The A List: Adland's favourite business magazine

The luminaries of the advertising world have confirmed they are a truly discerning bunch when it comes to their chosen business title. Ah, the wisdom and taste to be found among the advertising fraternity.

But who would have expected anything less than an overwhelming vote for that pinnacle of business publishing, Campaign.

Of course, there wasn't any strong-arming involved (honest). But there might have been just a little navel-gazing on the part of readers, as the A Listers check out the latest pictures of themselves in glorious colour.

Above all, however, we trust their confidence in the title is based upon a need to know - and a desire to be amused while finding out. It would be remiss not to mention one of Campaign's big attractions, the "problem page" from Jeremy Bullmore. Last year's A Listers cited him as a hero, just below Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.

Perhaps the same witty tone of voice cannot be found in the immediate runner-up. But there is little room for levity when The Economist is covering global crises, major industrial shifts and international political manoeuvrings.

It is a long time since an advertising executive needed to have "international" in their job title before they could deal with overseas affairs. The Economist is hardly a shortcut to acquiring that personal global aspect, with around 100 pages a week and words definitely taking precedence over pictures.

But if you can manage even a smattering of the carefully produced prose, you've got to be closer to that international boardroom.

Given that so many votes went to The Economist and, further down the list, Harvard Business Review, Fortune and Business Week, it appears that detaching yourself from little Britain and getting a bird's eye - or should that be an eagle eye? - view of the world is high up on the agenda. Or perhaps a large minority of A Listers now have Harvard Business School master's degree certificates displayed with pride in their smallest rooms.

However, advertising executives are gleaning much of their boardroom etiquette from the domestic pages of Management Today, which comes in third place.

Adland might think global, but it clearly needs to read local. Management Today offers practical advice for those businesspeople who generally find themselves based in the UK and looking for inspiration close to home. It must help that it frequently runs interviews with people from - and features about - companies that appear in A Listers' client lists or client hitlists. Management Today's popularity could also have something to do with the appearance (again) of Bullmore, who answers many of the concerns of the business community at large.

With the likes of Adam Crozier moving sideways out of adland and into other industries, it must also seem more important to take notes from - maybe even size up the jobs of - people who do not work in advertising.

No doubt Business Week and Fortune will have a few more examples of international success stories and a lot more Americans at the top. But perhaps that is why the A Listers like to delve into the pages of our home-grown management title more often.

The second half of the business magazine top ten is a tad confusing.

It seems that our well-informed voters are mixing business with pleasure.

The Week and The Spectator both get a mention but many on our panel thought these were consumer magazines. Hybrids, we'll call them. Certainly a flick through The Spectator and a cramming session with The Week will make you altogether better versed about the world for your client's trick question about current affairs.

Marketing is an honourable exception, with its obvious industry credentials.

Also in the list are Wired and Creative Review. Is this really business - all those beautiful pictures and resumes of cutting-edge designers and photographers, peppered with full-colour advertisements for camera phones and vodka? Wired is a little more monotone but surely it is one of the most sophisticated boys-with-toys reads on the planet. This has to be the reading zone where business meets pleasure.

Position Title Votes

1 Campaign 105

2 The Economist 80

3 Management Today 20

4 Harvard Business Review 16

5 Business Week 12

6 Creative Review 11

7 The Week 7

8 Fortune 5

9 The Spectator 4

10= Marketing 3

10= Wired 3


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