UK Agencies' Charm Offensive on Boardrooms, Treasury and Public

30 April 2007

LONDON: In his inaugural address last week, Moray MacLennan, new president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (the body representing UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies) emphasized that the focus of his two-year term will be "outward facing".

Targeting the chairmen, ceos and finance directors of UK plc, the IPA will promote advertising's value, emphasizing it to be fundamental to the success of brands, companies and the British economy.

Significantly, MacLennan also plans to train his crosswires on the denizens of London EC2 and Wall Street - the investments banks, equity analysts, pension fund managers and financial journalists who influence those who sign the advertising cheques.

"We must show how creativity is inextricably linked to business success." The industry, he declared, must reposition itself at the creative end of commerce … "the engine room of value creation".

Continued MacLennan: "The majority of companies, required to give greater transparency to acquired intangible assets under international accounting standards, have chosen to hold back."

"This failure to get to grips with managing intangible value creation is a root cause of why advertising's contribution is so poorly understood in the boardroom. And is the reason why there is significant resistance to rewarding agencies related to the value they creative."

MacLennan (day job: chairman M&C Saatchi Europe) then delivered his rallying call to the boardrooms of Britain:

  • "IPA member agencies are as good, if not better at advertising than anyone else in the world. Their members are better trained, more qualified and more professional than anyone else. When it comes to monitoring and measurement their [annual] competition, the IPA Effectiveness Awards, is the most rigorous.

  • "Advertising's concern is exclusively with intangible assets (now estimated to account for two thirds of intangible assets) and organic growth - and is therefore fundamental to the value chain.

  • "IPA member agencies are best placed to help companies understand their brands and grow their businesses."
The Treasury and other government departments are not spared MacLennan's rangefinder. Nor even the British public.

"The Treasury is at the heart of Government, and we are at the heart of their prime concern - the UK's competitive position in the world economy. Advertising can be calculated to add value to the UK economy, over and above the investment itself, of some £160 billion a year."

As to the mythical man on the Clapham omnibus, MacLennan is leading the crusade to persuade him that "the power of advertising is a force for good."

View the unabridged speech by clicking here.

Data sourced from IPA Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff