"We don't have a simple message" - Advertising Association president and CEO of BT Retail Gavin Patterson talks industry research findings
Gavin Patterson, president of the Advertising Association and CEO of BT Retail speaks to The Drum following the release of research by Deloitte, that he helped commission, which found that the advertising industry contributes £100 billion to the UK economy. How long has this piece of research taken to come to fruition? It's taken eight months to do research - we talked last year about how we could put together a more convincing case for the value of advertising and marketing to the economy. We were contrasting this industry with other industries and we wanted to talk about it more convincingly. It's a very thorough piece of work but there are three very powerful things that we wanted. We wanted thoroughness but we wanted simplicity at the same time. The three things for me were that advertising drives growth, not the other way around. That may sound very obvious but it is a perennial debate in our industry - when times are tough should I cut advertising and when I want to move into a growth cycle, what is the right approach? This study shows that advertising is the cause of growth rather than the consequence of it. The second conclusion was that for every pound spent on advertising, it's worth £6 to the economy as a whole which can be used comparatively to other industries so we can make the pitch in boardrooms and in businesses and indeed to the economy as a whole of the value. Thirdly the number of jobs. 550,000 jobs directly and indirectly involved in marketing and related services - and those are high quality jobs. Why has the value of the advertising industry not been recognised? We don't have a simple message and it is a very fragmented industry, hopefully this report provides a brief that everybody can get behind. Secondly, what we've been trying to do is to encourage the different trade bodies to rally behind the association as the one place where everybody comes together, from media owners, advertising agencies, marketing agencies and brand owners and use the Advertising Association as that platform that can convey the message. What do you do you expect to see happen next? This isn't a silver bullet in itself. It is the start of a simpler, more coherent campaign that begins to grow our industry and the value it brings to the economy, so that when it comes to the debate as to how the money gets allocated in boardrooms, in Government - that now we get fair recognition of the contribution that advertising and marketing makes. So it's an ongoing programme rather than a particular mission in itself.