NEW YORK: The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) have announced that they are to join forces in a move aimed at strengthening links between the advertising industry and academia.

As of July 1, the AEF will become a subsidiary of the ANA as the two organisations seek to broaden the industry's presence on campus, bring increased marketing content to the industry and provide newfound opportunities for education, research and a renewed focus on advertising's role in culture, society and the economy.

Ultimately they want to attract the best talent to an industry that is no longer a first choice for creatives.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported one estimate that around half of the creative jobs available for copywriters, designers, directors and content creators are not at agencies, with tech companies, social media outfits and new media start-ups all competing for the same people.

"The war for talent is one dimension of the broader struggle for ad agencies as the digital revolution in marketing disrupts their businesses," it said.

Even if agencies do manage to employ the best talent out of college they are in danger of losing them a few years later as they seek new challenges and better salaries. Staff turnover at the junior level has been running as high as 35% a year.

Bob Jeffrey, non-executive chairman of J. Walter Thompson, added that there is a "pop-culture cachet that some of these new players can offer, which is attractive to people in their 20s and 30s."

But the ANA is hoping that the new partnership with the AEF can start to change that. "Our deep integration with professors and students will encourage the very best talent to join and stay with our industry," said Bob Liodice, ANA president and CEO.

And Paula Alex, his AEF counterpart, reported that "our programs and initiatives are at an all-time high, and our educational content is more robust than ever".

Data sourced from ANA, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff