Private Eye

marking 50 years for the legendary satirical brand


Private Eye, the fortnightly satirical and current affairs magazine, appointed Taylor Herring in Spring 2011 to handle the publicity around their 50th Anniversary, and the 25th Anniversary of Ian Hislop’s editorship.

The Anniversary celebrations comprised three key elements:

  • The release of book “Private Eye: The First 50 Years, An A-Z” by Eye hack Adam Macqueen
  • An exhibition at the V&A
  • A gala event at London’s Guildhall 


Taylor Herring’s brief was to promote the Anniversary book and exhibition, to handle the interest around Ian Hislop, and to help the Eye reach new audiences and increase sales of the magazine itself. We were also charged with promoting the 2011 Annual.

We kicked off the campaign over the summer by inviting a select group of journalists to our offices to take a first look at the closely-guarded anniversary book.

From galleries of covers and “that” Andrew Neill photograph to subscribers’ cancellation letters and freshly unearthed treasures, each targetted feature would contained fascinating insights into the world of Private Eye. Each piece would credit the release of the book and the exhibition, helping readers understand and enjoy Lord Gnome’s world.

Double page spreads were secured in The Times and The Guardian whilst the Sunday Times Magazine ran a six page feature. The BBC’s Politics Show also ran a kick-off feature, as did the BBC’s Review Show.

A key part of the book campaign was book reviews. TH invited critics in to see the book ahead of its release. Roy Hattersley and Edwina Currie visited our office and filed reviews. Reviews also appeared in The Observer, Esquire and others besides.

The book was also launched at a party at eponymous Eye watering hole, the Coach & Horses – at which we secured attendance from key journalists and diarists – resulting in coverage in key outlets.

Interest in Ian Hislop was heightened around the time of the celebrations and we subsequently targeted specific opportunities that we felt would reach out to a younger audience, without neglecting the traditional Eye reader.

Ian would be used in in four key pieces: a five-page profile spread in the Guardian Weekend, a guest edit of Shortlist magazine, an interview for the BBC’s flagship national news programme, and a feature and sofa interview on The One Show. These were supplemented with further broadcast interviews with outlets such as Pienaar’s Politics on BBC RadioFive Live and Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show.

Aside from press with Ian, we also focused on key members of the editorial team, in particular book writerAdam Macqueen, as well as cartoonist Nick Newman, former editor Richard Ingrams and Eye Deputy Editor Francis Wheen.

Interviews were secured with outlets such as the Huffington Post, Time Out, TNT, BBC Radio 6 Music and Adam also penned a spread for The Independent.

We secured listings for the exhibition in all events outlets, covered off all the  Christmas gift guides and placed exclusive news stories around the exhibition’s opening in Metro, Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard.


Sales increased by 10% year on year in a tough market and the anniversary issue broke all records. 

Taylor Herring delivered a high profile campaign which raised the profile of Private Eye – crucially, it was featuredon BBC 1 and 2 on multiple occasions, all BBC national radio stations bar Radio 1 and in every broadsheet newspaper.

The subject of Private Eye proved to be one that feature writers reveled in writing about, with large and very complimentary features appearing throughout the course of the campaign in every single broadsheet newspaper and most supplements, with many running more than one piece. A total of nine features appeared throughout the Guardian and Observer.

Coverage highlights:

  • Shortlist Ian Hislop Guest Edit
  • The Times T2 double page spread feature
  • The Independent / i double page spread feature written by Adam Macqueen
  • The Guardian G2 double page spread feature
  • The Observer full page covers gallery
  • The Sunday Times Magazine six-page feature
  • Guardian Weekend six page Ian Hislop interview
  • Ian Hislop interview and feature on The One Show
  • Ian Hislop interview and tour of exhibition on the BBC News
  • Book of the week in the Sunday Times Culture, Saturday Times News Review, Time Out