50th Anniversary of ‘Campaign’

When the 50th Anniversary issue of the advertising industry ‘bible’ ‘Campaign’ thudded onto the doormat, it was a great surprise. Not only was the magazine packed with info and pics from advertising’s last 50 years, it was back to its original large size. As a weekly tabloid news publication it was important. As a an A4 magazine it didn’t seem the same. Now, it was back to its former glory. I first came across Campaign back in the 1970s when news, gossip, client wins and more by the UK’s biggest advertising agencies was devoured by the small agencies in the sticks, just as much as it was in London. White Collins Rutherford Scott. Saatchi and Saatchi. And J Walter Thompson to name three. There were dozens more and they were all legendary for the work they did and clients they did it for. In the mid 1980s, I worked for a Sheffield agency called Stanley D Dickson. Formed in 1926, SDD as it was known, was one of the leading technical agencies of its generation. I joined this agency as media manager in 1983, when it still produced work for some of Britain’s biggest manufacturers. A couple of years later there was a major change to its management team and the agency sought to reinvent itself as a highly ambitious and creative ‘consumer’ agency. Which is where ‘Campaign’ comes into my story. If you want to stand out in any market you must disrupt the status quo. And at this time it was a given that small provincial agencies got on with keeping themselves to themselves, producing work for...