Deal or no deal, UK ad spend will keep rising says AA/WARC

UK adspend rose 4.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC expenditure report.

The figure is in comparision to the first quarter of last year, when we were all braced for Brexit on the 29th March, and marketing spend was presumably pretty weak.

The report forecasts 4.6 per cent growth to £24.6bn for UK advertising across the whole of 2019, rising to 5.3 per cent in 2020. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to spend £100m on communications to prepare us all for a no deal Brexit — the biggest government ad campaign since The Second World War — will help keep growth strong if it goes ahead.

Johnson and his team – including controversial strategist Dominic Cummings – made a big impact with their bus side advertising for Vote Leave, claiming that Brexit would save £350 million a week for the NHS, but presumably they would have to be a little less cavalier with the truth now that they are actually in government.

The Advertising Association has a lot invested in making the case for a strong industry, and has been nobly promoting its value to the UK economy at every opportunity in the three years since the referendum result.

There was an impressive presence at Cannes to sell British creativity to the world, and the AA’s team has been issuing a series of statements in response to government changes. The new secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport – Nicky Morgan – was welcomed with a message encouraging her to work closely with the AA “to advance the position of advertising as a jewel in the crown on the UK’s £100bn creative industries sector.”

When Johnson took the PM role, Woodford was quick to congratulate him with a message about “looking forward to working with him and his administration for the benefit of the UK” and a note about UK advertising being “a proven engine of UK Plc.”

In response to the new AA/WARC figures, AA CEO Woodford said: “We hope that the new administration can deliver a business-friendly outcome to our relationship with the EU, ensuring the UK’s domestic advertising market remains robust and our advertising exports, which are world-class, keep growing.”

Online radio, TV video on demand, online display and digital out of home were the best performing categories, all registering above 10 per cent growth.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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