THE BOOK OF LISTS: BEST DIARY STORIES OF 2002 - Lawyers predict it's not all doom and gloom for the ad industry in 2003

As a Christmas treat to our readers, Lewis Silkin's Marketing Services Law Group is pleased to offer Campaign its ten predictions for the advertising industry for 2003. (Readers who suggest that this is the first time Lewis Silkin has given them anything for nothing and isn't it more usual for bloodsuckers such as advertising lawyers to charge £350 an hour are invited at this point to step outside with Roger Alexander or Brinsley Dresden.)

1. Market conditions

In 2003, the WPP group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, will continue to predict that the advertising market will not pick up until 2004 and will announce that WPP has made a strategic decision to return to its roots by concentrating on wire, plastic and packaging.

2. People and pay

The number of "freelancers" will for the first time equal the number of those in "permanent" employment. These freelancers will not be paid in the traditional "cash" sense, but will be issued with share options in the agency where they work. Although these share options will not have any value whatsoever in the strict "monetary" sense, they will be redeemable for Nectar points.

3. Mergers and acquisitions

The Cordiant Group will defy market expectations by recording a highly successful year, but will then be split up for sale anyway. Agencies within the group will be put up for sale individually, on the basis of buy one, get one free.

4. Media insurance

A high-profile celebrity will be caught snorting cocaine in the company of an underage prostitute while attending a party to celebrate the launch of his new television campaign promoting a healthy breakfast cereal for all the family. As a result, a major insurance underwriter will announce that henceforth "death and disgrace" insurance will be known by the simpler and more accurate name of "death" insurance.

5. European regulation

The German government will propose a new draft directive on unfair competition to ensure that Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises are not disadvantaged by unfair practices in other parts of Europe, such as sales, discounts and expensive advertising campaigns by larger rivals.

6. Royal imagery

The Advertising Standards Authority will amend the rules concerning use of royal images in advertising as Buckingham Palace announces that The Queen has agreed to become the new spokesperson for Claims Direct.

7. Tobacco sponsorship

In response to the tight new rules concerning promotion of tobacco products, Wimbledon Football Club will announce that it has abandoned proposals to relocate to Milton Keynes and will instead be moving to a small market town, where it shall be playing under its new name, Marlborough FC.

8. Taste and decency

Having shocked the British public with naked images of Sophie Dahl in poster advertisements in the UK, YSL will be at the centre of further controversy when it brings over its existing campaign from France featuring full-frontal photographs of a naked man. The ASA will reject complaints that the ads will cause serious or widespread offence when it is established that the English model is better endowed than his French counterpart.

9. Image rights

David Beckham will follow the example of his wife by taking decisive action to protect his name against trademark infringement by third parties, resulting in a High Court action against a well-known brand of German lager.

10. Age discrimination

Throughout the ad industry, men in their thirties will adopt a fashion for shaven heads as agencies begin to sack all executives on their 40th birthday as a pre-emptive measure in anticipation of anti-age discrimination legislation. Meanwhile, all their female counterparts will continue to dye their hair and lie about their age.


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