Brexit: UK's adland feels the fallout

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How is Europe's advertising capital handling its separation from the European Union?

Last Thursday's decision by UK citizens to quit the European Union has sent shockwaves through London, the capital of the continent's advertising industry.

From shock at the failure of Remain advertising to sway voters to prognostications about UK adland's financial future, industry insiders have been taking stock and steeling themselves for big changes.

Brexit: The industry view
Leading executives from the marketing and advertising industries share their views on the EU referendum result, including archrival CEOs Martin Sorrell and Maurice Lévy:

Martin Sorrell, WPP: The uncertainty will be considerable and will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity. This is not good news, to say the least. However, we must deploy that stiff upper lip and make the best of it. Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, WPP has not. We are as European as ever, and will become even more so.

Maurice Lévy, Publicis Groupe: As a very sincere European and somebody who believes in the dream of Europe, I feel personally extremely sad. It will have serious consequences in the future, first and foremost for the UK. I support our people in the UK and stand by them. Clearly, I will show that we are there for the long term. Read more.

Ad market fears a repeat of 2008 with Brexit crisis
Take a look at how sterling and share prices plunged in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result, and it’s easy to fear the worst.

But that fear is a gut reaction, based partly on memories of 2008-2009. … Let’s not forget that the UK ad market has been one of the strongest in the developed world. It was growing at a rate of 5% to 6% until June 23, and that follows six consecutive years of growth from 2010 onwards. ... Optimists hope the UK government and the European Union might be able to reach an accommodation to maintain some of Britain’s links to the single market. In that case, advertising might hold up surprisingly well. Read more.

The Remain campaign ads that got away
Several of the agencies involved in the "Stronger In" campaign for the EU referendum have shared some ad executions that never saw the light of day.

"We never normally release work that we produced on behalf of a client but that hasn’t run," Moray MacLennan, worldwide chief executive of M&C Saatchi, says. "But this time is different. We are still emotionally engaged, the issue is — and will remain — of vital importance and it might help to air some of these ideas."

Could the Remain camp have made a stronger case to the public if any of these ads had made the cut? Judge for yourself. Read more.

UK adspend takes hit after Brexit vote
Marketers are braced for a major slowdown in spending in the wake of the Brexit result, with certain industries, such as housebuilding, cancelling media spend immediately. Airlines and financial services are also expected to cut their marketing after sterling and share prices slumped. EasyJet and Foxtons have already issued post-Brexit profit warnings.

Adrian Coleman, group CEO of VCCP Partnership, said he expected the UK ad market to fall "between 5% and 10%" in the next six months. He is already budgeting for a 5% drop in fee income for the full year. Read more.

Adland alarmed by Brexit threat to spend and staff
Industry bosses have expressed fears that the ad market will slow sharply and European workers will find it harder to work in the UK because of Brexit.

Some advertisers have already been pulling spend after sterling and stock markets slumped in the wake of last week’s referendum result. For example, Adam & Eve/DDB received a call on Friday from one US client who pulled a pan-European £1.5m fee project because of Brexit. Group M, Britain’s biggest media buyer, warned brands will "invest less" but has dismissed the threat of "economic catastrophe." Read more.

Newspaper sales jump up to 20% after Brexit vote drama
Newspapers have reported a huge spike in sales over the weekend because of the Brexit vote drama, with some titles such as The Times recording their highest circulation of the year. The Times said it added 100,000 copies, or 18%, on Saturday and The Guardian gained 70,000, or more than 20%. Read more.

Tech leaders call for optimism post Brexit vote
Martha Lane Fox, who co-founded, Bruce Daisley, vice-president of direct sales at Twitter in Europe, and Ed Wray, co-founder of Betfair, have called on entrepreneurs to stay optimistic following the Brexit vote.

More than 50 tech bosses wrote a letter to the Evening Standard to ask business leaders to look ahead and not dwell on the nation’s vote to leave the European Union. The letter said that the UK needs to show that it "will never stop being a competitive, entrepreneurial and dynamic place to innovate and create jobs." Read more.

Agencies' anger at failure of "Stronger In" campaign
As the country begins to process the effects of last Thursday’s decision to quit the European Union, there’s consensus that "Stronger In" and its agency partners failed to create a compelling and cohesive communications campaign to convince voters to stick with the EU. So what went wrong?

All of the agencies involved that have commented – mostly off the record – for this piece insist they are not passing the buck for the failure of the campaign. But a clear picture emerges of an ineffectual, unfocused and strategically barren process led by a disjointed committee of cross-party middleweights. Read more.

Brexit group thanks US agency for social media and target-messaging support
The co-chair of Leave.EU has thanked the Washington, DC-based public affairs firm it says played a vital role in its campaigns, and bested what he termed "establishment pollsters."

Leave.EU was launched last year by UKIP-supporting businessman Arron Banks. Goddard Gunster, a referendum specialist based in the US who has been on the winning side of more than 30 referenda, was engaged by the campaign early on.

A statement from Banks released this week noted that Leave.EU had attained a larger social media following than the two other main Brexit groups, the official campaign Vote Leave and Grassroots Out. Read more.

A nation divided: Brexit findings so far
From Deborah Mattson, a founding director at BritainThinks: "The truth is that very few of us saw Brexit coming. And even fewer of us have a clear understanding of the reasons why 52% of us decided to vote that way. This, in turn, speaks volumes about how disconnected so many of us are from the national psyche — even those of us whose jobs depend on our consumer understanding.

"At BritainThinks, we’ve been monitoring responses to the campaign and its aftermath. Here are five things that we have learned so far." Read more.


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