From embracing gaming technologies, to pitching positively, to addressing the talent crisis and more, IPA President Julian Douglas updated the industry on his plans for the agency business in 2022, while highlighting the progress the industry has made so far against his core presidential 10x: Accelerate Opportunity agenda to turboboost the industry.
Delivering his New Year address from Garden Studios in London, where virtual production companies, like Quite Brilliant, are transforming how we make content, President Douglas reasserted one of his core Tech 10x agenda points to 'embrace new technologies and shift gaming and AR/VR from the periphery to the mainstream of advertising.'
This year, the industry has made great strides with some fantastic examples including, The O2 in Fortnite, Fashion Awards in Roblox and Adidas NFTs, but this could be just the start, explained Douglas.
"These gaming technologies have already transformed the film world and the potential for advertising is huge. At the press of a button they can turn day to night and back again, transport me to multiple locations with no flights, no visas, no PCR tests required."
This virtual production approach is opening up a whole new world of opportunities and crucially, significantly reducing travel - the single biggest contributor to our carbon impact.
To help agencies explore and understand the metaverse further in 2022, the IPA will be hosting a virtual conference on immersive gaming with SF Big, San Francisco’s digital marketing association. Back in the UK, in the spring the IPA will also be piloting an interactive workshop with Collective and Unreal, where member agencies can explore the gaming engine and its creative potential.
As part of his Think x10 agenda, Douglas has been developing a series of moonshot initiatives to use the industry’s collective powers of insight and creativity to tackle society’s biggest problems.
This year, Douglas highlighted, has seen the industry rally behind an initiative that looks to tackle the recruitment crisis in the hospitality industry which is currently reporting over 200,000 unfilled vacancies. It has already raised half a million pounds from industry operators and suppliers and is in final talks to becoming recognised as the preferred recruitment partner for the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, which will unlock further funding.
In addition to progressing this core project, for 2022 moonshot projects, Douglas will be urging the industry to use it’s 'creative clout' to change attitudes and behaviour towards roadside littering. He will also be exploring how the agency business might mount a campaign to reduce the talent crisis; a campaign that advertises the profession of advertising, calling on brands and agencies to come together and work for the collective good.
Closer to home, and despite a further year of pandemic-induced uncertainty, the IPA President was also keen to celebrate the great strides the industry business has taken over the past year to further elevate its health, wealth and success.
Highlights include 800 people completing the newly launched IPA Diversity and Inclusivity qualification; a tenfold increase in the number of people completing the IPA Excellence in Business, delivered by LSE; 19 agencies being awarded the brand new IPA Effectiveness Accreditation for their strong effectiveness cultures; and the launch of the pioneering AdNetZero Certificate, designed to help us all play our part in addressing the climate crisis.
Looking forward to 2022, Dougie announced one of the initiatives to be launched at the joint industry RENEW conference on 27 January: the Pitch Positive Pledge -a collaboration between ISBA and IPA to improve the current pitch system (full details to be published on 27 January).
Further IPA initiatives he highlighted include the iList 2022 that celebrates the real heroes of inclusion at all levels across our industry, as well as: the IPA Effectiveness Awards. In line with his agenda, the President’s Prize will be awarded to the entry which best demonstrates an innovative marketing approach that accelerates significant behaviour change.
Says Dougie: "I built my Presidency on seizing these abnormal times, this discontinuous moment, to tackle some of the long-standing issues we face as an industry and society. UK advertising showed remarkable strength and adaptability in 2021 and I hope these upcoming initiatives give the business lots to think about and opportunities to seize as we advance through this era of predictable unpredictability."