On the campaign couch
A view from Jeremy Bullmore

On the campaign couch

I’m a civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and one of my work streams is to facilitate the interfaces between key stakeholders within the creative industries and to position London as conducive to film and video production, especially ex-UK. Unbeknown to me, my partner registered our home with a location-finding company and yesterday he told me that it’s been chosen for a big shoot for which the fees will be £650 per eight-hour day, plus 50 per cent hourly oveårtime. This could add up to a sum not unadjacent to £3,250 or more if they shoot at night, which is likely assuming the neighbours don’t raise objections. My question is whether I’d find myself in a conflict of interest situation if I agree to let them use our place?

I have little sympathy for people who describe their job as facilitating interfaces. I don’t know what an interface is and have
no idea why it needs facilitating. But if it means anything, it presumably means matchmaking; for instance, introducing a film company in search of a suitable location to a suitable location. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Should you be called in front of your departmental police and
accused of failing to recognise a clear conflict of interest, tell them that you were merely facilitating an interface. You should be a lot more worried about the neighbours.

Dear Jeremy, Should the ad industry enjoy the same tax breaks as other creative industries such as film, TV and video games? Or are we kidding ourselves that we’re in the same bracket as these often cash-strapped entertainment industries and therefore worthy of the same sort of government support?

Many readers seem to be confused about the "The Creative Industries", so let me clarify. There’s no absolute agreement on what constitutes a Creative Industry. Both Antique Markets and Advertising are listed, so we need to identify a common factor. One favoured criterion is the creation and commercial exploitation of intellectual properties – preferably for export. It’s hard to see how either Antique Markets or Advertising fits comfortably into such a definition. Antique markets don’t make much (or if they do, they shouldn’t), but they can at least up the value of what already exists. Advertising doesn’t seem to do either. When was the last time that the advertising industry created an intellectual property that was sold or licensed abroad for serious money?

Nobody knows exactly how much the Creative Industries as a whole contributes to gross value added, let alone the individual sub-sectors. As Wikipedia helpfully puts it: "The complex supply chains in the creative industries sometimes make it challenging to calculate accurate figures for the gross value added by each sub-sector. This is particularly the case for the service-focused sub-sectors such as advertising." Quite so.

To sum up: advertising, which may or may not be an industry, may or may not be a part of an industry that may or may not exist. If it is and does, nobody knows whether or not it contributes; and, if so, by how much, if at all.

I do hope that helps. There’s still a respectable minority that believes the notion of the Creative Industries was a cunning creation of that smoke-and-mirrors master Tony Blair, designed to make us feel richer than we really were.

With all this in mind, I wonder if you still think that the taxpayer would welcome the opportunity to chip in a few million quid to help support a trade that’s widely thought to be a bit dodgy, that last reported an
annual turnover of £16 billion and which houses some of the better-paid people in the land?

Tell you what: try putting this proposition to our new Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She’s been an adperson herself so is bound to be sympathetic. (You might like to suggest that there are several key interfaces that need serious facilitating.)

Do let me know how you get on.

I’m a 45-year-old male executive creative director and am very happily married with kids. I’ve never strayed like many of my peers but, recently, I’ve found myself drawn to one of our young creatives. However, what really confuses me is that it’s another man. Is this just a midlife crisis?

This is not an advertising question, but it may have an advertising answer: procrastinate. Blurt things out and all hell will break loose – irreversibly. Bottle it up, day by day, and you’ll probably get over it. For everyone’s sake, I hope so.

"Ask Jeremy", a collection of Jeremy Bullmore’s Campaign columns, is available from Haymarket, priced £10.

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Jeremy Bullmore welcomes questions via campaign@haymarket.com or Campaign,174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP