Under the Radar with Eric Campbell
After 13 issues, White Light Media decided to stop publishing drinks magazine Hot Rum Cow. Previous Creative Director of the title and now Managing Director of the Edinburgh-based agency explains why it was important to go out on a high – and why he's partial to the aubergine emoji (it's not as bad as it sounds)...
What made you want to work in the magazine industry?
It was when I was working at The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. I was trained to work with our archaic design programme to design the magazine within the paper that had all the information about what was on telly for the coming week and theatre reviews, book reviews etc.
I loved the way the features had their own style and characteristics. I started to get a real flavour for how magazines are put together. I also really loved working with type. I have a real passion for typography – being able to see how you can take a couple of sets of typefaces and be able to use that limited type pallete, but have so much variety in doing layouts and design, was really interesting for me.
I gravitated from that into doing The Scotsman's glossy Saturday supplement magazine The Scotsman. There were a lot of pages that were heavily templated, but when it came to the cover feature and the other two features that were in the magazine, that's where I really got creative freedom to craft something that was really impactful for the reader.
Do you have a favourite font?
That's like asking me to choose between one of my children! I can't say I have a favourite one. I love using types that have multiple weights – they all have a condensed, regular and extended variety. One type family can do multiple jobs throughout a publication and when you couple that up with another interesting typeface, that's how it all comes together. That's what we did with Hot Rum Cow, our drinks magazine, when I was putting that together.
How did you feel when White Light Media decided to stop publishing Hot Rum Cow?
It was mixed feelings – I was really sad that this amazingly creative project came to an end, but also really excited as well. Hot Rum Cow did for White Light Media exactly what we wanted it to do – and that was to make people sit up and take notice of what we can do as an agency and what we can produce in-house.
Hot Rum Cow was a predominantly print title and it was all about creating this beautiful product that people would see on the newsstand, pick up, flick through, be blown away by and hopefully purchase at the till and take away and read. Due to the writing style, it had longevity, so you could read issue one or two now and it still stands the test of time. It did a great job of winning us more clients and getting far more creative print work into White Light Media than we would normally get to do.
Our brand work can be very dry because of the nature of the audience we're speaking to, but now we're finding at White Light what we're being asked to do and what our clients need us to do are far different than just printed magazines.
We are now pivoting the agency to be far more focused on the content marketing offering that we have. In that space and the amount of time that Hot Rum Cow took for us to produce on a biannual basis, we feel that we can take that time and now dedicate that into this new project that we're going to be taking on. It's going to benefit the agency and the direction that we want to go along the content marketing route. It's good to go out on a high, right?
Can you chart your journey from when you started out to your current position?
If you didn’t have to sleep, how would you use the remaining hours in the day?
What is the last photo you took on your phone (at time of interview)?
I was at a Marketing Society event in Glasgow on the ninth floor and I took a photo looking down over the street from a floor-to-ceiling glass window. I thought I was going to pass out.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Whose phone number do you wish you had?
What/where is your happy place?
What would people be surprised to know about you?
What would be in your Room 101?
Introvert or extrovert?
Optimist or pessimist?
Film or television?
Sweet or savoury?
Morning person or night owl?
Tea or coffee?
Emojis – cool or cringey? Which emoji do you use the most/is your favourite?
better than text speak, which is definitely cringey. The one I use the most for some reason is the aubergine. A lot of the time it’s used as a symbol for something else. I just think it's quite funny. If you've got a random group conversation on WhatsApp, just throw that in every once in a while. People will get puzzled and they don't know why you've done it. No explanation – just throw it in there.