Creativity can be UK's Yellow Brick Road after Brexit
A view from Matt Scheckner

Creativity can be UK's Yellow Brick Road after Brexit

Britain's creative industries will still punch way above their weight globally, Advertising Week boss says.

America’s foremost humourist, Mark Twain, once said: "The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it."

Twain could have been talking about Brexit because no two people seem able to agree about what it will mean for the United Kingdom’s future.

But, whatever happens, there is one constant in global commerce: the evolution and enduring power of great brands.

And it is in this that the UK excels and, for a sovereign nation of just 66 million people, it punches way above its weight.

Since we have full and complete confidence in the UK's creative industries (at least), we believe there will still be a Union Flag-paved version of the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City – regardless of what Brexit brings.

The UK is in rude, creative health to judge by Advertising Week Europe, which is returning for its seventh year in London from 18 to 21 March.

Britain may be on the edge of a (still) planned exit from the EU but we are pleased to report that this year’s Advertising Week Europe is set to be bigger than last year’s.

With roots going back to New York City in 2004, we launched here in London in 2013 and quickly evolved into one of Europe’s largest annual gatherings of decision-makers in the brand, creative, marketing, media and technology space.

There was never any question as to which European city we should come to and that remains the case today. 

Why did we plant our flag here in London in the first place? Let’s start with Abbey Road Studios, Alexander McQueen, Ascot and Aston Martin. Then there are Barclays, Barbour, the BBC, The Beatles, British Airways, BP and Burberry. 

And, at the other end of the alphabet, there are equally iconic global brands such as Unilever, Vodafone, Virgin, Vivienne Westwood, Wembley Stadium, The Who, and Wimbledon. 

Measured by global impact, the UK’s influence and impact on commerce and culture is extraordinary. And its ability to keep inventing and creating and producing augurs well for the country’s future.

The great and powerful Wizard of Oz, who was, of course, not a wizard at all but just an ordinary man from Omaha, Nebraska, said it best: "Everything you were looking for was right there with you all along." 

So as our elected leaders seek a small sliver of common ground to stand on, let optimism – not doom and gloom – reign supreme.

Everything the UK needs to succeed going forward is right here, right now.  

Many of the visionaries driving the present and future will be on our stages, inspiring the next generation at Advertising Week Europe. It’s why we came here in the first place, and why we will most certainly be back in London in 2020. 

Whether it’s a new way forward for business, a new technology, the latest fashion or a brilliant creative idea that can travel the world, the best of Britain is yet to come.

Creative-driven visionaries will outlast and outweigh elected officials on the right and the left. 

Destiny is in our own hands. It’s up to all of us to walk down that Yellow Brick Road.

Matt Scheckner is the global chief executive of Advertising Week