Agency heads share their 2023 ad industry predictions

Looking ahead in 2023

From attention metrics, to inclusivity progress, to advancing our efforts to address the climate crisis and more…. our agency heads set out what they’re most looking forward to, or looking out for, for the industry this year.

Julian Douglas, IPA President and Vice Chairman and International CEO, VCCP:

As a roller coaster enthusiast, I am looking forward to 2023 and expect it to be one heck of a ride. Most financial commentators predict there will be a rough start to the year. But there can be a strong finish with no doubt many twists and turns along the way.

I believe in the power of creativity to accelerate opportunity. In 2023, I will be looking out for those agencies and companies that share this belief, who hold their nerve and invest in new ideas and technologies whilst continuing to uphold the enduring principles of the brand to stimulate growth and deliver results.           

Alex Uprichard, Managing Director, IMA-HOME and IPA City Head for Leeds, Yorkshire and Humberside:

We will we start to see more and more attention metrics coming into play across the industry, and how can they be standardised across media owners?

I am looking forward to seeing the impact of advanced targeting capabilities through platforms like ITVX, the development of Meta and obviously what happens to Twitter now Elon is at the helm.

I am sure we will start to see more and more creative solutions in higher distraction digital environments, especially as targeting capability fades. Never has integration of audience understanding with message, media and moment needed more alignment to drive success. As a genuinely full-service, integrated agency, we’re here for it!

Gill Jarvie, IPA Chair for Scotland and Head of Client Services, Republic of Media:

In 2023 I am looking forward to seeing more regional agencies achieve IPA Effectiveness Accreditation. The process of accreditation recognizes the culture of effectiveness within agencies rather than resources and so is achievable for agencies of any size. At the heart of my own agenda, I believe wholeheartedly that a focus on effectiveness will produce better work and strengthen client relationships. Who doesn’t want that?

Pip Hulbert, UK CEO, Wunderman Thompson and IPA Effectiveness Leadership Group Chair:

It’s no secret that next year will be tough, and brands are going to be scrutinising numbers and budgets more than ever before. It’ll force marketing teams to step back and take a more holistic approach of all their marketing activity but, although a challenge, it’s a real chance for agencies to step up and keep creativity at the top of the agenda.

Valerie Ludlow, IPA Chair for Northern Ireland and CEO, ASG & Partners:

2023 is likely to be another tough year, but having weathered the Covid storm of 2020/21, we have learned to be more resilient. We’ve re-engineered our systems and approach to work to survive, and these lessons will stand us in good stead to ride out the next 12 months. Our business has assessed where the risks will be, but we have also identified new opportunities and possibilities to grow and thrive, and I think that will be very exciting!

Richard Aldiss, Managing Director, McCann Manchester and IPA City Head for Manchester and the North West:

Looking ahead to 2023, I am looking forward to seeing the results of the March 23 All In Census and seeing what progress and actions are born from this. I think the All In work delivered over the last couple of years has been hugely beneficial in highlighting and steering our industry toward a more inclusive future.

Ben Sharpe, Head of Integrated Production adam&eveDDB and Anna Murray, Head of Production, Mother and IPA Production Policy Group co-Chairs:

2023 is set to be another turbulent year for our industry. With both global and domestic economic factors continuing to significantly impact our clients and agencies, we’re steeling ourselves for challenges to come.  But it’s not all doom and gloom. As 2022 has already served to underline, the value of production stepping into key roles within agencies cannot be underestimated.  

In a more project-led model of working, agencies are less retained and feel less assured. Work needs to be shaped around a faster-paced, potentially lower fee/lower budget approach – whilst still maintaining the high creative standards we hold ourselves to. Producers bring a unique advantage in this working model. An easy win for agencies and clients is to continue bringing production upstream, harnessing the practical and creative solutions-oriented thinking that experienced and well-trained production can provide.

Ed Palmer Managing Director, St Luke’s and IPA Client Relationship Group co-Chair:

There’s no doubt 2023 will be tough, as energy costs, tax rises and high interest rates continue to choke the economy. But challenging times often bring out the most creative sides of brands. You only have to look back to 2020 at some of the brilliant responses to the COVID pandemic to see how they can step up to the plate in times of adversity. I’m particularly optimistic about the year ahead in tech, with developments in AI (ChatGPT) and production (Unreal Engine) showing exciting potential.

Ali MacCallum Chief Executive Officer, UK, Kinetic and IPA Outdoor Group Chair:

As we enter a new year of turbulence and uncertainty, OOH is well-placed to demonstrate how it can help advertisers respond positively. With a growing emphasis on responsible media investment, OOH’s credentials in funding and subsidising local community infrastructure and services in a sustainable way will be ever more compelling. Brands will need to build confidence and trust to weather the storm. And OOH enables brands to do this publicly while reaching and connecting effectively with diverse audiences in a way that no other channel can. The trend of humanising innovation we saw in OOH in 2022 will continue to enable brands to entertain and inform in ways that deliver positive measurable business outcomes. OOH is in a position of strength to outperform the wider market in 2023.

James Ray Chief Executive Officer, Armadillo and IPA City Head for Bristol, Cardiff and the South West:

We’re seeing more and more brands putting real focus on through-funnel thinking in their marketing strategy. That’s really exciting for a CRM agency like ours: it means data and creativity will be getting ever closer together, and we think that’s good news for the effectiveness of marketing across all channels.

Pauline Robson, Managing Partner, UK MediaCom and IPA Media Climate Action Group Chair:

As an industry, we’ve demonstrated that we are capable of great things when we collaborate and this is particularly true when it comes to sustainability. Through the likes of the IPA Climate Action Group we are making good progress. The launch of Ad Net Zero global is a huge step forward and I am excited to see what comes out of this initiative, particularly the agreement of a global industry standard for media carbon measurement. This will be a game changer for the industry and is a key step towards a net zero media supply chain.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 01 May 2024