Diary: Henry stunt helped to thaw out the Cold War

Three cheers for Harry Henry. At 88, the father of media research in Britain has just been given the Advertising Association's equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, the Mackintosh Medal. And the ceremony at London's Savoy Hotel has caused the memories of some industry veterans to go back to 1962 and a tale of how Henry, then the marketing director of the Thomson Organisation, helped drill the first tiny hole in the impenetrable Iron Curtain.

The Cold War was at its height and Roy Thomson wanted a spectacular stunt to mark the first birthday of his Sunday Times colour supplement. And what better than to act on a suggestion from Henry's department that a plane-load of Western tycoons should be flown to Moscow to meet their Communist counterparts.

Somehow, the indomitable Henry not only pulled it off but got the fat cats in to see the Soviet premier, Nikita Krushchev. Russell Braddon, in his biography of Thomson, described the event as "the very first sign of a thaw in what had been a very long Cold War". Beat that, Matthew Freud.


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