'We must come together with one voice' – Elizabeth Fagan's Isba lunch speech in full

Elizabeth Fagan is non-executive chairman at Boots and president of Isba

Elizabeth Fagan, president of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (Isba) used the trade group's annual lunch to call on members to work with agency partners, other trade bodies and the media and digital platforms to solve some of the biggest challenges facing brands today. Here we bring you her speech in full.

Welcome everyone to the 118th Isba Annual Lunch. It’s wonderful to see so many of our members, industry partners and friends here today.

When Isba was formed back in 1900 advertisers were dissatisfied with the information they were being given by the newspaper publishers. They wanted to know how many people were actually buying the paper not just how many were being printed.

As the budget holders for the advertising, it was the brands themselves that could bring about change and bring accountability to a burgeoning and hugely important industry.

They held the publishers to account and this new form of measurement went on to form the basis of what is now the Audit Bureau of Circulation or ABC.

Fast forward to 2019 and many of the challenges remain the same. We are still leading the charge to ensure that the industry is held to account by the advertisers who spend the money.

We constructively challenge all comers to ensure we are provided with an appropriate advertising environment for our long-nurtured brands; one where audiences can be planned and reported confidently, where regulation is effective and where our partners can be relied upon to act with a genuine sense of responsibility.

But never before have marketers been operating in such a volatile environment. So not only are we dealing with the exponential increase in the speed of technological change and the challenges that brings in terms of measurement and control but we are also dealing with political and economic uncertainty; something our speaker Tim Shipman will be exploring with us later.

As well, and maybe because of these many factors, recent Credos research showed that public trust in advertising has hit a record low. Favourability has almost halved since 48% in 1992.

So we are facing big issues within our industry and we have to take action. It is our money that is being spent.

As marketers we have a duty to identify and tackle these issues we need to demand the change required.

To do this we need to work with our agency partners, other trade bodies and the media and digital platforms. Our work on trust with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Advertising Association (AA) is one example of how we are collaborating to tackle this critical issue.

I believe Isba has never been more relevant and there has never been a more important time for us to come together with one voice.

Elizabeth Fagan is non-executive chairman at Boots and president of Isba

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