UK agency trade body IPA sets out to “reverse crisis in creative effectiveness”

Advertising in the UK is facing an existential crisis in the UK as media agencies take over from creative in setting the client agenda (and often determining what form the ads will take in advance) and data munchkins direct everything that moves online or into social media media.

The IPA, which represents both creative and media agencies, is running ‘Eff Week’ to explore the issue and one of the highlights is the publication of a book – ‘Lemon,’ by System 1’s Orlando Wood – purporting to show “why the advertising brain turned sour.”

Lemon was also the title of Bill Bernbach’s famous ad for the Volkswagen Beetle. The new Lemon is, says the IPA, a “repair manual to reverse the crisis in creative effectiveness.”

Wood contends that “a shift in attentional style has led to advertising losing its humanity and its ability to entertain; it has turned sour..the same instincts that lie behind short-termism and narrow focus are resulting in work that is flat, abstract, dislocated and devitalised – advertising that doesn’t move people.”

IPA director of marketing strategy Janet Hull says: “Lemon challenges the industry to recognise the creative direction it has taken in the digital era and is designed to open a healthy and productive industry debate. At our best, we have an extraordinary ability to innovate, imagine and create advertising works of art that elevate, expand and transform brand and human experience.

“We know that creativity is the biggest multiplier of marketing effectiveness. Now is the time to transform our creative culture for the digital era, integrating the best of the old with the best of the new. We look forward to a new golden era of creative invention.”

Well good luck with that. Let’s hope a few clients are listening.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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