Resilience, Resolve and Recovery in the Advertising Industry during Covid-19

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The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland discusses findings after latest survey
Resilience, Resolve and Recovery in the Advertising Industry during Covid-19

The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland has released the results of a survey assessing the current sentiment of the advertising industry during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The new IAPI Agency Leaders Survey, published today, is the result of work we undertook last week with director level individuals across our entire membership to assess the current sentiment of the industry during Covid-19. The results show that the industry is working their way through the crisis, doing what they do best, solving problems creatively for their clients. Naturally, they are as much under pressure as any industry right now, especially the smaller agencies. However, the industry is highly resilient and agile, determined to continue providing the best possible strategic and creative thinking to their clients,” according to Charley Stoney, CEO of IAPI.

For context, the Irish advertising industry generates revenues in excess of €1.4 billion for the economy, directly employing over 3,000 professionals in advertising, creative, PR and experiential with a similar number employed indirectly.


KEY SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

- Surprisingly, two thirds (66%) of respondents find Creative Ideation and Production as easy as under normal circumstances. This reflects the agility of the industry to adapt to new ways of creating communications for their clients and we can see the results of this problem-solving ability in recent campaigns. For example, the recent Vodafone work created remotely by JWT Folk and the domestic abuse awareness campaign for the Department of Justice and Equality also produced remotely last week by TBWA.

- Encouragingly, 6/10 agencies have won new client business in the last month and 91% are actively engaged in pitches.

- 86% of IAPI members are working on Covid-19 related campaigns at the moment and nearly two-thirds are working on brand new campaigns. For instance, CORE, TBWA and OMD are some of those involved with HSE and government agency information and awareness campaigns.

- As you would expect, nearly half the respondents find business planning or forecasting difficult to be very difficult at this time.

- Nearly all the respondents (98%) are happy to take part in pitches reflecting the industry’s willingness to continue working as normally as they can, although two-thirds have indicated that timelines and the level of creative required for pitches should be re-assessed in light of the restricted circumstances.

- Half the respondents are working closely with production and post-production companies to provide innovative solutions that bring campaigns to life.

- The IAPI Leaders Survey also shows that the industry is already looking to the future. Over 90% of respondents believe that there will be fundamental changes to how the industry works with remote working being more commonly utilised by agencies in future. Whether this makes some of the larger, beautifully presented agency offices a thing of the past is debatable, but it has certainly helped the industry take a more positive view of flexible working.

- Over a third of respondents believe that the crisis will result in further consolidation in the sector and 45% also believe that the crisis will spur us on to improve our technological capabilities and so service our clients better as a result. However, only one in ten respondents believe that this crisis will act as a breeding ground for new, digitally enabled start-ups.

- Ironically, at the IAPI Leaders Strategy day in January, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry was retaining and attraction talent. Now, three months later, leaders believe that it will be easier to both retain our people (61%) and attract the best talent (37%). Half remain determined that we maintain our focus on up and coming talent, so we are well equipped for recovery.

- 9 out of 10 leaders find client communications as easy, if not easier than under normal circumstances and, 8 out of 10 state that they’re in regular contact suggesting ways in which they can promote their clients’ brands in an authentic, relevant manner. Two-thirds are working on interesting and innovative campaigns as well as learning new ways of working more efficiently with clients.

- In a positive development, 61% of respondents believe this new way of working will give them the confidence to work remotely with clients on an international scale which will be a key component of the Irish industry’s ability to recover and grow in the future.

- Naturally three quarters of respondents are concerned about their teams feeling uncertain and insecure during the crisis. Fortunately, the IAPI smash programme, set up in 2019 by TABS and IAPI to provide mental health, wellbeing, financial and legal assistance for the 2,000+ advertising industry employees and their families is now well established. Spectrum Life manage the EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) and IAPI have been supplementing it over the past few weeks with online yoga, meditation and webinars aimed at maintaining wellbeing for remote workers.

- Over 200 IAPI members have utilised smash in the last few months reflecting the industry average for EAP programmes. However, these figures do not include those using individual EAP programmes in place in the larger agencies across IAPI membership.

- Utilisation of smash has increased over the past month according to the latest report from Spectrum Life. There has been a marked increase in calls presenting with anxiety - 17% in January increasing to 33% in March, when Covid-19 took hold.

- An analysis of those using smash shows that women are far more likely to reach out for help than men (81% of IAPI users are women). This coincides with the World Health Order’s (WHO) estimation that men tend to seek help only at a later stage of onset mental health symptoms.

-The most frequent users of smash are between 31 and 35 years of age (44%).  It might be assumed that those in their early 30s are perhaps under more pressure and are more prone to distress, or possibly that they are more likely to be comfortable in reaching out for support.

The final word about the IAPI Leaders Survey goes to Shenda Loughnane, group managing director of Dentsu Aegis Network and president of IAPI, who says: “This survey shows an Irish advertising industry that is very much open for business, supporting, advising and guiding our clients. And we’re also seeing some brilliant examples of Irish creativity at this time, from outstanding pro bono work for charities to innovative solutions for the production of TV commercials.”

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The Institute Of Advertising Practitioners In Ireland, 2 months ago