Campaign U.K.’s global editor-in-chief Claire Beale is departing the publication. This is an excerpt. The full note can be read here.
I’ve been writing columns for Campaign for over 20 years. This is my final one; my role as Campaign’s global editor-in-chief was made redundant in the summer so I’m signing off. Two decades, and what a ride: a vein-pulsing, heart-swelling, frustrating, dirty rush of a ride. A relentless privilege. I’ve loved it.
Before I started writing this column, I was planning a blowsy romp across 20 years of advertising news through the tint of my personal lens. But, honestly, now I’m here I realise most of it really doesn’t matter anymore.
My love has always been for the people and the work. I will always remember sitting in Lowe’s office holding my breath watching Stella’s skating priests for the first time; the shivery first look at PlayStation’s “Double life”; the what-the-fuck sneak preview of Cadbury’s drumming “Gorilla”; wow, the joy of Nike’s “Parklife”… but not as much joy as sitting with Juan Cabral to watch Sony “Balls” for the first time… then the thrill of another brilliant Orange Wednesdays film (Rob Lowe!)… and oh god, “Getting dressed” for Lynx… but also Levi’s “Creek” …: dizzy legs, clammy hands, beating-pulse flush – I fell in love every time. I still do.
But I have no passion for looking back. None. The past is just muscle to push ahead with. And there’s no better time to be pushing ahead. It’s delicious.
Of course, some people—me included—have no choice but to reframe. But that’s fully enlivening, it grits the jaw for the challenge. All of the best CEOs and CMOs I’ve conferred with in the past few weeks are flexed for an evolutionary leap, skipping years of slow change and making bold bets on a new future. For anyone else who has found themselves out of a job, this is our moment to do the same.
I could never imagine deciding to leave Campaign; I loved my job too much. But I also worried about that. I could see how the next decade might stretch out. Now I have no idea. And that’s exhilarating in a way I never imagined. Of course, I’m two-thirds of the way through my mortgage, my kids are teenagers, I have a profile and reputation that I know makes my future much more secure; plenty of people being made redundant in our industry will have many more things to worry about.
But as the industry re-engineers, talent will always win and anyway a flexible, more freelance workforce will be a bedrock of recovery. For me, I will continue championing excellence and celebrating brilliant creativity, though bluntly I’m hungry for more of it and everyone should be feeling that urgency. I want to help ensure the work that agencies do is valued in the C-suite and by talented kids who don’t even know—yet—that a job in advertising could be possible for them. I want to do something that gives back to the industry and I think the time is right for a new wave of businesses with a philanthropic thread woven into their core; I want to support new talent that’s different from the old. I want to make more money. I want to make mischief, have fun.
Finally, the very, very best thing about any job is the people you get to hang out with every day. In all my years at Campaign I have been so happy to work with so many truly brilliant, funny, dedicated people… too many to name but I am so proud of and grateful to all of the teammates who have helped me through the journey and have given me their friendship, not just their talent. We have shared something special. Best of all, we’ve had a bucket of fun. Thank you.”