Campaign magazine has been the UK ad industry’s rag of choice for as long as anyone can remember (years ago someone – I think it was John Hegarty – ran an ad for it with the line ‘when was the last time someone stole your copy of Marketing Week?’).
In the twenty-or-so years I’ve been a reader, it’s changed a great deal, generally with the ebb and flow of the industry itself. When things were a bit more fun and glamorous in the 90s Campaign was equally so, reflecting the position we thought the industry was in as a purveyor of million-pound Levi’s ads that the public swooned over.
But even in those days it was generally considered to be little more than the perfect way to occupy the time it took to do a Thursday morning dump. Yes, everyone read it and by default gave a shit (pun intended) about what was in it, but to a great extent that was because there was no decent competition.
But in the last decade or so it’s been particularly poor. Last August I wrote a post about its insane run of front page headlines that mentioned pitches and speculated thus:
1. Nothing interesting is happening in advertising beyond these pitches. Possible, but surely someone has started up an agency in this time. When did 101 start? What’s Beta doing now? What about when Farah Ramzen left AMV? Wasn’t that a big enough story for the front page?
2. Campaign doesn’t consider anything but account moves to be significant enough for the front page. Maybe. I mean, it is a really awful, lazy, dull, unambitious, craven excuse for a magazine. It’s just possible that they can’t be bothered to do anything other than regurgitate press releases.
One of the two.
A commenter pointed out that it was indeed mainly made up of press releases from firms who used this PR company, which coincidentally was run by the husband Campaign’s then editrix.
So far so shite, but sometime recently, perhaps this year, it seems to have been taken over by people who, while they may not exactly be Woodward and Bernstein, do seem to have added a bit more meat to a few of their articles and opinions.
I confess I don’t read it every week, but it just seems to have a touch more substance these days (aside from the ridiculousness of doing a radio Private View).
Perhaps it will continue to improve. I’ll keep an eye on every third copy and see what happens.