Bring back Cool Britannia – minus Oasis – says Labour’s Lucy Powell at Lead 2023

Lucy Powell, shadow secretary of state for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, got a laugh at Lead 2023 when she started by apologising to the audience that they had to start the day by listening to two politicians, “but at least one of them isn’t Nadine Dorries.”

Powell flattered the ad industry, bemoaning its status as a “Cinderella sector” that is too often undervalued and emphasising its place at the heart of social purpose, but warning that “With great power comes great responsibility.”

She spoke a lot about training and skills, and in praising the creative industry as a great British success story she called for a return to “Cool Britannia” – minus Oasis, because “not even Labour could mend that relationship.”

Powell added that she is “not a fan of blanket advertising restrictions,” and that when it comes to online advertising, Labour’s focus would be on tackling the business models and algorithms of big tech.

Michelle Donelan, the current Secretary of State for the DCMS, supplied a pre-recorded message, which addressed similar themes but minus the humour.

The presidents of the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA were up next. Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer Tesco and president of the Advertising Association, focused on talent and improved renumeration.

Her three point plan was to make more companies aware of how to take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities, to create an online guide to existing industry skills training, and to gather and develop best practice on hybrid working. She said: “We need to make talent feel valued and create a rewarding workplace proposition. Hybrid working served us well in the pandemic, but this industry relies on collaboration and networking.”

Julian Douglas, IPA president and international CEO of VCCP, made the case for advertising’s effectiveness, while ISBA president and CMO of NatWest Margaret Jobling focused on the importance of trust and transparency.

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