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UK Advertising Industry Urged to Build on SXSW and Cannes Lions Successes

Advertising Association

5 min read Partner content

London, July 4, 2023: The UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) continues its work supporting UK companies to grow international revenues, with the return of its SXSW panel picker bootcamp for SXSW 2024. This follows commercial success with over 90 businesses participating in prestigious global events including SXSW 2023 and Cannes Lions, backed by strategic collaboration with the Department for Business and Trade and industry partners.

SXSW PanelPicker is a session proposal platform that gives the SXSW community a significant voice in programming conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.) for the SXSW 2024 Conference. Prospective speakers submit their session ideas to PanelPicker, after which the community, SXSW Advisory Board and SXSW staff choose the best proposals.

The bootcamp – exclusive to UKAEG members – will be presented by International Trade Director, Aisling Conlon and Keynote Speaker, Strategist & Author, Jon Burkhart. The PanelPicker bootcamp is designed to equip UK companies with the necessary tools and insights to stand out amongst global competitors and succeed in being voted by the community for an official programme slot. The SXSW 2023 bootcamp resulted in several talks making it onto the official programme including; Come play in the real metaverse hosted by VCCP, The C-Word: Advertising’s Guilty Secret, hosted by Creature London, Startup to Scale Up: Why Brand Building Matters, with adam&eveDDB and The Great Metaverse of China, presented by Quimin.

Over 40 UK companies participated in this year’s trade mission to Austin with UKAEG hosting an extensive programme of activities at UK House. More than 10,000 SXSW delegates attended UK House over 4 days as UKAEG hosted 30 talks and a roundtable with the American Advertising Federation (AAF). This was supported by a dedicated GREAT campaign targeting North America, that featured the work and voices of several UKAEG members in video content and a podcast series that showcased the UK’s global leadership in embracing technology and changing the way brands connect with audiences. 

"We are pleased to confirm the return of our successful SXSW PanelPicker bootcamp, a proven game-changer for UK companies looking to maximise their impact at SXSW," says Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director, Advertising Association. "The festival is a valuable opportunity for UK companies to showcase innovation and gain international

recognition. Our bootcamp equips UKAEG members with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this unique environment, as we aim to strengthen the UK's influence and showcase our world-class talent and leadership on the SXSW stage.”

This call to the industry comes as UKAEG returns from its biggest trade mission to Cannes Lions to date, in partnership with DBT supporting over 50 companies looking to grow their business around the world under the campaign UK Advertising @ Cannes Lions. The extensive programme of events included five roundtables with key markets such as USA, India, UAE, Japan and a global roundtable with Campaign featuring senior leaders from brands and agencies such as McDonald’s, Skoda, Mastercard, Croud, Umbrella, St. Luke’s and others. The GREAT Global Dinner, a prestigious networking event, brought together over 140 guests from the UK and around the world to celebrate the power of creativity. All of this was supported by several talks and masterclass sessions that served to demonstrate thought leadership from UK Advertising.  The programme was led by UKAEG, in collaboration with GREAT and Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and supported by a group of industry partners – the Advertising Association, BENlabs, Clear Channel UK, and TikTok.

UK Advertising was also successful on the award stage with an impressive 106 LIONS won. This haul ensured the UK remained in the top three most awarded countries in the world and make the UK Europe’s leading territory and the second highest performance globally behind the United States, followed by Brazil. Off the award stage the UK was also well represented with 34 inspiring speakers at the Palais, 33 judges including 4 jury chairs and 12 Young Lions representing the UK with our Young Lions, Joe Sayer, Art Director, The Leith Agency and Marion Miranda, Copywriter, The Leith Agency winning Gold in the print category.

Julian Douglas, International CEO and Vice Chairman, VCCP, said: “The UK advertising industry has continued to achieve remarkable success in recent trade missions, notably at SXSW in March and more recently at Cannes Lions. At VCCP, we have been proud to participate in both missions that have undoubtedly proven our industry as a key player in powering the creative economy, with the latest UK advertising and marketing export figures coming in at £15bn. If you are an ambitious UK advertising business with a global outlook, then joining UKAEG and participating in their programmes over the next 12 months is a must.”

The success of both these trade missions is yet another sign of the UK’s strength in powering the creative economy. This follows the latest exports figures, which showed the UK exported £15bn worth of advertising and marketing services around the world in 2021.

For more information on UKAEG and how to get involved, please visit the dedicated website here or get in touch with


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