Digital, positivity and SMEs can help UK recover, say ad leaders

Leaders in the advertising industry have suggested that focusing on the positive impact of advertising, investing in digital and supporting SMEs could help the UK economy to recover.

Speaking to Campaign at the Advertising Association's Lead 2014 conference, Tim Lefroy, Cilla Snowball, Matthew Dearden, Debbie Klein and Sara Bennison talked about agencies and brands' roles in supporting the UK economy.

Lefroy the chief executive of the Advertising Association, explained that the focus of the Lead 2014 conference was to look at "mid-sized companies with the potential for high growth", and followed a report by the AA urging small and medium-sized businesses to invest in advertising.

Klein, the chief executive at Engine UK, suggested one way smaller businesses could invest was through cheaper digital marketing. She said: "Digital, social and search…is a good place to trial advertising".

Snowball, the group chairman and group chief executive at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, said that the focus needed to shift from the way advertising was viewed.

She said: "Too often advertising is looked at in terms of its effects on brands and individual businesses."

The conference, which was hosted in Kings Cross, featured Government and shadow ministers participating in discussions with adland leaders.

The MP and shadow minister Helen Goodman caused controversy by suggesting advertising was, in part, to blame for the London Riots in 2011.

However, industry leaders reinforced the positive impact of advertising on business and the economy. Bennison, the managing director for marketing at Barclays UK, said it is time to "move the narrative on" around advertising.

Dearden, the chief executive at Clear Channel UK, added: "For every pound spent on advertising there's £6 created in GDP."

He also pointed to the cultural benefits of the ad industry, and said: "A lot of the new talent in the various arts…start out in advertising."

Watch the video above for more on how adland can work with the Government and small businesses to aid the recovery of the UK economy.

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