The Advertising Association promotes the rights, roles and responsibilities of advertising. We represent UK advertisers, agencies and brands on behalf of the entire industry, acting as the connection between industry professionals and the politicians and policy-makers.

The Advertising Association focuses on major industry and policy areas that have huge ramifications on UK advertising. This section contains our work around Brexit, HFSS and gambling advertising, data and-privacy, trust, the digital charter and our Industrial Strategy campaigns.

Front Foot is the UK advertising industry’s members’ network. Membership offers a range of exclusive benefits, from early access to Credos research to invitations to networking events. Front Foot members seek to collaboratively find solutions to the biggest issues facing advertising.

Become A Member

Members of our exclusive Front Foot network receive early access to Credos research, invitations to regular breakfast briefings and networking events, and receive the exclusive Front Foot Quarterly magazine. To apply for membership, click here.

The Advertising Association runs a number of events, from our annual agenda-setting LEAD conference to bespoke breakfast briefings. As of 2018 we are the official UK representative for the world’s biggest festival of creativity at the Cannes Lions.

advertising matters 01.02.19

/ February 4th 2019
Advertising Matters

AA new look!

We decided to make the last week of January easy for us at AA Towers by not only launching our AA WARC Expenditure Report and holding our annual industry LEAD summit and Cannes Lions events (more on that below), but we also decided to (deep breath) update our branding, launch our new look website and publish our latest Annual Review. All in a week’s work for the AA team!

We’d like to thank our colleagues at design studio Hex for all their assistance in producing what we hope you’ll agree is a great new image for an organisation representing the greatest advertising hub in the world.

Let off the LEAD: Trust, Trade and Transformation

On Wednesday we held our 8th annual LEAD summit, which is firmly established as the forum where politics meets advertising and sets the agenda for the year ahead. It was in its usual home of King’s Place and attracted a sell-out crowd of nearly 350 leaders from across the UK advertising industry. This year’s edition focussed on the theme of Trust, Trade and Transformation all under the excellent chairmanship of broadcaster Mary Nightingale, and has generated lots of discussions across our industry and throughout the media.

From our President Keith Weed we heard a clarion call to improve public trust in our industry following some outstanding research work from Karen Fraser’s team at Credos into people’s perceptions of advertising. Credos’ conclusions show that while people appreciate its benefits, there are a range of issues negatively impacting their perceptions of advertising. These include bombardment and intrusiveness, as well as concerns around sensitive sectors and vulnerable groups.

LEAD, Ad Association, Kings Place, London. 30Jan2019, ©BronacMcNeill

Keith and other industry veterans noted that since advertising depends on communicating with audiences, any break in trust undermines the messages we attempt to share. As such, he offered a stark warning to industry, that it’s “trust or bust” in our relationship with the public.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow DCMS Secretary of State Tom Watson gave a clear message to industry regarding advertising to children and shared the Opposition’s view on the HFSS debate. We at the AA will continue to engage on this important subject over the coming months. He also recounted how his own experience in the ad industry informs his decisions as a politician, saying “some say advertising is just a mirror on our culture; I think advertising shapes our culture.” On that last point, we completely agree.

Department for International Trade (DIT) Minister Graham Stuart declared Government’s support for increasing exports of UK advertising services. This is something that will be a key focus for the AA and our Promote UK group throughout 2019 as we bang the drum for our industry at the Shanghai International Advertising Festival and SXSW in March. As UK rep for Cannes Lions we are also planning a strong presence for British advertising at this year’s festival in June, so look out for more Ad Matters updates on this in the coming months.

Former Presidential Advisor and Founder of H Robotics, Dr Pippa Malmgren, shared her thoughts on how technology is changing people’s lives and their interaction with advertising at every turn, as well as a different perspective on Brexit and its potential effect on the UK economy. From the world of journalism, Steve Richards, Evan Davis, and Mary Nightingale, all provided great editorial perspectives to the day. We are grateful to Front Foot network Chair Mark Evans of Direct Line, the IPA, Nationwide, Facebook, and Thinkbox for taking part in Evan’s panel discussion on trust in the UK ad industry; and to the Guardian, WPP, Google, as well as Keith Weed, for their views in the panel on how UK advertising can transform as an industry.

All in all it was an outstanding event and our thanks go to all sponsors, speakers and attendees for making LEAD 2019 a hugely enjoyable event for all of us here at the AA!

LEAD, Ad Association, Kings Place, London. 30Jan2019, ©BronacMcNeill

Press coverage

In the media and on Twitter, LEAD has been mentioned over 150 times so far and counting. To highlight a few pieces of coverage, in Campaign, the new research on public trust in advertising by Credos, which was unveiled at LEAD, is summarised. It quotes Karen Fraser, Director of Credos, as well as various other speakers such as Front Foot Chair Mark Evans and Paul Bainsfair, Director-General of the IPA. Also covering the research but focusing on Keith Weed’s keynote, this piece in Marketing Week outlines the five key initiatives within his plan to address the long-term decline in public trust of advertising, as does Little Black Book and Research Live. Campaign also covered Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson’s keynote, where he told the industry and brand owners to stop using cartoon characters on sugary food and drink voluntarily, or be forced to do so by the next Labour government. A similar such article can be read in The Drum here.

Cannes I kick it? (Yes you Cannes!)

As LEAD came to a close it was straight onto two more events for the AA team as part of our position as UK representative for Cannes Lions, a role along with our partners Channel 4, Clear Channel, Framestore, M&C Saatchi and DIT.

Focusing on the ad talent of tomorrow

As the clock struck 2pm, it was time to welcome around 250 students from organisations such as the Brixton Finishing School, Media Trust and School of Communications Arts 2.0 for the first of our afternoon events ‘UK Advertising Needs You!’. The session kicked off with an opening message from our Chief Executive Stephen Woodford, before moving on to a panel with representatives from M&C Saatchi, Framestore, Clear Channel and Channel 4, who gave the lowdown on working in advertising, from how they got to where they are now to the best piece of advice that they’ve ever received. Then, the students were introduced to Cannes Lions and the Roger Hatchuel Academy to find out how they could get involved, and if that wasn’t enough, headed over to meet our 17 mentors from leading companies within the industry, to take part in a speed mentoring session and ask professionals anything they wanted to know.

Advertising Needs You, Ad Association, Kings Place, London. 30Jan2019, ©BronacMcNeill

Masters in their class

While UK Advertising Needs You! was in full force, we welcomed another 250 delegates for our final event of the day, ‘Cannes Lions Masterclass’. This event was for under 30s already working in our industry to learn about Cannes Lions and hear from speakers whose creativity is recognised on the world stage as best-in-class. Phil Thomas, President of Ascential Events and Chairman, Cannes Lions, gave a fantastic talk on ‘Creativity Matters’ which was based on data from previous UK Cannes Lions winners, and then it was time to hear from the Cannes Lions community first-hand.

As such, delegates heard from Lions winner and AA Chairman James Murphy, as well as Vicki Maguire from Grey London and Young Lions Winner, Tom Wordley of Publicis LifeBrands, who took the audience through what makes an ad effective, what it’s like to be a Cannes Lions jury member and how to approach the Young Lions competition in order to emerge a winner. Finally, Diego Caicedo-Galindo, Production Co-ordinator, Sky Creative Agency and Cheryl Jordan Osei, a Content Producer, both past Roger Hatchuel Academy students, described their journey into the industry, and how the Academy, and Livity UK, aided them along the way.

Following a packed agenda and with both events finishing up at the same time, everyone enjoyed some networking drinks, where we encouraged the under 30s to engage with the students and discuss our favourite thing – advertising.

It was a fantastic and insightful afternoon and as always, a massive thank you goes out to all of our partners, speakers, mentors, attendees!

A WARC on the wild side

On Monday, we released our AA/WARC Expenditure Report for Q3 2018. The report revealed that UK adspend rose 5.1% year-on-year to reach £5.6bn in Q3 2018, marking the 21st consecutive quarter of market growth and the industry’s strongest third quarter of the year since 2015. The preliminary adspend estimate for 2018 remains at £23.5bn – meaning growth of +6.0% year-on-year.

Our Chief Executive Stephen Woodford commented: “UK advertising continues to perform strongly, now delivering its twenty-first straight quarter of growth and demonstrating the commitment of British advertisers to investing in the growth and success of their businesses…. UK advertising is the best in the world and we need a [Brexit] deal that ensures we keep it that way.”

The report was covered by Campaign, The Drum, Decision Marketing, City A.M. and more. To read the full report, head over to our website here.

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