Keith Weed, Unilever’s former CMO and now president of the UK’s Advertising Association, used a speech at Advertising Week in New York last week to call on the US ad industry to work with their British counterparts to restore trust in advertising and the media.
Speaking to Marketing Week ahead of the event, he warned that trust in advertising is in decline around the world, in part because the industry is no longer as localised or as country-specific as it once was.
But with the rise of “truly global” media platforms – such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter – there is a real need for the Advertising Association (AA) to engage with other countries, he said.
“There are truly global platforms which gives an opportunity for the AA to engage with other countries to really look at what are the issues, how can we learn from each other and, importantly, how can we leverage similar solutions to really start addressing what has been a long-term issue,” Weed explained.
“The US is a natural place to start. It is the world’s largest media market and there are close partnerships with the AA and our US partners,” he added.
Like Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, Weed has been warning for some time that the advertising industry needs to deal with the trust issue as a matter of urgency.
He outlined many of the problems when he spoke at the AA’s annual Lead conference in London in January, which a few weeks later led to the trade body (also a representative of agencies and media owners) issuing a five-point action plan.
The organisation urged the industry to reduce ad bombardment, address excessive frequency and re-targeting, raise awareness of UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority, ensure that data privacy matters, and showcase advertising as a force for good.
On the last recommendation, Weed pointed out that advertising plays a key role in helping to fund so many “positive things”, such as news provision, TV, radio and other media.
“What we would like to see is how relevant [the UK plan] is and how that can equally be built on and leveraged with our US partners,” Weed said.
To that end, AA delegates, along with other UK industry bodies like the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, were due to meet representatives from the Association of National Advertisers and the 4A’s to explore whether the AA’s plan could work in the US.
“It is early days, but we are off to a good start. The most important thing is everyone recognises this is an issue and there is a broad commitment to addressing it,” said Weed. “Engaging with our US partners will be another positive step.”
Sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by WARC staff