MEDIA HEADLINER: Untypical marketer aiming to jazz up the Telegraph’s brand. Hugo Drayton on his plans to push the title in a tough market. By Anna Griffiths

Hugo Drayton is not your typical newspaper marketing man. His checked shirt, foppish hair and brown shoes indicate he’s a Europhile at heart, and he travels everywhere on a large BMW bike.

Hugo Drayton is not your typical newspaper marketing man. His

checked shirt, foppish hair and brown shoes indicate he’s a Europhile at

heart, and he travels everywhere on a large BMW bike.

Drayton’s unconventional style and mode of transport are a welcome

contrast to the somewhat traditional face of the Telegraph. He relishes

the expressions on the commissionaires’ faces when he ignores their

attempts to push him round to the couriers entrance and emerges from his

motorbike gear as corporate man. He loves the Internet and is

responsible for the success of the Electronic Telegraph, of which he is

publishing director. David Pugh, chief executive of the outdoor poster

contractor, Mills & Allen, and Drayton’s former boss reveals: ’He was

into the Net before most people were. He sent me a rather moving card

the other day, which had e-mail addresses for everyone except his

two-month-old daughter.’

Drayton realises, however, that new media will have to take a back seat

as he takes on the additional role of promotions director, following the

departure of Paul Woolfenden to Express Newspapers. His old job

description - overseeing product and brand development, sponsorship

research and new media, alongside the responsibilities of sitting on the

boards of Telegraph Enterprises and West Ferry Printers - is to include

two new roles which, in the past, the Telegraph regarded as a job in

themselves. In 1996, at the height of the newspaper war, the Telegraph

decided to split the role of marketing and promotions, assigning it to

separate directors when other national newspapers felt it was one and

the same job. Although it gave Drayton and Woolfenden more space, at

times both felt hampered, as Drayton admits. ’Operationally, it’s been

fine for Paul and me, though there were frustrations on both sides. Of

course, there were times when we held back from things that weren’t in

our remit.’

In his centralised role, Drayton is not planning to make any radical

changes but he has a clear idea of what he wants. ’The backbone of

everything we do has to be our product. It’s already something Paul and

his team have been pushing towards, but maybe it hasn’t gone far

enough.’ Promotions is a new discipline for Drayton and he is aware it

is a tough task, given the price war waged by the Times and that all

newspapers appear to be caught up in a frenzy of promotions. ’We need to

try to put all the company’s strengths into a single message as the

market becomes more competitive and the promotional cycle becomes more

difficult to achieve.’

He promises we will see a lot more of the Telegraph’s gothic letter T,

which adorned a Telegraph-branded clothing range last year.

But he is wary of promotions fatigue. ’There are a few obvious things

you can give away - money, cars, houses. You can jazz them up but it

comes back to the same things. We’re going to have to be much more

innovative and clever in finding new angles.’

He is shaping the weekend newspapers at a time when all the nationals

are eyeing up this part of the week as the key battleground. The

Saturday Telegraph, which began to introduce new sections at the start

of this year, has just refined its magazine with a cleaner format and,

this Saturday, a Homes section will be added.

Drayton’s Canary Wharf office, which overlooks the skeleton of the

Metropolitan line extension, seems a far cry from the locations he

inhabited in his previous incarnation - as a globetrotting businessman

he has lived in Ecuador, Chile, Italy and France. Before joining the

Telegraph in 1994 as marketing manager, Drayton stacked up the air miles

as the international director of Reed Telemedia and a sales and

marketing director for the textile company, Coats Viyella. He speaks

fluent Spanish, French and Italian and has amazed his friends by

deciding to settle in grimy London with his Spanish wife and two young

children. ’I never expected to be a corporate person and it came as a

huge shock to me that I could be,’ he reveals.

But Pugh believes travel has helped expand Drayton’s judgment. ’Hugo’s

got very wide experience because working abroad has given him a broader

view of the world. He’s a renaissance marketing man and widening his

role would present him with very few problems.’

Drayton dismisses questions about his future plans, saying: ’This job,

as it is now assembled, is the job I wanted. I still feel like an

entrepreneur - I still feel that it’s my business, my money - and I’m as

tight-fisted and concerned about it as if it were.’ So don’t expect

lunch at the Ivy.


1985: Coats Viyella, sales and marketing manager

1991: Reed Telemedia, international director

1994: The Daily Telegraph, marketing manager

1996: The Telegraph Group, marketing director and publisher of


1998: The Telegraph Group, director of marketing and promotions