"Advertising has the opportunity and the skills to kick start a recovery" says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA
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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement made for gloomy reading. The economy,
it seems, is going nowhere. Given that advertising has always been
regarded as the bellwether for predicting economic trends, received
wisdom suggests there won’t be too much fun to be had amongst the
advertising denizens of Soho and Shoreditch in 2013.
All this may be true but it’s not the mood I am encountering amongst
the more confident members of the advertising agency world. They believe
that there are real opportunities to help their clients in these
straitened times. Those Brand owners who have been ruthlessly cutting
costs over the last 3 or 4 years now need to look elsewhere to improve
If there is no growth in consumer markets then Brands need to gain
market share. To do this they need ideas and insights. Agencies are at
their best when they use their creative thinking to create commercial
success. As Rory Sutherland* says, we use “human understanding to gain
Many of the UK’s biggest businesses are sitting on lots of cash. I
believe that in 2013 we will see some notable examples of companies
being persuaded by their advertising agencies to invest some of this
cash to stimulate greater sales and share. It may even be that the seeds
of an overall economic recovery could start here. For than can be no
doubt that advertising stimulates trade and drives competition.
To support my cautious optimism there are already some signs that
agencies have begun to resist the general economic malaise. The recent
Kingston Smith survey into agency profitability showed that despite no
real growth in the economy at large, agencies have increased their
resource pool and slightly improved their margins.
Advertising is oxygen to the economy. What’s more it is actually the
fuel that drives Digital Britain. While overall media spend in 2013 may
well be flat, digital or Internet based advertising will continue to
grow. It will be in these more agile, responsive and social channels
that many advertisers will be looking to try and capitalize on consumer
interest and passion.
Looking at how things might change in the advertising world next year,
one of the big themes is about the talent coming into the industry. IPA
member agencies are increasing their graduate intake again next year.
The range of skills we need is growing to include, digital search, UX,
coding, design and build, social, real time planning, buying and
monitoring. On another positive note there are new roles for school
leavers, who are digital natives, and strong in social media and coding.
We expect the numbers of new interns and apprentices through the IPA
Creative Pioneers Challenge to more than double in 2013, and to increase
its footprint into other UK cities.
So to sum up, the overall advertising market might be flat next year
but there are opportunities for people and agencies to make their mark.
2013 will also see the complexion of the industry continue to change as
young people with new skills invade the agency scene. There will be
plenty of great insights and as is always the case with the UK’s
creative strength, some brilliant ideas will be there for the bravest
This article first appeared on The Information Daily