The Government has told the advertising industry it must modernise
itself in order to enjoy continuing growth.
The Blairite message came from a taskforce on the creative industries,
chaired by the culture secretary, Chris Smith, and which includes Eric
Salama, a board director at WPP.
Its report identifies key issues confronting advertising such as agency
structures which have changed little in the past 50 years; too few
talented people being attracted to the industry; and ’negative
perceptions’ of it among clients and prospective employees.
The taskforce says the industry must focus on its clients’ needs and
meet the challenges of the global market, as well as competition from
new design and strategic consultancies.
’The industry’s long-term position is seen to be strong,’ the report
says. ’Growth will be driven by expansion in the UK and world economies
and by the growing number of organisations in the public and private
sectors which want to differentiate themselves.’
It suggests advertising will survive the slowdown in the British economy
next year, since ’most agencies ensure that margins are protected during
Agencies also stand to benefit by diversifying and developing expertise
in non-media specific marketing communications, the report adds, citing
’the internet, digital and satellite TV’ among a series of ’real
opportunities for the industry’.
Although the taskforce estimates Britain’s creative industries - which
employ 1.4 million people - could create 50,000 extra jobs over the next
three years, it gives no specific figure for advertising.
Current employment is estimated at 96,000, of which 63 per cent are
women and 19,000 self-employed. The contribution of advertising to the
national economy is #2.9 billion a year, with net earnings of UK
agencies running at about #1 billion.