Advertising Association launches Export Month in run-up to Brexit

Effort aims to boost UK advertising exports currently worth £6bn a year.

The Advertising Association has teamed up with the Department for International Trade and the IPA to launch Export Month in March in the run-up to Brexit to champion the UK ad industry’s export efforts.

The AA, DIT and IPA – which united last year to form Promote UK, an initiative to support UK advertising around the world – are taking part in a string of events, including the Shanghai International Advertising Festival, a trade visit to Tokyo, South by Southwest in Texas and Advertising Week Europe in London.

"It’s very easy for some advertisers and customers to think we’ve pulled up the drawbridge and we haven’t," James Murphy, chairman of the AA and outgoing group chief executive of Adam & Eve/DDB, said, referring to Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union on 29 March.

"We have a world-class industry and it’s more important than ever for us to be out there in the face of world opportunities."

Murphy said it was significant that the DIT is "not just providing moral and spiritual support" but also "providing financial support", although he declined to disclose a figure.

The DIT is helping to fund a delegation to the SHIAF on 4-8 March, the UK ad industry’s "takeover" of the British Music Embassy for a day at SXSW on 8 March and a trip by the Advertising Producers Association to Tokyo during 11-14 March.

Murphy continued: "It’s important that the industry knows it's happening and they can get involved. Anyone in the industry that thinks they’ve got goods and services to showcase to key customers in China, North America or continental Europe should be talking to the AA."

He was bullish about the UK ad industry’s prospects after Brexit because London, in particular, offers a deep well of talent and capabilities for foreign companies that want to build their brands globally.

"There is no reason we should lose our footing as a hub for excellence in creativity, strategy and technology," Murphy said.

"Our industry may be able to boss its way through Brexit by sheer scale because of the number of people gathered together in London.

"There’s an unmatched mass of creative and strategic talent and technological skills in London. Amsterdam and Berlin are struggling to amass the critical talent."

He cited how Adam & Eve/DDB won Jim Beam as a client in North America and went on to carry out 75% of the work in its London agency in the first year.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the AA, said: "The UK stands at an important crossroads in its relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.

"Export Month will act as a celebration of what we do best in UK advertising – a multinational workforce servicing a global client base via a winning combination of creativity, innovation and technological expertise."

The AA’s think tank, Credos, will publish a report on UK advertising exports during Advertising Week Europe.

The UK’s export of advertising services more than doubled to £5.8bn between 2009 and 2016, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. 

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