Why things are looking good for advertising

‘Our industry – the keepers of brands and imagery, the content makers and human connectors – has an incredible opportunity to lead the way forward’

It is hard to imagine a more turbulent time. Truth is often redefined and reimagined before our very eyes, challenging our senses and sensibilities. Metaphorically, the editorial page has morphed on to the front page. Information and misinformation race across our handheld and wall-mounted screens like Seabiscuit chasing down War Admiral. All too often it’s hard for business and broader society to find the silver lining among grey clouds.

But with that said, our industry – the keepers of brands and imagery, the content makers and human connectors – has an incredible opportunity to lead the way forward.

Advertising campaigns working for social good

Twain once said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” All around us are manifestations of Twain’s proverb. NABS and The Marketing Society, and their year-round work to elevate the conversation around mental health; brilliant campaigns like Veg Power paving the way for healthier kids and adults alike; evergreens like the Childline Ball, One Young World and Media Fight Night punch with enormous impact; Channel 4’s “celebration of ability beyond disability” has shifted attitudes and forever changed the landscape; and #timeTo’s “endorse the code” is contributing mightily to the fight against sexual harassment.

Dynamic leaders like Paul Polman have shown us that building brands around sustainability not only helps save our planet but also drives profitability. And the GREAT campaign trumpets the unique and compelling assets of the UK’s DNA, which will carry the nation forward as the geopolitical landscape changes.

Our unique position of being able to influence public opinion presents an incredibly compelling opportunity to shape destiny. So as an industry, let’s leave what we cannot control behind. Let’s shout from the treetops about success in exports – as the Advertising Association, Department for International Trade and Institute of Practitioners in Advertising will do as part of our Ronnie Scott’s Leadership Breakfast Series at Advertising Week Europe next week. Let’s showcase bright young talent, manifested so brilliantly by the Duke of York’s global Pitch@Palace initiative where young entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to bring new ideas to life.

London poised to be a hub of creativity in advertising

While writing about my home of New York City, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words crafted for Hamilton could easily be said for London: “Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now. History is happening … And we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world!”

Without question, London will continue to be the hub of the creative and economic wheel of the UK, Europe and, indeed, for much of the world. So at this unique moment in time, let’s tackle the challenges, and do so with the same relentless optimism and spirit which fuel Advertising Week across the globe – from London to Sydney, New York City to Mexico City and Tokyo to Johannesburg.