The Drum Awards for Marketing - Entry Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Marketing John Whittingdale DCMS

Open up international business and educate on adblocking - The industry's advice to new culture minister Karen Bradley


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

July 15, 2016 | 6 min read

There's a new culture secretary in government, and the advertising industry wants her to listen.

department_for_culture_media_and_sport KAREN BRADLEY

Marketers are keen that Bradley hears their voice

Karen Bradley was named secretary of state for culture, media and sport in Theresa May's government shakeup yesterday (14 July), replacing John Whittingdale who was sacked from the post.

The appointment of the former chartered accountant and minister for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime has surprised the industry, with questions being posed by media commentators around about her seeming lack of interest in the creative arts.

The Advertising Association meanwhile released a statement saying that Bradley and new business secretary Greg Clarke are "long removed from advertising" and its contribution to the economy. The IPA's president Tom Knox described her as "a bit of an unknown quantity," saying the group was keen to see what her priorities would be going forward.

With the industry in a tizzy over her appointment, The Drum caught up with a host of marketers to find out what they'd like to see during Bradley's reign and how she can follow on from Whittingdale's BBC and Channel 4 plans.

Scroll down to see what they want from the new department for culture, media and sport head.

Anita Rajdev, chief financial officer, TH_NK

Anita Rajdev, chief financial officer, TH_NK

“With Bradley’s appointment, we now have an expert in finance following a predecessor with a background in economics. It’s no bad thing to have a numbers person covering the broad remit of minister for culture, media and sport. Certainly the numbers don’t lie – the UK’s creative industries, a small part of her new remit, are worth a record £84bn to the UK economy according to the Government’s latest figures.

"With a light touch, we can achieve even more. Yet there are potential roadblocks she’ll need to overcome; Whittingdale made few friends with his approach to the BBC’s restructuring. There’s also the question of messaging – what should the media and advertising industry be allowed to convey?

"Sadiq Khan recently raised the issue of banning body shaming ads, and it’ll be for Bradley to decide whether industry self-regulation trumps censorship. Likewise for ads aimed at children.

"Perhaps crucially to the media industry as a whole, Bradley should build on Whittingdale’s recognition that ad blocking poses a serious threat to the industry’s future. Provided Bradley keeps an open dialogue with key industry bodies, the industry should continue to prosper.”

Jim Dowling, managing director, HSE Cake

Jim Dowling, managing director, HSE Cake

"Karen Bradley’s job is to prove the tangible value of the DCMS to the creative sector. Anyone saying they know what’s going to happen over the next year is either lying, or fooling themselves.

"Uncertainty will be the norm, at least for a while, and disruptive change usually makes people nervous about spending money. So the TV advertising market will be an early indicator. But areas such as sport, music and entertainment sponsorship tend to be more stable as the deals are already done and the activation money has been allocated, at least for now.

"Football is a good example, because the Premier League is a world famous British success story. The brands clustering around the new season know they have invested in something that is going to be popular and successful whatever the political chaos going on between Westminster and Brussels. There aren’t many businesses that can offer that type of certainty.

"Message to Karen Bradley: find similar stories and help them."

Jonathan Trimble, chief executive and founder, 18 Feet & Rising

Jonathan Trimble, CEO and Founder – 18 Feet and Rising

"At a time when the whole world needs a reset, the appointment of Karen Bradley as Culture Secretary seems as benign as it is unknown. The reaction from creative industries has mostly been to lodge public reminders of the incredible contribution creativity makes to the UK economy in uncertain times. But nobody appears to be stirred by the hope of new visions positive or negative.

"Instead, light banter about what books she might like reading, being a tax officer and David Beckham fan. None of this is helpful right now. We are going through gears of new leadership being appointed but it hardly feels a rethink of the very machine itself. If anything this is a statement that creative and media industries are not a priority.

"At times of national consciousness, culture has a huge role to play. But nor this role, nor this appointment are seeking to do anything with that I’d suggest."

Rebecca Crook, business development director, the Bio Agency

Rebecca Crook

"The culture secretary role encompasses a wide ranging role from protecting the national heritage of the country through to promoting cultural expression including the creative industries that we operate in so it’s a tough role for anyone to take up.

"However, Karen Bradley’s background as a chartered accountant and what would seem a limited knowledge of the creative sector does pose questions on how she will quickly get a handle on some of the big issues.

"There is huge pressure on the government to regulate advertising on foods with high sugar and fat content through to dealing with the overhaul of how the BBC is operated.

"The creative industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories right now with latest government figures showing that the number of jobs in the creative sector have risen by almost 20 per cent since 2011, with the sector expanding at nearly triple the rate of the wider economy.

"So Bradley will need to ensure that we continue to thrive and take advantage of new opportunities opening up to do business across the world whilst rapidly tackling some of the challenges we face in the UK."

Marketing John Whittingdale DCMS

Content created with:


TH_NK is a digital transformation agency. We work with clients like Shop Direct, ASOS, LV=, Channel 4, Pottermore and Atom Bank to set and realise their digital ambitions.

10 years has taught us that the need for digital transformation comes in waves. When, in a perfect storm organisations are no longer aligned to a common goal, customers’ expectations outpace their experience, and technology becomes a constraint rather than an enabler.

We uniquely blend the skills and talent from the three kinds of partner clients typically need today. We combine the business focus of consultancies, the customer centricity of agencies, and the tech capability of systems integrators. We believe this makes us a true partner for change.

We are proud to be one of only a few Sitecore Platinum Partners in the UK.

Find out more

HSE Cake

Find out more

18 Feet & Rising

Find out more

Bio Agency

Find out more

More from Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +