Letter from the editor

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It strikes me at times, the enormity of the task to which Rance Crain and his brother Keith have entrusted me and my staff: to editorially guide the publication their dad founded 75 years ago and fulfill its promise to readers.

Every editor of this publication, beginning with G.D. Crain Jr., has put that mission first, which is why Advertising Age today is the world's leading source of news, analysis and information on advertising, marketing and media. It's a position we intend to firmly hold for the next 75 years, the 75 to follow and so on. Because this business will change but remain a vital part of the world economy, and we plan to change with it and remain a vital tool for its practitioners.

It is without a doubt true that the period we're now in represents one of enormous upheaval and opportunity, driven by digital technologies and the transfer of power from content creators and distributors to consumers.

But as our countdown of the 75 most important moments in marketing shows, change is the only constant-and the businesses we cover have made their way through a tremendous amount of it since 1930, almost always emerging the better for it.

The countdown, which we began in January, concludes with the final 15 that appear in these pages, capped by such moments as the extension of free-speech protection to advertising, the introduction of McDonald's and Wal-Mart, the lessons of New Coke, the challenges of digital media and the creation by Neil McElroy of the brand management system that forever changed marketing.

Those 75 moments may be a look back but they are also a road map forward, which is why in the last editorial page of this issue you'll find them ranked in chronological order instead of by importance. It's a fascinating walk through the history of the business, and society, and there are threads to follow into the future.

The same can be said for many of the highlights of our anniversary issue, including an essay by Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley, who labels the current consumer revolution "the most important change since Ad Age was born," and the 75 Now list of the people, products and trends we care about today. There are many legendary industry voices to be heard, including those of Keith Reinhard, Ed Lewis and Al Ries, and great Ad Age voices as well, from Jim Brady's to Fred Danzig's to Joe Cappo's. There's an amazing trip through the decades of our life, and the lives of the businesses we serve and the world at large, as well as a look at how Ad Age itself, as a leading voice, has helped set and shape the agenda on key issues.

That's still far from the total package, which includes plenty of facts and figures and a lot of color. It's meant to be not just informative, but lively and fun and succeeds grandly on all levels.

They say great business-to-business magazines, unlike their consumer brethren, are edited as "have-to reads" rather than "want-to reads." This issue strives-as, come to think of it, do all of ours-to be both.

We hope you learn from it, and enjoy it. If so, we've honored our responsibility, to the Crain family and the readers who are the foundation of this publication.

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