Magazine article Marketing

Never Mind Your Strategy, Where Are the Results?

Magazine article Marketing

Never Mind Your Strategy, Where Are the Results?

Article excerpt

Do you recall the people who influenced you most? Rufus Leven, a copywriter I worked with in 1960 in Manchester, made a vast impression on me. For one thing, he was 50 and living with a beautiful girl of 19, which I thought an amazing and altogether admirable achievement. For another, he was a former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain, having been born a rich sprig of the family that made Markovitch cigarettes.

When he became a communist he changed his name to Ron to sound more working class. He told me enough about politics to persuade me to give up my ambition to become prime minister by the age of 30, and enough about the real world to distrust most experts and all authority.

I recalled him fondly the other day when I found a copy of John Donne's sonnets he had inscribed to me. He introduced me to another very different book: Claud Cockburn's hilarious autobiography. Cockburn, also once a communist, was one of the people behind Private Eye, which was partly inspired by a publication he ran in the 30s called The Week, unrelated to the excellent journal of that title today.

Cockburn has been Washington correspondent of The Times and earlier a sub-editor. In his book he told a funny story about a contest the subs ran for the dullest heading of the day. I seem to recall he won with 'Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead'. His spirit would take its hat off, I suspect, to a heading on the front page of this journal a while ago, 'ICL unifies core brand strategy'. …

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