How industry insiders and consumers view advertising

Geoffrey Precourt

"What should this industry stand for? What should it do?" Chris Weil, chairman/ceo of Momentum Worldwide, asked the audience in his early-morning address at the 95th annual conference held by the 4A's.

"First of all: what we do works. We forget that this industry very simply creates demand by building strong brands. As we create demand, we drive growth in companies. As we drive growth in companies, we drive the economy forward. And as we drive the economy forward, we drive jobs forward."

Companies in the US, he continued, spend $280 billion on advertising a year: "That's 20% of the country's total economic output. And each dollar spent on advertising generates nearly $20, and $9 in additional sales."

Weil, in the first month of a two-year term as chairman of the 4A's, also had a reality check for his audience. To keep advertising on pace with evolving global economies and markets, he suggested, the industry must attract better talent; but it also must do a better job of selling itself.