THE BLOG

Advertising's Confidence Game

19/03/2013 14:49 GMT | Updated 18/05/2013 10:12 BST

"If you're presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything."

Two years ago, at the Advertising Association's first summit, we asked business leaders from across agencies, brands and media a simple question: Why does advertising need an event like this?

One of them was The Guardian's Alan Rusbridger. With an editor's gift for brevity he said, "Because in times of revolution, it's good to stick together."

There has never been a more tumultuous time to be working in marketing communications. We are - all of us - in a perfect storm of economic, technological and societal change, and it is all the more reason, if only occasionally, to put our competitive instincts to one side and stick together.

One of the reasons the AA exists is to do just that - to bring advertising together to promote its role, defend its rights and deliver on its responsibilities. So it should be no surprise that I am delighted to see Advertising Week finally arrive in London. Film has one, fashion has one - even British Sausages have one. Now we have ours, and it's about bloody time.

But more than that, I sense that Advertising Week is not the only example of a collective spring in advertising's step.

In January of this year, the AA published a new Deloitte study which was ground-breaking in more ways than one. Firstly, in the scale of its ambition - to qualify and quantify the impact of marketing communications on the modern economy. And secondly, because over 70 businesses worked together to make it happen. These organisations form the AA's Front Foot group, a coalition which exists to put authority and hard evidence behind the case for advertising and communications.

The econometrics may have been complex, but the conclusions are both simple and startling.

For every pound spent on advertising, £6 accrues to the economy as a whole. To put that in context, for most industries the economic impact of a pound spent is in the range of £2 to £4. The analysis also tackles the relationship between advertising and growth - and, crucially, shows that advertising spend is a cause of economic growth rather than an effect of it.

With those findings should come a new confidence in our dealings with government. UK business policy must better reflect the strategic role that advertising plays, and in her keynote address to our industries as we launched the report, the Secretary of State, Maria Miller, made it crystal clear that she is ready to listen.

So if success really is about presenting yourself with confidence, then it seems that Advertising Week could not be better-timed. Those words, by the way, are the wisdom of Katy Perry. And seems to work for her. Why not for us?