is to

recruit new names to the Digest as cost efficiently as we can.

How did you get to where you are today?

I joined the company eight years ago from Meridien Computers (aka United

Leasing) where I was UK manager for its marketing intelligence


I came up through the music product group, where I was responsible for

media planning. I switched roles when the market development department

was set up 18 months ago.

Who (or what) are you competing against?

Outdated perceptions of the Digest brand. We are trying to move our

customer profile down in age and are working to ensure consumers see us

as a company with an awful lot of products to offer people - it’s not

just about one magazine.

Name your best campaign?

A healthy eating campaign for the Foods that Harm and Foods that Heal

book. I’m also proud of my first ad for Know Your Rights. I scripted and

shot it.

What gives you greatest job satisfaction?

At the moment, working in DRTV. We were one of the earliest into the

market and it still offers significant creative scope. I’ve made four

commercials in the past year and am working on another three.

What’s the biggest pain about your job?

Things can be chaotic - but it’s a challenge. Being 100 per cent right

is the Reader’s Digest way.

What do you read?

The Independent (I’m still getting used to the new design) and the

marketing press. I take a different Sunday paper each week for the sake

of variety.

Have you ever responded to a direct response ad?

Only in connection with comparative tracking.

Which agencies do you work with on a regular basis?

For TV buying, OgilvyOne; for press buying, Prager & Partners; for press

creative, Broadway; for creative and planning for inserts, Colleagues;

for TV production, Space City; and for radio buying, Upward Jamie


Who (or what) do you most admire?

I’m impressed by what Tesco has achieved in recent years, turning itself

from a downmarket brand into one that’s modern and customer-focused.

What’s next for your department?

To increase our coverage of different products and work towards ever

greater integration in our approach.

If you could have any job, what would it be?

A TV producer. Or Steven Spielberg’s job.

Edward Lazarus

Occupation deputy manager, market development, Reader’s Digest

Age 32

Lazarus recently won a silver in the direct marketer of the year

category at the UK Direct awards in Jersey for his DRTV work for

Reader’s Digest. His is, he claims, a labour of love