Thanks for the memories
Welcome to the last weekly issue of Campaign.
Writing that line has been a prospect for years now. The reinvention of any weekly news-led business magazine stopped being an “if” and became a “when” a long time ago. Campaign was able to hold out longer than most.
What comes next for Campaign – a bumper new brand portfolio, better tailored to what our audience wants, when and where they want it – is genuinely a leap forward; and reinvention is always an exciting moment. We’ve already got a dynamic daily news service on Campaignlive.co.uk, fast approaching a million uniques a month and dwarfing the loyal but comparatively modest fan base of the weekly magazine. We’re debuting an in-depth monthly magazine in September that will be a more distinct accompaniment to our online and mobile offers and a better companion to our live events, video channel, podcast and on and on.
So we’re moving smartly on with a vigorous ambition.
But I’m not going to pretend that, in the process, we’re not all losing something special: Campaign’s front page.
No doubt about it: for 49 years, the magazine’s front page helped make the industry important – and because the industry was important, Campaign’s front page was important. The front-page span of news – almost always exclusive, often surprising, sometimes shocking – set the industry agenda every Thursday and beyond. A great frontpage headline would announce a major account review. Or that companies were merging. Or closing. Or launching. The front page was where careers were made. And sometimes killed. It’s where brilliant work was unveiled. And it’s where the industry’s darker side was occasionally exposed.
But the front page of Campaign was always really about people. For almost five decades, it was the place where the people who shaped the industry were seen doing their shaping. It anointed the best and gave them a platform to prove it. And it called people to account. It created heroes, sometimes monsters, and, at its best, it was every bit as thrilling as the industry it championed.
Delivering all of this weekly became a lot harder once news became digital and immediate. We’ve continued to publish a blinding front page more often than not, but news belongs online now. And, as the ad industry has matured, so has its news. I adore those old, dazzling front-page headlines, and they reflect an exhilarating period in adland’s history. But the world and the industry and Campaign have moved on.
Move on or die. But take a moment or two to mourn the passing of something great and read our feature on page 52 this week. It helped make our industry special.