New ISBA president rallies marketers to save economy

News1-HunterIncorporated Society of British Advertisers president Mark Hunter will urge marketers to “keep the faith and hold their nerve” in his first speech at the body’s annual conference today (Wednesday).

Hunter, who has just taken up the ISBA role and is also president of Coors Brewers, is to address the issues of advertising freedoms, children and advertising, and the internet in his maiden speech at the society’s annual conference.

In his address Hunter slams media owners for the lack of a “comprehensive media currency” for the internet and calls it “simply unacceptable as far as advertisers are concerned”.

Hunter’s opening speech, to be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, acknowledges that the UK is in the “deepest economic downturn we will have experienced in decades” but states that marketing and advertising will be “absolutely pivotal in getting us out of this mess caused by the near meltdown of the global finance system.”

He says that for marketing communications to do its job as a driving force of wealth and prosperity “advertisers do not need to be burdened with unnecessary further regulation… my view is that we are already well-regulated and we do indeed have a highly effective self-regulation system… that is a model for the rest of the world.”

Hunter slams the “erroneous causal, non-evidence based” connections sometimes made between advertising and social issues, such as binge-drinking and obesity, and says “there is sometimes a lack of understanding on the part of government as to what advertising can, and importantly cannot, do.”

However, he adds that marketers should be happy with what appears to be a growing recognition on the part of the Government of the contribution that advertising can make to solving social problems. In the speech Hunter hints heavily that the drinks’ industry is preparing a similar initiative to the anti-obesity Change4­life initiative to tackle binge-drinking.

The ISBA president also outlines the main areas of focus for the coming year, including children and advertising and the need to bring media owners “into the tent” with regard to advertising codes, enforcement and funding. Enforcement and a gold standard internet media currency will be a “major priority” this year.

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