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AA pushes brands, agencies and media to be more ‘responsible' in new mission

AA pushes brands, agencies and media to be more ‘responsible in new mission

The Advertising Association (AA) is looking to rebuild trust in advertising by steering brands, agencies and media to be more 'responsible' in the way they work.

The trade body is poised to unveil its new mission statement today (30 January) at its Lead summit, where it will pledge "to promote the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, businesses and the economy."

Developed under the guidance of the AA’s Council, its president Keith Weed and the AA’s board, the mission statement is part of a three-year strategy with three key work streams - ‘Responsibility, Trust and Growth.’

It follows on from AA research from 2019 that found that the public's perception of the value of advertising had hit a record low of 25%. To put that in perspective, in 1992, that figure was 48%.

The findings come amid tubulent times in the ad industry's history, as advertisers grapple with issues around brand safety and climate change, after the advertising industry was put in the spotlight by activist group Extinction Rebellion.

Last week, the AA established a Climate Action group, with members of other trade bodies, advertising agencies, brands and media owners. The initiative was set up as a way for it to coordinate the industry efforts to take action against climate change.

The three-year ‘Responsibility, Trust and Growth’ strategy is the result of a six-month consultation with more than 40 representatives from across the industry, all of whom are leaders of agencies, brands, media and fellow trade associations.

As President of the AA, Weed claims that rebuilding trust is at the heart of his tenure and stresses that “ensuring advertising is responsible is a crucial factor in achieving this goal; the two things are symbiotically linked.”

He said the new mission is “deliberate in its objective to value the importance of responsible advertising to the people we serve, the society we operate in, the businesses that rely on our services for growth and to the UK economy including the many jobs we help to create.”

The AA kicked off its work on its trust workstream last year, collating a five-step plan aimed at rebuilding public trust in UK advertising. The plan tackled bombardment, excessive frequency, increasing awareness of self-regulation, data privacy and showing how brands can drive societal change.

To encouraging more responsibility practice, the AA has pledged to provide leadership and guidance on the standards expected of UK advertising. It said this will include the development of a new Responsibility Framework for the industry and the formation of new working groups around issues including Climate Change.

To tackle growth, the AA has said it will support advertising’s role as a key driver of competition and innovation. The trade body said this will include the formation of its UK Advertising Exports Group and the second year of its role as UK representative for Cannes Lions.

Stephen Woodford, chief exec AA, said: “Our Council has been very clear about the central importance of responsibility for the direction it would like us to steer the industry. The new mission provides a strong foundation to be clear about what we believe is responsible advertising. This means we will be putting a laser-sharp focus on how our industry best serves the people and the economy of the UK through all the work that we do over the coming months and years.”

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