London is one of the advertising world's capital cities because of its culture, language and understanding of the thought processes necessary for effective advertising.

So claimed Hamish Pringle, director general of Britain's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the official body representing UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies - in his keynote speech at the inaugural International Conference of Innovative Advertising in Guangzhou, China.

London's agencies, said Pringle, feed off the city's many other creative 'villages' of media, film, art, design, theatre, music, fashion and games.

As a result there is a powerful concentration of 140 IPA members agencies in London, who account for about 70% of UK advertising spend, and is the EMEA 'hub' for the majority of the globe's major agency networks.

Citing the flexibility of the English language in helping to secure the UK as a key player, Pringle said the many meanings embedded in the English language and the multitude of associations that English words, letters and numerals carry - O2 being a prime example - allow UK advertising to be more meaningful and more effective.

He also outlined the IPA's Diagonal Thinking hypothesis which posits that to be truly successful in advertising and commercial communications, people need both linear and lateral thinking skills, using practical and emotional processes and straddling the arts and sciences.

Which led Pringle neatly to his final proposition: It is this special ability that true 'Adlanders' must have and it is London's - and the UK's - wealth of such people that makes it a world-leading centre of excellence.

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff