Whether it’s Ed’s two kitchens, Cameron’s European referendum or Natalie Bennett’s troublesome cold, the spotlight on politicians will only intensify in the run up to May.
However, not a lot has been revealed when it comes to Westminster’s plans for advertising, and the ongoing fear among marketers around red tape and watershed bans on products such as sugary drinks.
Marketing Week went to all the major parties (the Lib Dems, UKIP and the SNP would not provide comment) and asked how they will secure the vote of the marketing industry. And whether, in particular, the two main parties’ differing visions for supporting big business and advertisers will be damaging to voters or a source of attraction.
Here’s what the Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party had to say…
It is self-evidently clear that if the economy has been run into the ground, marketing budgets will have to be slashed across the board and consumers won’t be able to afford to buy anything. That is exactly the situation we found ourselves in five years ago. The record-breaking recession had bitten deep into the advertising and marketing sector slashing the value and size of one of Britain’s blue riband industries.
Five years on, things are very different. The latest official figures show your sector is worth at least £10 billion year, is among the fastest-growing areas of creative industries and is providing work for tens of thousands of people.
Of course this success would not be possible without you – the readers of Marketing Week, the creative talent that makes the industry what it is. But the Conservative Party is standing firmly behind you.
Our long-term economic plan is delivering an environment in which businesses – particularly those that rely on healthy consumer spending – can thrive.
For example we’ve invested £1.7 billion to create the superfast broadband network modern creative companies need in order to thrive.
And, above all, we’ve stayed off your back. We’ve got rid of the mass of red tape and regulation which the last Labour Government tangled you up in and we’ve tried to encourage self-regulation as far as possible. Where we do legislate, it’s based on evidence rather than ideology. Because the marketing sector is one of Britain’s great creative and economic success stories – and as long as the Conservative Party is in government we’ll do everything we can to make sure it stays that way.
Labour’s plan is to build a better future for working families, with a stronger recovery that can raise living standards and reduce the deficit.
As the fastest growing sector of our economy, employing 2.5 million people, supporting Britain’s creative industries to create more high skill, high paid jobs is a key part of our plan.
Marketing businesses need young people entering their industry with skills, creativity and imagination.
But this Government take a backward-looking, narrow view of education, which has led to falling numbers of arts and culture teachers, and fewer young people studying creative subjects.
Labour will turn that around, strengthening creative education in schools and after-school clubs, and making the provision of education in creative subjects a condition for schools to receive an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.
Only 1,000 people started an apprenticeship in the creative industries last year – the lowest out of all sectors. This makes it harder for young people to start a successful career, and harder for employers to find the skills they need.
Labour will offer creative businesses a something-for-something deal: requiring creative industries and arts institutions to offer more apprenticeships in return for direct grants or major government contracts; and give employers more control over apprenticeships funding and standards, in exchange for offering more and better opportunities.
The Green party wants to see an end to austerity that has seen people and businesses trying to pay down debt.
The Green Party rejects dogma that suggests everything is best done by the private sector. We believe a sensible economy is a mixed economy, where some things – health, education, public transport for example – are in the public sector. The private economy is more suited to other sectors; marketing and advertising included.
The Green Party recognises the positive contributions that businesses can make to society.
However, we are concerned about the number of large corporates who fail to pay for the infrastructure their businesses depend on and instead engage in aggressive tax evasion. The Green Party is determined to address this in order that honest smaller businesses can compete fairly.
The Green Party will encourage small firms that are more embedded in local communities and so provide less opportunity for creating huge disparities of income and wealth. We want to make it easier for small businesses to employ people and pay a Living Wage.
We plan to increase access to finance for small businesses by investing £2bn in community banks. We would also expand the role and funds of the Green Investment Bank, allow Local Authorities to favour local procurement to help local economies and legislate to ensure small businesses are paid on time.