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The IPA's Round up 2015 - views from Bristol & Manchester

The Cobbler, the Craft and the Apprentice

Andy Reid, Managing Director at McCann Bristol and IPA City Head for the South West, reflects on the city’s creative achievements in 2015 and his resolutions for maintaining its profile in 2016.

When members of the creative industries in Bristol came together in October at the IPA’s Creative Bristol event to celebrate what is great about the city, they discussed how it can make itself a more attractive proposition to potential clients, investors and top talent.

The consensus of opinion was overwhelmingly that there was a little of the cobbler’s shoes in the way Bristol publicises itself; producing fantastic creative work for clients but perhaps not fully maximising opportunities to market and brand itself.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been some really innovative craftsmanship from Bristol’s creative industries in 2015. Aardman had another great year with the success of the Shaun the Sheep movie and the subsequent Shaun in the City exhibition that attracted crowds to Bristol over the summer.

Meanwhile, the BBC’s Natural History Unit again produced jaw dropping programming and Banksy’s Dismaland put Weston-super-Mare on the map. With Bristol also being the European Green Capital, this also helped raise our profile, and the city’s creative agencies continued to deliver award winning campaigns for clients across the board.

So what can we do as marketing professionals to help Bristol compete against other creative hotspots in the UK and around the World? There are two clear resolutions for the year ahead.

Put Creativity on the Map

In Bristol, there is a higher concentration of jobs in creative and high-tech economies than the UK as a whole. In fact, the ratio of creative jobs in the city is the third highest in the UK.

The result of this weighting in favour of the creative industries is that there is a vast amount of innovative work that Bristol can show off to the UK and the rest of the world. We need to make this our priority in 2016 and continue to use the city as a platform to publicise our creativity.

Invest in Talent

But it’s not just about what’s happening now – it’s also about investing in the future.

When I speak with students and graduates there’s an assumption that to get ahead in our industry they need to earn their stripes in London. It is clear that many of them are not aware of the fantastic opportunities and quality of life that Bristol has to offer.

I am always impressed with the talent out there and in 2016 agencies need to work closely with regional educational institutions to prove to students and undergraduates that careers can flourish in Bristol.

The Creative Pioneers scheme has enabled McCann and other agencies to take on school leaver apprentices and introduce them to marketing from an insider’s perspective. As an agency we are already reaping the rewards and will continue to do so into 2016.

So, as we draw to the end of another fantastic year, and look ahead to 2016 with a fresh piece of paper, we need to be prepared to showcase our work and give young creatives of the future the opportunity to have the right tools to do the job. If we can achieve this, our businesses will benefit and Bristol’s upward trajectory will continue.


Jackie Holt, Managing Partner, BJL, and IPA City Head for Manchester looks back on a creative year and forward to yet more in 2016.

The consensus is clear: Manchester’s creative industry is thriving. Sprightly new start-ups are rubbing shoulders with well-established companies, and at both ends of the scale, the work they’re delivering is more innovative than ever.

From Northern Quarter to Media City, from the Sharp Project to the leafier suburbs, if you’re a creative – in its broadest sense – the North West is one of the top-tier places in Europe to test your ability.

In 2016, the exciting challenge is to unify all of this talent, and foster greater collaboration — not only within the local creative sector, but, with the ever increasing reach of Manchester International Airport, with major international organisations.

2016's resolution

Next year’s resolution should be to help expedite Manchester’s transformation into a hothouse: one that accelerates the stature of the city's existing and emerging creatives:

-boosting the pool of emerging creatives and providing a community spirit that ensures they stay in the area

-encouraging true social diversity among them with the host of apprenticeship initiatives, like the IPA’s Creative Pioneers

- bringing into our sector the new analytical & digital minds we need for the new communications & engagement landscape

-creating high profile opportunities for talent retention & recruitment where all industry organisations work as one.

Finding new ways to showcase Manchester’s tremendous talent might be the tangible step-change we need. It’ll need smart organisation, clear direction and funding, but Manchester has the skill, leaders and means to provide this. Let’s aim for 2016 being the year we can work together to make things happen.

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