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IPA’s Douglas outlines agenda to increase opportunities for UK ad industry “tenfold”

Newly-appointed IPA President Julian Douglas has announced his agenda to accelerate opportunities for the UK advertising industry.

In his first IPA Presidential address, the ad agency Vice Chairman and founder of Lucky Voice acknowledged the pressures the ad agency business has faced over the past decade: from waning relevance to shrinking budgets; retainers replaced by piecemeal projects; the relentless march of short-termism, in-housing, consultancies and tech platforms; all administered by “the time and resource hungry tyranny of the pitch process.”

Douglas highlighted the rare positives that have been brought about from Covid-19, namely that it has provided an inflection point, “a discontinuous moment to change things, an opportunity to press re-set on a whole range of issues far beyond advertising.” In addition, he noted how the pandemic has amplified the speed, capability and adoption of our digital tech tenfold.

Douglas’s agenda aims to turbo boost the industry from the inside out, centred around three key themes: IPA 10x (for the industry); THINK 10x (for wider society); TECH 10x (for gaming, AR and international collaboration).

He said: “It feels to me that we’ve have been talking about the same things and diagnosing the same problems for at least the past decade. But what if we were to harness the positives to apply a multiplier effect to how we tackle the perennial problems advertising and society more broadly faces? What if we were to make incrementalism our enemy and resolve instead to move 10 x sooner, 10 x bigger, 10 x bolder?

“Looking under the bonnet of the IPA I see lots of smart initiatives that already exist. But steady progress should not be the default. Where there is something of sufficient importance, as President, I challenge the Council and this organisation to turbo boost the very best of what we already do.”

In his closing remarks, Douglas made a rallying call for agencies to join him on his mission: “Nobody wants to revert to the world of 2019. Disruption and uncertainty can be very painful but they open windows as well as close doors. Advertising is ready to fulfil much bigger ambitions than just survival. We have the data, the technology, the pure creative firepower to change the world and our place in it.

“I need you, your energy, ideas and opinions to make this sooner, bigger, bolder agenda happen. So please see this as an invitation to get involved.”

You can join the conversation around Douglas’ speech on Twitter using the hashtag #10xIPA.