Editorial: Will clients follow Govt's lead in backing adland?

What a shame that it takes a global recession for the Government to finally recognise what we've been saying all along about the folly of restricting advertising on "junk" food and alcohol - a move that could cost the ad, food and alcohol industries up to £300 million.

Last week, the Government admitted that further curbs on advertising, such as a 9pm watershed, would harm its plans to keep the economy moving and exacerbate the impact of the recession. In turn, it has also given those ministers who are opposed to the restrictions a much bigger arsenal of weapons with which to defend advertising freedoms.

By moving away from these costly curbs, the Government is undoubtedly helping to save jobs in adland. Importantly, it is also giving marketers every chance to contribute to keeping the economy moving. The hope now is that clients will continue investing in advertising as much as possible despite the financial climate.

All in all, the Government's plans represent a real breakthrough that gives adland the chance to demonstrate its value to the economy and to the economic wellbeing of the country. However, the industry should not rest on its laurels.

Adland's main figureheads have been working tirelessly with the Government in the past year to help foster better relations between the two, and this decision needs to be a stepping stone in ensuring that once we're though the downturn, the issue doesn't rear its head again.

This year, with Creative Britain especially, communication has been good, and the Government has been showing promising signs that it won't only give the industry a helping hand when its back is against the wall.

This is also an opportune moment to hammer home, again, all of the important work that the industry does on the Government's behalf in tackling social issues such as obesity, smoking and knife crime, whether for the Government itself, through departments such as the Home Office or the Department of Health, or for charities such as the British Heart Foundation (the sort of account that many agencies work on for free or at cost).

It has now become very clear that the next year is going to be one of the most challenging and most pivotal in the industry's, and indeed the country's, recent history. Adland needs to ensure that none of its revenue streams are lost - especially two as important as food and alcohol.

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