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The advertising industry lies at the heart of a successful recovery. Here’s why

Ocean Outdoor

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive | Advertising Association

4 min read Partner content

In the Budget, the Chancellor’s recognised the creative industries as a key contributor to economic recovery. Advertising is committed to upskilling talent and maximising the potential of the growth in digital.

Yesterday's Budget demonstrates the hard work ahead for the Government, business and society.

The Chancellor highlighted the unprecedented damage the pandemic has wrought to the British economy over the past year, much of which is still unfolding. But as the vaccine roll-out continues and the economy reopens, we must look forward and advertising lies right at the heart of a successful recovery.

It delivers £6 back to GDP for every £1 invested and supports growth and jobs for businesses up and down the country as well as fast-growing exports earnings for the UK.

Our own AA/WARC advertising expenditure figures reflect Government’s view that the country will bounce back strongly over the rest of the year and into 2022, with the UK’s ad market expected to grow by 15.2% this year, an upgrade of 0.8 percentage points from the last forecast in October 2020, reaching a new high for a total of £26.69bn.

Businesses will be relieved the furlough scheme has been extended until September and the reassurance that this gives to their activity.

Every firm wants to return to normality and bring back staff members where they can, but this needs to be done gradually and as lockdown easing dictates.

It is also positive the creative industries have been recognised as a key contributor to economic recovery and we welcome the increased funding for the sector.

The announced new business grants and growth schemes for SMEs are also very welcome.

The multiplier effect of advertising as an engine for growth for businesses of all sizes is well known and we look forward to working with Government to see how the advertising industry can contribute further to support business and jobs growth.

Our industry is conscious of the role it has to drive economic activity and support UK society on the road out of the pandemic and to a recovery for that works for all.

Exports of advertising and marketing services are a key revenue generator for the UK and, as we celebrate UK Advertising Exports Month during March, we are showcasing how the UK can continue to grow as a global hub for the ad industry, and build on this position for the benefit of the country as a whole.

The UK’s projected ad market growth in 2021 is expected to be ahead of key international markets, with the US expected to grow 3.8%, Germany 9.3%, Europe (excluding UK) 8.8%, and China 10.3%.

At this precarious time, Government should be mindful of putting new and unnecessary barriers on the road to recovery.

This can be achieved by continuing the welcome emphasis on securing trade deals with different markets and delivering agreements on services with the EU.

It is just as vital that any further regulation on advertising in areas such as HFSS and gambling is proportionate, effective and efficient, or it may well cost more jobs and harm economic activity just at the time when these are most needed.

For example, looking at HFSS advertising restrictions, according to the Government’s very own research the total online ban will reduce a child’s calorie intake by just 2.84 calories per day while the pre-9pm TV ban will lower it by 1.7 calories a day. Both are negligible amounts – the equivalent to eating about two-thirds of a Smartie or walking for 25 seconds. There are other ways we can lower rates of obesity other than imposing unwarranted restrictions on one of the UK’s most successful industries.

The pandemic has caused an economic crisis, but it has ultimately been a health emergency for people and communities in the UK and around the world.

As such, the social rebuilding of our country is as important as the economic resurgence.

We welcome the emphasis on skills and jobs in the Budget and businesses in our industry are committed to upskilling talent to equip them for the changing jobs market we face, maximising the potential of the growth in digital and the improving performance on inclusion and climate change. 

During his speech, the Chancellor pulled no punches about the challenges ahead and our industry is conscious of the role it has to drive economic activity and support UK society on the road out of the pandemic and to a recovery for that works for all.


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Read the most recent article written by Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive - Ensuring The Public Trusts Advertising


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