Campaign founder (and scourge of numerous editors) Lindsay Masters dies at 79

Lindsay Masters, who died on December 30 aged 79, ran Campaign owner Haymarket Publishing for 40 years while majority owner Michael Heseltine was in full-time British politics, latterly as deputy prime minister under John Major.

Masters, an ad salesman who in his youth allegedly used to drive up and down the King’s Road in an open-top Cadillac, was the guiding spirit behind the launch of advertising trade weekly Campaign in 1968, which restored the Heseltine family fortunes after they had almost evaporated publishing the glossy men’s magazine Town.

And a very lively boss he was too. I only really met him once, long after I’d left Haymarket, when, for some reason or other, I found myself at Searcy’s in Knightsbridge (Lindsay territory) attending the Haymarket Christmas party. Predictably the booze ran out but Lindsay, accompanied by his equally lively French wife of the time, arrived (belatedly) and despatched a minion to fetch two bottles of whisky. So a small group of us made our impending hangovers infinitely worse.

Campaign’s report refers to Lindsay recruiting Campaign’s first editor and designer in 1968, Michael Jackson (pictured) and Roland Schenk respectively. Which indeed he did. He was also responsible for the sudden demise of Jackson and numerous successors although Swiss designer Schenk sailed serenely on, occasionally dropping in to castigate insubordinate sub-editors for departing from his design rules.

Jackson, who really oversaw the transformation of faded old trade title World’s Press News into Campaign, was bounced after a couple of years (he went on to become a distinguished writer on beer, which kind of makes sense). He was followed in quick succession by Canadian Doug Vickers, Scot Jim Ferrier (who had two stints at the helm) and Michael Chamberlain who joined from ITN. Chamberlain went on to join the team who founded rival title Marketing Week. All of them fell foul of Lindsay for reasons which remain opaque given that Campaign was making buckets of money at the time.

Things then steadied a bit under Bernard Barnett (who left of his own volition), Chrissie Barker (who resigned after a row with some useless publisher), Dominic Mills (who finally left his post as Haymarket editorial director late last year) and current long-serving editor Claire Beale. One reason for their relative longevity may be that Lindsay had moved up to chairman (Simon Tindall was CEO) and was more concerned with expanding the whole company (which includes Management Today and What Car) than tinkering with Campaign.

But Lindsay, who remained great mates with one-time employee Maurice Saatchi (Maurice married the late Josephine Hart who, at the time, was the Haymarket classified ad supremo rather than a novelist), did an exceedingly good job of looking after the Heseltine inheritance until his retirement in 1999 when Heseltine and, later, his son Rupert took over the business of managing their company.

And Campaign was a fine legacy although it could never, in truth, be quite all the things Lindsay wanted it to be. Which is probably why its editors used to move on at such a pace.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.