i Editor's Letter: We can all dream


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Sometimes, i gets taken to task for featuring items that are too expensive for the “average” reader — whoever that is. i’s readership is, in fact, much like that of the other quality papers — around three quarters of you being what adland calls ABC1s.

ABC1 readers work, earn and spend. An adman’s dream. There are flaws in this concept — as there are in the ad industry’s measures of success: did you ever wonder, for example, why all ads in newspapers and magazines are crammed into the first half? Journalists have little say over that, but do influence the Fashion, Style, and 10 Best pages. Or, at least, the section editors do.

The editor might have a “directional” conversation with the fashion/ style desk, and suggest that if we show three pairs of shoes costing £600 each, perhaps we feature a £60 pair too? Cue hurt looks and sulky stares at the philistine, but the editor wins. Desk editors will skulk away, only to try to slip back into their old habits the next day.

I exaggerate for effect — but not much. So, should we write about items beyond the reach of even our more affluent readers? One feature of recessions is the rise of, and need for, escapism. In the distant past it may have been the glamour of Hollywood films, more recently it was food porn. For me, it is looking at exotic destinations that I’ve little hope of staying in. For others, it is a new restaurant that one can’t afford every week, but might run to on a special day.

For others still, it really is shoes, or dresses, or suits that cost a week’s wages. We can all dream, can’t we? As long as you can find what you need, and can afford, is it truly so awful to drool over what you can’t? Happy Monday.