In the words of Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chairman of the Committee which today published the report: UK Advertising in a Digital Age

"Advertising contributes to culture, society and fuels the economy by helping businesses to grow and compete against one another. It is therefore essential that UK advertising continues to thrive and maintain its international reputation. But the industry is facing immense changes which threaten to undermine its success."

The report touches on a variety of issues which require attention if we are to galvanise and to build on the success of the UK advertising industry, from seeking a review of competition laws to encouraging more diversity and inclusion in the industry.

The Committee made several (pretty disparate) recommendations which are as follows:

  • That the industry should take greater steps to self-regulate through independent bodies such as the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards.
  • That the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  should undertake a market study of the digital advertising market to ensure that it is working fairly for businesses and consumers.
  • The Government should review whether competition law is appropriate for the 21st century digital economy.  
  • Individuals from all communities and backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity, gender, class and ability, should have access to employment in the advertising industry. The industry should discontinue informal working and recruitment practices, such as unpaid internships, which present a barrier to groups from lower socioeconomic groups. The Government should clarify the law on unpaid internships. This will allow the advertising industry to access a larger talent pool which better reflects the advertisers' audiences.
  • The Government should seek to negotiate reciprocal agreements with other countries under which international workers with a job offer in the advertising industry will have the right to work in the UK. The Government should also introduce a creative industries' freelancer visa.

You can read the full report here, and we will be issuing more commentary soon.