IPA President Julian Douglas has announced his agenda to make the most of this discontinuous moment to accelerate opportunity for the UK advertising industry and beyond: 10x sooner, 10x bigger and 10x bolder. His public address was accompanied by a live Q&A.
From an international trade mission to India, to gaming/AR partnerships with global tech giants, to the creation of a big-picture think-tank with Rory Sutherland, and more, Douglas’ agenda will turboboost the industry from the inside out, centred around three key themes: IPA 10x (for the industry); THINK 10x (for wider society); TECH 10x (for gaming, AR and international collaboration).
In setting out his IPA Presidential agenda, the proud and passionate Mancunian, ad agency Vice Chairman and founder of Lucky Voice, acknowledged the pressures the ad agency business has faced over the past decade. From waning relevance, to shrinking budgets, retainers replaced by piecemeal projects, the relentless march of short-termism, in-housing, consultancies and tech platforms. All administered by "the time and resource hungry tyranny of the pitch process". And the fundamental issue that "we still have to make the case for the value advertising can deliver."
He also highlighted the rare positives that have been brought about from COVID-19, namely that it has provided an inflection point, "a discontinuous moment to change things, an opportunity to press re-set on a whole range of issues far beyond advertising." Coupled with this, it has amplified the speed, capability and adoption of our digital tech ten-fold.
In acknowledgment of these, he proceeded to identify the opportunities that he believes the ad agency business must harness to fuel its success.
It feels to me that we’ve have been talking about the same things and diagnosing the same problems for at least the past decade. But what if we were to harness the positives to apply a multiplier effect to how we tackle the perennial problems advertising and society more broadly faces? What if we were to make incrementalism our enemy and resolve instead to move 10 X sooner, 10 X bigger, 10 X bolder?
Launched today, this will make a stronger case for the value of advertising, for our agencies and clients: creating and embedding effectiveness processes, environments, attitudes and values into organisations.
To improve agencies’ understanding of the fundamentals of business language and thinking at an earlier stage.
For which the brand new IPA Future of Fairness publication, launched in February this year, provides a Roadmap for every agency to follow.
Looking under the bonnet of the IPA I see lots of smart initiatives that already exist. But steady progress should not be the default. Where there is something of sufficient importance, as President, I challenge the Council and this organisation to turbo boost the very best of what we already do.
Working with Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy, author and The Spectator’s ‘Wiki Man’ columnist – a man who has always waged war on incrementalism - to show the world what advertising’s brightest thinkers are capable of through creativity, ideas and their skills in engagement and persuasion.
From environmental degradation to societal inequality, the world has never been more in need of creative solutions to difficult problems.
I’m acutely aware that we are missing a massive creative opportunity right under our noses: gaming. This sector is bigger than the movie and music industry combined, and with the explosion of mobile gaming, is growing at pace. Combined with 5G, the possibilities for innovation and inclusivity are endless.
Douglas has lined up a series of partnerships with the leading global gaming companies to upskill and collaborate with agencies.
Launched today, this collaboration will explore ways in which IPA agencies can use Unreal Engine real-time technology to unlock creativity.
Through a partnership with Facebook, announced for the first time today, Douglas will work with them on the advancement of AR in marketing through a series of educational seminars and practical workshops.
Taking place in Glasgow this November, and next year in Birmingham, respectively, both will create exciting opportunities for collaboration.
To enable IPA agencies to meet, learn from and collaborate with new tech partners in the world’s biggest democracy and emergent economy – Asia’s answer, and increasingly rival, to Silicon Valley.
In closing his speech, Douglas made a rallying call for agencies to join him on his mission:
"Nobody wants to revert to the world of 2019. As Einstein put it 'In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity…' Disruption and uncertainty can be very painful but they open windows as well as close doors.
"Advertising is ready to fulfill much bigger ambitions than just survival. We have the data, the technology, the pure creative firepower to change the world and our place in it.
I need you, your energy, ideas and opinions to make this sooner, bigger, bolder agenda happen. So please see this as an invitation to get involved.
Join the conversation on Twitter: #10xIPA