Rob Morrice of IAS b2b Marketing caused a stir yesterday by arguing the media and marketing industry should stop abdicating responsibility for its future to the public sector. Gordon Young agrees.
How many publicly funded initiatives aimed at helping the creative industries prosper has The Drum reported on over the last 25 years?
Dozens. And dozens. In fact too many to count. Scottish Design, the Creative Industries Development Services, Creative Edinburgh and the aptly named Wealth in Design (WIND) have all come and gone on our watch for example.
And with the latest round of Government cuts a few more – like initiatives run by North West Vision & Media – are about to bite the dust.
As a result now would be a good juncture to ask if the countless £millions invested in such projects has been well spent.
The toddlers of today – who will ultimately pay for them – may want to know what legacy the schemes have left behind. What exactly will they get out of them?
The answer may well be not a lot. The initiatives these organisations instigate rarely outlast the organisations themselves. When the public money dries up so does the enthusiasm of their supporters.
Take Vision & Media's Resign London campaign. Or its initiative to persuade more clients to use North West agencies. Both have been strangled at birth along with several other high-profile schemes now the budgets have been cut.
Rob Morrice, the managing director of IAS was on the V&M steering committee designed to attract clients into the North West.
And yesterday he called for the industry to stop relying on the public sector and to start helping itself. A good start, he said would be to complete the client initiative under its own steam.
His call to action deserves support. If it can build momentum, a scheme run by the industry for the industry would stand a far higher chance of making a difference and leaving a lasting legacy than one run by civil servants.
Ronald Reagan once famously said the most feared words in the English language were 'I'm from the Government. I'm here to help.'
He was right. Ironically if the rumpus surrounding V&M does provide a catalyst that galvanises the industry into helping itself that might not be a bad legacy in its own right. Perhaps, by accident they have hit on a better model for public sector intervention.