The Drum’s co-founder on why Do It Day matters at a time of cynicism in marketing

The Drum’s co-founder and editor-in-chief Gordon Young has spoken about the value of Do It Day and its ambitions to affect change in the industry over the course of a day at a time when onlookers are increasingly cynical about the state of the advertising industry.

What makes The Drum different from those cynics, Young tells Beet.TV, is that “we are genuinely very excited about how the world is developing; we are very optimistic about the role of digital and tech”. That optimism is reflected in The Drum’s strapline ‘Marketing Can Change the World’, and its event Do It Day, which works to prove this statement.

As part of Do It Day, brands such as Airbnb, Coca Cola and O2 have agreed to issue challenges to the industry to tackle important issues such as encouraging recycling, promoting gender equality and championing local businesses. Ad agencies and creative companies like STV have come on board to offer up their services, as well as companies like IBM and ClearChannel, with the latter offering access to the big digital screens in Times Square and Piccadilly. In total there are 17 challenges from 17 organisations.

“There is an awful lot going on but I think at the end of Do It Day we will really prove that marketing can change the world”, Young said.

The success of Do It Day 2015, and its growth trajectory in the UK and US, is emblematic of an industry crying out for genuine optimism. This year has seen five Cannes Lions awards returned by Grey, Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO, after it was revealed they had been won under false pretenses. Facebook and Dentsu’s separate admissions of irregularities in how they quantify what they say they offer, and what they actually do deliver to brands has fuelled transparency fears between advertisers and their media partners. This cynicism has also greeted consolidation deals such as the proposed AT&T Time Warner deal, and concerns over what business will bid for Twitter.

Speaking on the challenging media market, Young said: “The lessons we have learned is not to fight change, you have to work with the tide and the prevailing conditions to your best advantage. Running a B2B business is the same, the main thing is to focus on your target audience and serve them any way they want to get your information.”

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