Media Lifeline: Growth of IAB UK

As online ad revenues soar, IAB UK has grown in strength, stature and influence since its creation

1997: After a "missionary" visit to London by members of the US Internet Advertising Bureau, a group of UK commercial website owners creates an informal group to explore the possibility of setting up a UK chapter. However, there is open hostility from existing British digital marketing groups, including the Internet Advertising Group.

2001: Incorporated as a limited company in 1998, IAB UK sets up London offices in 2000. Danny Meadows-Klue (pictured), its first chief executive, is appointed in 2001. In 2002, Meadows-Klue recruits full-time staff as online spend draws level with cinema ad revenues.

2003: Meadows-Klue, who has become the group's chairman, now passes the leadership baton on to Richard Eyre, the one-time Capital Radio boss and a former head of the ITV Network Centre. The IAB is now well funded and active across many fronts - it has monthly awards which champion the best in online advertising creativity and runs courses in partnership with the Institute of Direct Marketing.

2005: The IAB appoints the heavy-hitting Guy Phillipson (pictured), formerly the head of advertising at Vodafone, as the chief executive to take the battle further into the ad industry heartland by targeting reluctant brand advertisers like the fmcg giants.

2006: It tries to get further under the skin of the mainstream advertising community with its high-profile Engage Conference. But the creative community is reluctant to do that - engage, that is. One of the speakers, the BSkyB chief executive, James Murdoch, criticises those who haven't fully integrated online thinking into their communications. The creative boss of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, John Hegarty, calls for a fresh approach from the creative community.

Fast forward

2009: The IAB now advances its plan for world domination even further when it absorbs the Radio Advertising Bureau (now a largely digital medium) and merges with the Newspaper Marketing Agency (whose classified revenues are likewise almost wholly online). As talks with Thinkbox are also mooted, the IAB toys with the idea of changing its name to "The Advertising Bureau".


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