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Editor’s Letter: A Look Back (and Ahead) at Marketing Moments That Define Adweek
Longtime Adweek readers may get a little misty-eyed, like we did, when they see this week’s print cover.
To commemorate Adweek’s 40th anniversary, which looks at past, present and future defining marketing and media moments, our visual newsroom dipped into the archives to find and replicate our cover’s original color palate—Pantone 185. Or, as we like to call it, “Adweek red.”
Forty years ago, we were a print publisher. Today, we reach our audience of more than 6 million executives and creatives across myriad platforms that include print, digital, events, podcasts, video, newsletters, social media and mobile apps.
Heading into our next decade, who knows what’s next—drone-delivered issues, immersive reality events, keynote speakers appearing as holograms, an entirely new content platform that’s yet to exist? It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities.
I’ve spent a little over two decades covering the evolution of marketing, media and technology, the last eight years at Adweek. Unfailingly, each year proves to be more transformative than the one preceding it. And as we head into the ’20s, you can be sure of at least this: We will continue our commitment to serve and celebrate our community that comprises the most inventive, creative and remarkable people and businesses around.
Cheers to being 40 years bold!
Lisa Granatstein, editor, svp, programming, Adweek
From senior editor and Adweek historian Robert Klara:
“On a chilly night in November 1977, Time Inc. veteran Jack Thomas invited his old friend Pen Tudor out to dinner in New York. Thomas had a business venture he wanted to discuss. A Los Angeles-based publisher was looking to sell three regional trade papers aimed at ad executives: Advertising News of New York, Serving Advertising in the Midwest, and Media, Agencies, Clients.
Thomas had a feeling that advertising was fast morphing into a national industry—the “Americanization of Madison Avenue”—and, to serve that industry, sought to merge the titles into a single periodical. After inducing Tudor and Kenneth Fadner to sign on as his venture partners, Thomas did just that: The first issue of Adweek hit mailboxes on Nov. 19, 1979.”
For our 40th anniversary issue, we looked at the biggest trends since our founding.
- In the 1980s, the agency world radically changed. Holding companies dominated as agency networks consolidated. Media teams spun off into their own shops. Clients globalized. CEOs became hands off when it came to marketing, leaving that role to CMOs who delegated to brand managers. The fragmentation of 80s laid the groundwork for the agency models that dominate—and now struggle to remain relevant—today. Read more: The 1980s Saw Globalization, Agency Fragmentation and Some of the Best Ads Ever Made
- Television left its mark on the brand marketing ecosystem in the 1990s. The rise of CNN changed broadcast news forever. While NBC created Must-See TV, viewing habits changed with cable TV, which was quickly followed by satellite TV. HBO began making waves with impact shows in the final years of the decade, which paved the path for hits like The Shield, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, The Wire, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Damages and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Finally, DVR made its first appearance in 1999. Read more: The 1990s Were a Revolutionary Decade That Forever Changed How We Watch TV.
- After the agency world and TV disrupted the previous decades, a combination of world-altering events and the rise of technology shaped the 2000s. During the decade, two recessions hit, a never-ending war started after 9/11, and a presidential election gave the country newfound hope. In the tech world, Google seemingly released a game-changing product on a yearly basis, while Apple introduced the iPhone. Twitter, Facebook and so many more life-simplifying (or complicating depending on how you look at it) companies popped onto the scene. Read more: The 2000s Were the Most Disruptive Decade Since World War II.
- Technology did its part to bring us together in the 2000s. Facebook initially connected college kids, but it quickly turned into a global platform connecting Boomers who hadn’t talked to each other since high school. It connected people of all walks of life in every corner of globe. But it—like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more—now threaten to tear us apart. Misinformation runs rampant and conspiracy theories spread their messages unchecked—at least until recently. Read more: In the 2010s, Technology Brought Us Closer Together and Threatened to Tear Us Apart.
Looking Ahead: Access and Regulations to Collide in the 2020s, as the Battle to Redefine Privacy Plays Out