Brexit loomed over proceedings at LEAD 2017, the annual advertising leadership summit organised by the Advertising Association. While the industry appears resigned to the UK leaving the EU, it is broadly optimistic about its future, and was given an added boost by the insistence of Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, that advertising is seen as a key to the country's post-Brexit success. "It's one of the industries that makes me optimistic about the country's prospects," she said.
In a speech peppered with references to well-known campaigns (only one of which was less than 20 years old, a subsequent speaker noted), she sought to reassure her audience that the government was "foursquare behind the advertising industry", adding that the creative industries would have their own focus in a forthcoming green paper on the UK's Brexit position. She also urged the industry to feed back to government on the implications and opportunities of Brexit as the start of negotiations nears. But she was unable to give any assurances to agencies that they would be able to retain their staff, up to 25% of whom can come from overseas.