Opinion: Perspective - Well done Brown for recognising adland creativity

By Claire Beale, claire.beale@haymarket.com, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 February 2008 12:00AM

Are we about to see the slow rehabilitation of advertising? From this week's leaks of the Government's creative industries strategy document, it seems so.

For so long the ad industry has been the Government's and pressure groups' whipping boy. Now Gordon Brown is inviting adland to the table with the offer of support.

As one of the 13 creative industries embraced by the Green Paper proposals, advertising will sit alongside music, fashion, dance, theatre, film and so on as Brown bids to turn Britain into the world's creative hub. With echoes of Blair's Cool Britannia, Brown wants the UK to be a premier centre for creative excellence.

So there will be a "new enterprise capital fund" to give start-ups a financial leg-up, a college to pioneer digital media, creative apprenticeships, a Davos-style creative economy forum and plenty of other formal initiatives to encourage diversity, young talent and entrepreneurial zeal.

I suspect that some of the other artistic industries umbrellaed by the Green Paper might baulk at the formality of some of the proposals and the spectre of quotas and red tape. For the ad industry, though, there should be no such concerns.

Brown's plans seem determined to finally rid the artistic industries from their elitist associations and prove that they can be - and should be - commercially astute. Here advertising can lead by example.

So though adland's fellow creative industries might view our industry's presence in their group with some surprise, advertising has a robust case for inclusion. Unlike other artistic professions, adland is not on permanent bended knee for financial handouts; it's commercially self-sufficient. Advertising itself magically bridges the commercial/creative divide, now with the latest Green Paper, Brown is encouraging this blend.

But if you stop for a minute to think about it, without advertising plenty of the other creative sectors would be in worse financial shape. From music to model-making, illustration to photography, advertising is a significant employer of artistic craft skills, so its place in this roll-call of creative excellence is entirely appropriate.

In fact, it's hard to overstate the significance of adland's inclusion. Surely, surely the Government can't now continue hitting the business with senseless regulation while claiming to nurture and support. The IPA and the Advertising Association deserve full credit for pushing the ad industry on to the creative agenda. Now the two bodies are well placed to use this new relationship with Downing Street to fight adland's corner.

There are some adland names that just sound right. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe might be a mouthful, but it works, and not just because of its familiarity. Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy has got a certain lyricism. Adam & Eve? Well, we snickered a bit, but in just a few short weeks the name's become comfy. And who would ever question now the wisdom of the moniker Mother?

So what should we make of the newly named Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer? I confess to a degree of disappointment. Probably the partners have chosen to go with the names-above-the-door route because "Hurrell and Dawson" has worked well enough and adding the newer recruits' names was not much of a leap.

And I'd credit all concerned for not being driven by egotistical motives; they're far too shrewd for that. Most likely all the weird non-name names they could come up with sounded too awkward, too contrived; using their own names was perhaps the more modest route, strangely. Even so, how those names go together is important. The roll of the tongue, the easy confidence with which the names flow really matters. Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer doesn't flow; it's not easy to say, it's not easy to type, and those are not things that will improve with time and familiarity.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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