As we approach the millennium, the advertising and media industry
faces a metamorphosis from the tried and tested strategies in use
throughout most of the 20th century. New technologies, such as digital
television, are bringing greater choice to every household and the
convergence of technology is blurring the distinctions between
traditional forms of communications and making access to information
simpler and faster for all of us.
Concurrently, the effect of globalisation of business is intensifying,
creating more global brands, more global advertising and huge multimedia
conglomerates. These global media companies open the door to negotiation
on a regional and global scale but also raise concerns about the media
monopolies and the independence of the supply of information - consider
the recent controversy over Chris Patten’s memoirs.
These developments could ultimately lead to legislation which is
implemented on a global scale.
Against this background, what is the role of the International
Advertising Association and can it remain relevant in the 21st century?
Founded in 1938 with the aim of promoting the role and benefits of
advertising in the modern economy, the IAA is the only global
partnership of advertisers, advertising agencies and media and marketing
As such, in the fluid media environment, the role of the IAA has never
been more important and, with the resources available to it, it is
ideally placed to offer a pertinent and informed perspective on the
transformation that is taking place within our industry. It is also best
placed, as a global organisation, to lobby for the continued freedom of
commercial speech and consumer choice. In a business which is often
criticised for a lack of investment in training, the IAA also offers
invaluable support, particularly through training schemes.
The IAA World Congress, held every two years, provides the perfect forum
to debate these issues and the 36th World Congress in Cairo has taken as
its theme, Interaction: The 21st Century. Guest speakers from a wide
range of backgrounds will discuss the impact of technology on the
consumer and on the advertising industry, from both a global and a
These speakers are at the frontline of the changing developments in our
industry and are guaranteed to offer an interesting perspective on
change, whether from an advertising, media, research or marketing point
of view. Their presentations will help set the scene for London 2000 -
the 37th IAA World Congress to be held in London in two years.