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Pick for Britain – ITV and Waitrose, adam&eveDDB
This morning (10 June) we hosted the second in our series of virtual events for our Front Foot member network, made up of senior leaders from over 50 businesses across the UK advertising industry, on the theme of ‘Build Back Better – The Blueprint for Recovery’.
The UK has been on lockdown for more than 11 weeks now. While Covid-19 is still very much around, the spread is gradually slowing and restrictions are starting to lift. As such, it is incredibly important we discuss our recovery plan, not just as individuals or individual businesses, but as an industry.
Our Front Foot Chair, Mark Evans, MD, Marketing and Digital, Direct Line Group, introduced the session’s topics of discussion, including how we should develop our people and our working culture and how advertising can play a vital role in the UK’s economic and social recovery.
Our Chief Executive, Stephen Woodford, outlined our three main pillars to “Build Back Better” – Trust, Climate and Diversity – before Ali Hanan, Founder of Creative Equals spoke about their open letter calling on the advertising industry to sign up to 10 key actions for change. This letter follows the unlawful death of George Floyd and delivering on its actions is a key part of our industry’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ali went on to reveal results from a new survey conducted by Creative Equals in partnership with Campaign, which found that Covid-19 is wreaking widespread uncertainty and anxiety across the industry and that we are looking at a burgeoning talent crisis in which women and minority groups lose. You can read more on that here.
Heather Young, Project Director of Credos, gave an update on the upcoming new chapter of our Advertising Pays 8 report on UK advertising’s social contribution and also on our work around climate action and the survey we are conducting on this.
Mark then introduced our stellar panel: Ben Rhodes, Group Marketing Director, Royal Mail; Tim Pearson, CEO, OMD; Tammy Einav, CEO, adam&eveDDB; Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications – EE & BT and interim Group Brand Director – BT Group; and Kate Waters, Director of Client Strategy and Planning, Commercial and Online, ITV plc.
Kicking things off, Mark asked the panel how their businesses are faring right now and if they are seeing any positive signs for us to build on. Tammy notably said that a huge positive has been how the industry has rallied together and adapted to a challenging situation so quickly, and this way of agile and flexible working should continue as we recover and in the future. Agreeing with this, Tim said that businesses and agencies have responded exceptionally well and everyone has proved we can keep the cogs turning working remotely, just as well as we can from an office. Ben and Kate also both noted a positive shift in their audiences and Pete discussed his realisation of just how important connectivity is in the world now that, for example, parents and children are relying on it for education.
Mark went on to ask what businesses are doing regarding culture and talent, to which Tammy answered that working from home can’t be compared to working from the office. You aren’t able to creatively collaborate or spark conversations with colleagues as you bump into them in the kitchen or by walking a few steps to their desk, but these situations can be replicated in some way, as best they can be, virtually.
When asked how advertisers should capitalise on the renewed growth in audiences and what advice she would give to businesses looking to recover fast, Kate stated that when advertising helps to shape culture, it is incredibly powerful, and there is now an opportunity for advertisers to lean into the moments and small comforts of staying at home that everyone has enjoyed, such as baking, for example.
As we neared the session’s conclusion, the panel each spoke about one positive change that has come out of this situation. These included a newly found agile and supportive way of working, a stronger relationship with partners to deal with challenges together and confidence that we can operate outside of our comfort zones.
Whilst it’s been (and continues to be) an incredible challenging and unknown time, there are many positives that have come out of it. We are determined our industry does everything it can to take these with us, beyond the pandemic, and emerge stronger for it.
If you have would like to know more about our Front Foot network, please contact Polly.Raven@adassoc.org.uk.
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