Where are you in the new city of tribes?: Reading London right is a matter of life and death for marketing men. Here's what they think it's all about now. Rhys Williams reports

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Articulate metropolitan or cul-de-sac provincial? Disgruntled townie or working class die-hard? Suddenly it's no longer about which side of the river you live, the comparative virtues and vices of South and West Kensington.

Leo Burnett, one of Britain's leading advertising agencies, in conjunction with CCN Marketing, today unveils a new geo-demographic classification for the London ITV area, a system which goes far beyond the traditional general indicators of class, age and income.

The aim is to bring about a greater understanding of the people belonging to a region normally packaged and sold as a single, homogenous whole. London is, after all, the seventh-biggest market in the European Union, with a population of more than 11 million, speaking some 200 languages.

London divides into 11 tribes, which further breakdown into 40 sub-groupings. A change in circumstances - marriage, moving house, having children or losing a job for example - may lead to a switch in tribes. As the Articulate Metropolitans of Notting Hill and Kensington hit 30, they may decide it's time to settle down with a family and move out Esher-way, thus becoming Suburban Homemakers. There they will divide their time between DIY and children.

Or perhaps with not much left to prove, either professionally or in terms of urban adventure ('been there, done it'), our Articulate Metropolitans may become the Golden Achievers at ease in Haslemere and Henley on Thames.

Children of Working class die-hards do not share their parents' nostalgia for a social order in which 'bosses were bosses, and workers were workers and proud of it. Offspring of Ethnic Kinsmen (often first- or second-generation immigrants) are similarly keen to break out of their parents' clearly defined boundaries. Therefore, according to the experts at Leo Burnett, both of these tribes face extinction.

The project has defined the notion of the 'reluctant Londoner' - people who, because of their careers, have no choice but to work in the capital. Their experience of London is confined to the daily commute from home to work and back again.

According to Mark Stockdale, account planning director at Leo Burnett, a new tribe is set to emerge. Traditionally dismissed as 'boffins, the Technocrats are currently a sub-group of the Cul-de-Sac Provincials, but will rise in influence as the information technology industry, of which they are masters, gains increasing respect.

Mr Stockdale also believes that the growth in technology will lead to a fundamental reassessment of London as place of work. 'The most extreme scenario we've come up with so far is that, by the year 2050, London could nothing more than a giant tourist theme park.'

CUL-DE-SAC PROVINCIALS

Habitat: Dominate no single London postal area, but can be observed walking round Bushey, Weybridge and Grays. Main tribal homelands lie beyond the M25, in High Wycombe, Berkhamsted, Hatfield, Sevenoaks and Farnborough.

Proportion of population: 13.6%

Similar in many ways to Suburban Homemakers, but far less competitive and overtly status conscious. So for example, the car is a means of transport, rather than an extension of any part of their anatomy (which is just as well, since many drive Minis). Cul-de-Sac Provincials have reached the apex of their careers: either reasonably sucessful (middle management), or else enjoying the security that patiently earned experience brings. 'They're parochial in outlook, snug in their own little corner of life and happy keeping their pond to a manageable size.' London is generally a place of work (for him), although occasionally enjoyed as a special birthday or wedding anniversary treat: you know, a spot of supper, the Phantom and the last train home. As the name suggests, the tribe tends to gather in between-the-Wars semis and the odd detached, nestling in cosy cul-de-sacs around provincial towns. Competition within the tribe is minimal - so it's jogging, not squash, although cricket and golf are a handy way to keep in touch with chums. Tribesmen often have some solitary, quirky hobby - 'collecting guns is my thing' or alternatively 'I'm not a rugby man myself'. Next to using money-off coupons, the greatest tribal ritual is the annual summer holiday, preferrably in Britain, and often to an old favourite. If they do venture abroad - strictly package - they read English papers, eat English breakfasts and mix with other Brits ('Isn't it a small world?' is guaranteed to feature early in any conversation). When John Major talked about 'this Britain', he was dreaming of Cul-de-Sac Provincials.

WORKING CLASS DIE-HARDS

Habitat: EC3 and scattered across Enfield, Woolwich, Dartford, Tilbury, Barking and Harlow.

Proportion of population: 13.0%

The gospel according to Working Class Die-hards says that real men down several pints of beer at a sitting and don't cry (unless it's the World Cup semi-final and England have just lost on penalties). Along with Ethnic Kinsmen, this is the tribe most likely to die out. The parents descend from long lines of working-class families and hanker after the old certainties and strife of the class struggle - a time when bosses were bosses, and workers were workers (or, at any rate, had jobs). They passionately believe that the demise of the trade unions and the onset of the market have favoured the bosses to the detriment of the working man - and they will be glad to expound upon this philosophy at length over a pie and a pint in the local tavern. They are steely advocates of high moral standards - never mind Back to basics, they never left them in the first place. Although recession has hit hard, they maintain a curious loyalty to branded products that verges on pride. None of that own-brand sauce here, it's strictly Heinz 57.

Homes are kitted out with all manner of consumer durables - video, satellite, microwave, freezer. In fact they display an almost ritualistic attention to domestic detail - air fresheners in every room, antimacassars on every chair, knitted dollies on the loo rolls, probably even a souvenir of Tenby reading: 'While you are reading this you are peeing on your feet'. However, the end is nigh. Children of the working class die-hard are moving on, apparently not sharing their folks' enthusiasm for tradition and jellied eels.

ARTICULATE METROPOLITANS

Habitat: Everywhere, but dominate W1, W2, W3, W4, W5, W6, W8, W9, W11, W12, W13, W14; WC1, WC2; EC1, EC4; N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N8, N10; SE3, SE10, SE19, SE20, SE21; SW4, SW5, SW6, SW7, SW10, SW11, SW12, SW13, SW14, SW15, SW16, SW18, SW19; NW3, NW6, NW8, NW11.

Proportion of population: 13.4%

The second largest tribe in the London ITV area, but the biggest inside the M25, articulate metropolitans are 'intelligent, informed individualists, eclectic experimentalists. . .the most socially active, style-conscious of the London Tribes. Although they are the most nomadic grouping, they can generally be found in large numbers around Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill and Hampstead. That said, they find it difficult to stay in one place for more than an average two-and-a-half years, preferring to flit from 'in spot (Brixton) to 'in spot (Islington). This tribe is by far the most diverse. They range from students and the bohemians of Soho cafe society to the 'barely metropolitans - professional types who started out living in central London, love everything about it (cinema, theatre, clubs), but have gradually moved to greener suburbs or even the country for 'the occasional bit of peace. More important than money or status is a passion for art and literature, an interest in politics and current affairs (and talking about them), and a desire to be at the leading edge of new trends. They almost certainly watch the Late Show and prefer Coronation Street to EastEnders (on account of Reg Holdsworth's cult appeal). They consider themselves liberal (little 'l, note), supportive of minority issues, concerned about the environment, sensitive to injustice and pro-Europe. Above all, they adore London. 'This tribe could not imagine living or working anywhere else. They worship at the altar of London and give praise to God for urban sophistication. Although desperate to be seen as an individual, not a number, they'd be tempted by a T-shirt saying 'Articulate Metropolitan. I am, are you? (as long as the writing was small and it was designed by Katharine Hamnett with proceeds to the rainforest).

SUBURBAN HOMEMAKERS

Habitat: N14, N20, N21; E4, E18; SE9, SE12; NW7 plus Potters Bar, Kingston-upon-Thames, Esher, Harrow, Rickmansworth, St Albans, Dartford, Bromley.

Proportion of population: 12.7%

For the Suburban Homemaker an ideal weekend would involve a stroll up to the garden centre and down to the local B&Q. Status is all and what better way to display individual flair and success than by grooming the dandelion-free lawn and putting the finishing touces to the crazy paving before settling down with a sherry in front of Keeping Up Appearances. Their house may be their primary source of status, but it is not the only one. The car is viewed as an extension of the home; the difference between a GT and GTi is as defining as pronouncing bath with an 'r. They are the tribe most likely to agree with the statement 'I judge a person by the car they drive (odd then that so many end up in Sierras). 'They're very protective of and ambitious for their young. Evidently, lacking too many interests for themselves, suburban housemakers immerse themselves in their offspring's schooling. They attend school plays, are hardcore members of the PTA and 'encourage (bully is another way of putting it) their children to pursue a wide range of extra-curricular activities: ballet, riding, tennis, weightlifting. Such is their preoccupation with their children that the location of a new home is chiefly governed by the need not to disrupt their education. The only other criteria in moving house (they're a semi-nomadic bunch) is whether they will climb up the social ladder. Practical considerations such as proximity of shops and transport only creep in afterwards.

Eavesdrop on a suburban homemaker on any given day and you sure to hear the tell-tale ritualistic chants of 'what will the neighbours think?, 'I won't have that paper/lad/muck in my house, 'I'll not have that kind of talk under my roof and 'we always have a roast on Sundays.' They tend to cluster around Kingston and Barnet, but are mainly based beyond the M25 in places like Esher, St Albans and Rickmansworth. Their relationship with London is consequently weak. 'Although many are tied to London for employment and can recite the benefits of living there, in reality London is rarely experienced out of office hours. Rather alarmingly, some articulate metropolitans grow up to be suburban homemakers.

WELFARE DEPENDANTS

Habitat: W10; N1, N7, N16, N17, N19; E1, E2, E3, E5, E8, E9, E13, E14, E15, E16; SE1, SE2, SE5, SE7, SE8, SE11, SE14, SE15, SE16, SE17, SE18, SE26, SE27; SW2, SW8, SW9; NW1, NW5.

Proportion of population: 12.5%

Strictly speaking, Welfare Dependants are not a tribe but a category 'bound together by financial circumstances not by any shared value system or descendency.' Where kinships exist, they are based on common experiences - budgeting household expenditure, low-grade housing, inadequate childcare. They have little or no power of self-determination, with basic choices about where to live made by local authorities. They are dependent on foot and local transport so their physical environment can be limited. The upside is they get to know their neighbourhoods and neighbours well and can, despite misgivings about the desirability of an area, become quite emotionally attached to places and people. Like Disgruntled Townies, they can see what London has to offer, but are forced to turn away.

ETHNIC KINSMEN

Habitat: W7, N9, N11, N12, N13, N15, N18, N22, E6, E7, E10, E11, E12, SE4, SE6, SE13, SE22, SE23, SE24, SE25, SW17, NW2, NW4, NW9, NW10. Also pockets in Slough.

Proportion of population: 8.6%

Major risk of racial stereotyping here, so this section needs prefacing with a hefty 'according to the research. . . Although sounding more like Germany's World Cup striker, ethnic kinsmen actually refers to first-generation immigrants from India, Africa. 'They are, at the extreme, permanent visitors: although their bodies might be in London, their hearts and minds are still in India, the West Indies etc. This is the most socially homogeneous tribe, living within clearly defined boundaries with others of their own ethnic origin. Areas such as Southall, Tottenham and Lewisham feature strongly on the ethnic kinsmen map. Each group retains a strong loyalty to and pride in their cultural identity and heritage, both of which define patterns of behaviour, diet and leisure activities. Any notion of London as a whole, let alone a sense of belonging, is very weak. One research respondent said the only areas he knew in London were Southall, where he lived, and Whitechapel, his cousin's home. The rest of the city was something through which he occasionally travelled, but had no intimate contact. However there are increasing signs of tension between young and old. As the young mingle with children from outside their own ethnic village, they are influenced by other tribal systems - in art and music for example. There is a dilemma. Another respondent described how he'd eat Corn Flakes in the morning to remind him he was British and curry in the evening to remind him he was Indian. The research concludes that ethnic kinsmen face 'gradual extinction as successive generations become integrated into other tribes.

GOLDEN ACHIEVERS

Habitat: They do not dominate any single London postal area, but pockets found in Hampstead, Highgate, Holland Park and Richmond. Outside the M25, they people places like Haslemere, Farnborough, Henley-on-Thames and the villages around Amersham.

Proportion of population: 6.1%

Although sounding suspiciously like their favourite breed of dog, Golden Achievers are the highest caste of London tribe and perhaps the closest to articulate metropolitans in their appreciation of the capital. With little left to prove professionally or socially, they are supremely at ease with their own achievement (smug, perhaps?). That's not to say status is unimportant to them, they just don't go round shouting about it like the Suburban Homemakers. Instead they whisper - their strong kinship with 'people like us' ('PLU') and distance from the 'great unwashed' quietly communicated through expensive but unostentatious possessions - a Range Rover rather than a Roller for example. The signs are there if you know what to look for - there is something about the cut of a suit, the weave of the fabric that tells you it's not an (admittedly high quality) M&S, but genuine Savile Row or Giorgio Armani. They know that you know, but wouldn't dream of telling you, 'dear' (as opposed to 'darling').

Their tribal homelands - the private roads around Henley-on-Thames and Virginia Water, for example, or lanes off Hampstead village - are described as 'rarified places permeated by an atmosphere of monied calm.' Their relationship with London is often close - in fact many started life as articulate metropolitans. Many retain a residual political correctness and, until recently, would have felt uneasy about buying South African produce (these days the cellars and fruit bowls are bursting with Rodeberg and Cape grapes). They still enjoy the capital's restaurants (Le Caprice rather than Kensington Place) and theatre, but their attitude is very much 'been there, done it, liked it, and hey, just occasionally, I'll go back for more'.

LATE-IN-LIFERS

Habitat: Bromley, Watford, Sutton, Kingston upon Thames. Also Sevenoaks, Windsor, Brentwood and South Purfleet.

Proportion of population: 6.8%

Later-in-Lifers are constantly dying out, but the tribe will live on. LP Hartley once observed: 'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.' To this tribe, it is the modern world that proves alien. Much easier then for them to trade stories about the past with their tribal kin, with whom they often share neighbourhooods that are safe from the intrusions of the modern world. London is a distant thought: 'crowded, noisy, dirty and difficult'. They also stay away for practical reasons of mobility and transport. One elderly woman respondent who lives in Camden - hardly leafy Surrey - said she had not been into the West End for two years. Instead, like many of her tribe, she gazes away toward the quieter, slower life she fills with rituals such as knitting, reading, and shopping - important apparently, because 'the shopping basket is the subject of much social discourse.' Which reminds me, have you seen the price of eggs?

DISGRUNTLED TOWNIES

Habitat: E17, Enfield, Barking, Dartford, Croydon, Sutton. Further afield in Slough, Chesham, Hertford, Chelmsford.

Proportion of population: 6.0%

The tribe most likely to agree with the statements 'I really enjoy a night out at the pub' and 'low-alcohol lagers and beers are not a man's drink'. Disgruntled townies are a 'disenfranchised underclass, united by a belief they are society's victims, that they are the ones paying the price of the country's economic problems. The chips-with-everything and on shoulders brigade. Many do face economic hardship. They invested heavily in Thatcher's popular capitalism using easy loans to buy council houses and household goods when they could ill afford them. Many are now behind on repayments and face repossession. They are bitter because they believe they were encouraged to spend, spend, spend. Trapped in the areas they colonise (generally on all-white estates around Walthamstow, Dartford, Barking and Slough), they have developed a resentful relationship with London. They know what the capital has to offer, but cannot afford to take advantage. For all the hardship, they are never short beer and a tab or two, generally enjoyed in front of You've Been Framed or whatever's on Sky. Although their children aspire to higher things, economic reality means they are doomed to survival.

NEW HOME STARTERS

Habitat: SE28 plus Croydon, Dartford, Barking, Staines. Also High Wycombe, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Basildon and Crawley.

Proportion of population: 3.8%

They admit to being lost without a freezer and are big fans of take-away meals. Their idea of culinary enterprise is a ready-made meal from M&S, although of late they have taken to collecting Sainsbury's recipe cards. By next year they might get round to doing something with them. Let's be frank (but fair) - New-Home Starters are not the sort of people you see on Masterchef. Instead of creating for themselves (food, clothes, decor), they buy everything off the peg, sacrificing taste for convenience. They totally reject anything second hand, settling only for brand new houses with that just laid mortar feel. Their lives are structured entirely around the homes they're creating. All their earnings go on furniture, kitchen equipment, video, stereo etc, all brand-spanking new. They'd rather spend an evening switching gadgets on and off than out with friends. In fact, tribal kinships invariably form with neighbours as they move through the home catalogue of life together - it's a familiar scenario, leaning over the fence (lager in hand) wrestling with the complexities of the self-assembly wardrobe from Ikea or MFI. They travel to London to work, and they work to earn money.

VILLAGE DWELLERS

Habitat: Outside London

Proportion of population: 3.6%

This tribe lives under a curse - no, not the weird affliction that forces to them don a wax jacket and green wellies before you can say 'smell that country air', but the curse of urban encroachment. Poor loves. As towns sprawl, roads widen and bypasses have precisely the opposite effect, village dwellers are left to bemoan the sacking of their tribal homelands, their rural idylls becoming rarer and more sacred. Some fight back, some keep their heads below the hedgerows. As for status, stuff and nonsense. Cars are for getting from point-to-point to point-to-point, the countryside being a great leveller, particularly when you're up to your elbows in manure. But for all the hankering after community - fostered through the local pub, club and society - village dwellers have taken to urban ways when it suits them. Shopping, for example, is done at the local Tesco superstore, leading to the gradual demise of the village shop, while access to the accursed motorways is broadening horizons and loosening rural ties. London is still disliked and distrusted, and turning up in a country pub with a mobile phone is still likely to result in a ritual lynching. Quite right too.

(Photographs omitted)

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