LONDON: "Woe and thrice woe, unless ..." warns Britain's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, having dusted down its crystal ball to peer ten years hence into its members' destiny.

Ad agencies face "a shrinking business future" unless they adapt to fast-shifting consumer trends. Which, believes the IPA, boils down to invading the 'here be Dragons' domain of 'non-traditional' marketing.

The IPA, which represents all major UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies, joined forces with the Experian-owned Future Foundation to produce a report The Future of Advertising and Agencies: A 10-Year Perspective.

The 64-page tome correlates data from the Advertising Association with published information from the Bellwether Report, the Direct Marketing Association, the Institute of Sales Promotion and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Summarised, the IPAFuture Foundation report warns that:

  • If agencies don't reinvent themselves they won't survive over the next ten years.

  • The worst case scenario is that commercial advertising will face real decline, growing as little as 1.2% per annum if agencies don't sit up and take notice of the predicted trends in communications.

  • Media owners - or even consumers themselves - could end up in the driving seat.

  • By 2016 traditional advertising will shrink at the expense of consumer-influenced content and brand-influenced editorial so agencies will need both to innovate and evolve into new territories.

  • They will also need to assume multiple roles such as: agency as media brand owner; agency as joint venture partner; agency as content collaborator; agency as programme producer; agency as network creator; agency as data provider; and agency as data aggregator.
The report is claimed to be the first fully comprehensive overview of the UK advertising marketplace.

One of its key recommendations is a proposed reclassification of the ad industry. For example: instead of classifications such as 'above the line / below the line / new media', the industry should substitute 'screen versus non-screen' (ie TV versus press) or 'two way versus one way '(ie internet vs outdoor).

Comments IPA president David Pattison: "During my time as IPA President, I have talked a lot about 'putting the business back into the ad business'. While this is very appropriate for the short and medium term, long term planning is also essential if we are to maintain our world leading position."

For further information on the report click here.

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