Earlier this year -- for reasons my bosses would have to explain -- I was promoted to publisher of Advertising Age and Creativity. At the time, I discontinued my column in Ad Age, ending an 11-year run that spanned my time as executive editor and editor.
I had some concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Then I figured as long as there's transparency about where the point of view comes from, I'm as entitled as anyone to express an opinion. You're entitled to grant it credibility, or dismiss it.
My greater fear concerned self-censorship. Although there were occasional accusations of puffery (a few months back, Starcom's Renetta McCann made me an ancillary victim of a David Verklin industry roast, the price of having once written a glowing column on her high-profile rival), I was more known for expressing blunt views on industry issues. But with P&L responsibility for these media brands, I feared the temptation to pull a punch to protect the bottom line. That would cheat my readers.
Turns out the dirty secret of life on the dark side -- don't think I didn't hear the whispers of "Anakin" behind my back -- is the transition wasn't that difficult. Or at least, my eyes adjusted quickly. Having covered the business for so long, I know the companies, the players and the key issues, and I understand our products and audience. The rest is common sense.
The hardest part turned out to be losing my voice, especially since more than one of you told me you missed it (and I've managed to convince myself some of you meant it). So let's try this. I'm going to start writing again, with the full disclosure that as publisher if there are places I don't trust myself to go, I won't go there. Everything else is fair game. My promise is that I'll give it to you straight. And I'll count on you to tell me when you think I'm wrong -- and why.
Since Ad Age and Creativity confront many of the same challenges as the businesses we cover, I'll also give you glimpses into how we're going about it, what we're doing right and wrong and the lessons we're learning along the way. As challenging as marketing and media are these days, the opportunity to help figure it all out is invigorating.
It's good to be back in the conversation. And, by the way, you look marvelous.