Michael Heseltine: 'We see Campaign as a statement of every value we have as publishers'
A view from Michael Heseltine

Michael Heseltine: 'We see Campaign as a statement of every value we have as publishers'

How a magazine about expensive suits eventually led to the founding of Campaign.

It is a very emotional occasion for me to celebrate the 50th birthday of Campaign. I thought it might interest you to know how the magazine began.

In 1960, my partner – Clive Labovitch – and I did a spectacular property deal and we made £30,000. Of course, that doesn’t sound like much now but it was a stack of money then.

We spent £10,000 of it buying a really crappy tailor magazine called Man About Town. It was the trade magazine Tailor and Cutter’s attempt to create a consumer title to persuade young affluent men to go to Savile Row and buy expensive suits. You’ve never seen such a terrible consumer magazine – and we paid £10,000 for it.

We relaunched Man About Town with a focus on design, photography and editorial quality. It never made any money but our printers loved it, and so they said: "Look, you’re bright young things, why don’t we buy a bit of your company? We will produce cash, you buy more publications and we’ll go as partners." We agreed.

By 1968, we found ourselves in the situation where we had six companies employing 200 people with dozens of crappy magazines. My colleague Lindsay Masters and I set off to look at what we had acquired.

During our tour, we arrived at quite an awful office, just opposite the Old Bailey, from which was produced World Press News. As a magazine it had no equal in terms of the paucity of its editorial and design quality. I picked it up with Lindsay and I said: "Ad Age." That was my only contribution. Three months later, Campaign replaced World Press News.

Today, Campaign is published in many of the leading economies of the world. It is iconic and a source of huge pride for the company that parented it. We see it as a statement of every value that we have as publishers.

So here I am to say thank you for reading and supporting Campaign. A hundred years from now, I hope that its reputation will be wider but as illustrious as it is now.