AA chief criticises ministers

Advertising Association chief executive Baroness Peta Buscombe has lambasted ministers for being “ignorant” and “contrary” about advertising.

Advertising Association chief executive Baroness Peta Buscombe has criticised ministers for failing to fully understand advertising, and says the industry must educate them.

At yesterday’s Incorporated Society Of British Advertisers (ISBA) annual conference, she said: “Our industry is under siege”.

Buscombe told the conference that the marketing industry has not done enough to sell itself to parliament and added that it must do more to educate MPs that advertising can be a “force for good”.

She singled out former Home Office minister Hilary Benn, saying he had responded to a radio question on why so many young people were depressed with “because there are awful things out there like advertising”.

She added that he had highlighted the importance of a campaign warning of the danger of paedophiles but failed to see the contradiction.

She called for the industry to start selling itself better and for more self-regulation to head off legislative government measures.

She warned: “It is easier for the industry to talk to itself than others. We have to up our game. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Earlier Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards had also warned the audience that advertising would increasingly feature in public policy.

Buscombe, who replaced Andrew Brown as director-general of the AA, is the first woman to run an advertising trade body. She was previously Conservative Shadow Minister for education in the House of Lords.

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