A representative poll of 159 MPs carried out for the AA by ComRes in May found 85 per cent acknowledged that advertising is a significant contributor to the economy, up 9 per cent from December 2012.
The AA has been lobbying hard to underline advertising’s economic impact and mitigate various calls by MPs, charities and consumer groups for ad bans in different sectors.
It launched Advertising Pays in January to quantify the effects of advertising on the economy and claimed for every £1 spent on advertising £6 is returned to GDP – making the industry worth about £1bn.
It followed the report with a poster campaign earlier this month created by TBWA that aimed to make the case for advertising’s cultural and economic impact. One execution reads: “Imagine Downton Abbey without the ad breaks. You’d have to. It wouldn’t exist without ad breaks.”
Tim Lefroy, chief executive of the AA, told Marketing Week the entire industry – agencies, brands and other trade associations – should share the plaudits but all need to continue to make advertising’s case.
“As we approach next year’s European elections and 2015’s UK parliamentary elections it is essential we act [to make advertising ‘s case]. This is when you get the silly ideas on advertising bans. Politicians chasing votes rather that making sensible policy proposals.”
Despite the warning, Lefroy says the advertising industry is no longer in defence mode.
“We have moved on from 4 years ago when our job was protecting advertising’s reputation in the face of attacks to today when we are making the case for it, which is what Advertising Pays and its successor (a second report on how advertising can help sustain the UK’s economic recovery and unlock growth potential for small and medium sized industries) is all about taking about jobs, growth and business.”
*Figures in third paragraph changed – 2/12/2013*