Owner Heseltine hymns Campaign on its 50th

I see that Haymarket owner Lord Heseltine has been celebrating Campaign at a lunch in Cannes, at News UK’s palazzo or whatever they call them in Cannes. Campaign is 50 this year and there’ll be more such occasions to come.

His Lordship is right to sing the magazine’s praises (even though these days it’s mostly a website). It’s apposite that News UK did the hosting as Rupert Murdoch’s press empire used to contribute vast amounts of display revenue to Campaign in the early days. This rather dried up when Campaign began covering media in more depth, a case of shooting yourself in the foot perhaps.

Heseltine said his only contribution to Campaign (he was mostly a government minister in those days) was to say “Ad Age” when he first viewed a dire trade rag called World’s Press News, which he’d just bought.

But thanks chiefly to Lindsay Masters, who ran the Heseltine fiefdom, and numerous editors (they came and went remarkably swiftly) and talented staff Campaign flourished although it was mightily off-sided by the launch of Marketing Week which it completely under-estimated, commercially anyway.

For me Campaign lost some of its pizazz when the management finally got their way and editors no longer took the same objective (some would say adversarial) stance they’d taken to the ad business in the early days.

It’s a business full of talented people and (then anyway) creativity but has its fair share of rogues and charlatans. Campaign used to hammer these and they didn’t like it. A common criticism was that there were only two accurate things in it: the price and the date. Maybe they were right sometimes but when everybody’s busily lying to you…

When I read Campaign referring to “our industry” my heart sinks.

But happy birthday anyway.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.