What does Labour’s landslide victory really mean for the marketing industry?

As Labour prepares to take power for the first time in a generation, the marketing industry is looking towards the future.

But what’s likely to be in store for the next five years? And what does the marketing sector need to see change in that time?

The last 14 years of Tory rule has seen a decimation of creative education which could pose generational problems for the industry over the next few decades. Will Starmer’s government be able to reverse this trend and put creativity once again at the forefront of the British economy?

And what about advertising regulations, AI guidelines and everything else that forms the vast marketing landscape in the UK?

Following the confirmation of the result in the early hours of this morning, the great and the good of the marketing industry have already had their say…

Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford

“UK advertising is big business, a £36bn powerhouse industry which is growing year-on-year, delivering investment and jobs up and down the UK. In 2023, our services exports grew 15% to reach £18bn across key markets in Europe, Asia, and North America, highlighting our world leading creativity.

“Advertising plays an important societal role too. Recent examples of this include raising awareness of the need to register to vote, increasing vaccination uptake across hard-to-reach communities, raising awareness of mental health issues, encouraging behaviour changes around areas such as food waste reduction, and providing vital funding to culture, media and sport.

“As we enter a new political landscape, creating the conditions for responsible, sustainable business growth is the top priority. The UK needs to remain at the forefront of the data-driven economy. Regulatory certainty and support for the Advertising Standards Authority is key, as well as reforming education and skills policies to ensure our industry has the best creative and digital talent for our continued success and to grow jobs and investment.”

BBD Perfect Storm chief strategy officer, Tony Quinn

“At a time when integrity, vision and leadership has never been so important, where politics and politicians could look to unite rather than divide, the last few weeks it’s all been lost in a campaigning pantomime. But there’s a big and important opportunity here for the Labour government to demonstrate a strong understanding of both how marketing and business is shifting exponentially.

“We know from our own research that business leaders are scared to admit when they don’t understand technology like AI and are losing sleep over it. Out of fear of seeming ‘out of touch’ companies are investing in services which aren’t working for them and are hacking away at engaging with an ever evolving digital marketing ecosystem.

“This ‘Change’ needs to follow through on it’s proposition by genuinely providing the infrastructure, tools and support systems so we can all move forward feeling confident and understanding where to go next.”

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IAB UK head of policy and regulatory affairs, Christie Dennehy-Neil

“The incoming government represents not only a change but a valuable opportunity to take stock and reassess how to address challenges within the online ecosystem. We’re calling on Labour not to automatically pick up where the Conservatives left off when it comes to making policy decisions about further regulation of digital advertising, and to take time to carefully interrogate the evidence and define its priorities.

“We’re looking forward to working with the new government and our members to continue to evolve the regulatory framework in an evidence-based and proportionate way. It’s in everyone’s interests to strike the right balance between managing the risk of consumer harm and supporting the UK’s digital advertising industry – and the wider digital economy that it drives – to thrive.”

Shape History strategy director, Lewis Parker

“Our new Labour government won’t directly shake up the marketing industry, but there’s reason for optimism. Their manifesto may lack specific marketing policies, but their broader economic and social plans promise a friendlier environment for purpose-led brands and socially-conscious campaigns, which have faced intense criticism from imnisters in recent years – don’t forget James Cleverly going to war on ice cream! Well… Ben and Jerry’s.

“This more supportive stance from the government towards purpose-driven marketing could help ease the culture wars and reduce the tension in the debate about the role of purpose in marketing and advertising. Ultimately,  we need the government’s priority to be delivering economic growth, which will boost consumer spending and advertising budgets.”

The Great Pitch Company founder and CEO, Marcus Brown

“Labour pitched it right with their clear message of ‘change’.  And change is what the UK marketing sector is looking for in so many different ways.

“A respect for journalism and some of our most treasured media institutions such as Channel 4 and the BBC. A return to truth and honesty, such important bedrocks of society upon which advertising builds its foundations.

“And optimism, the fuel for all growth as the new government starts the long journey to build the spirit of the nation and the economy.”As Labour prepares to take power for the first time in a generation, the marketing industry is looking towards the future.

Studio of Art & Commerce founder and CEO, Heide Cohu

“I think for most of us in the industry this is a sigh of relief. With a more competent, compassionate and calm Labour government we should see less inequality, making for a happier and more optimistic outlook. Something we need after the past few years!

“My hope is that this happiness will translate into how brands communicate. I’d like to see brands be braver and try to connect with people in more unique and impactful ways. The reduction in inequality should also lead to greater high street spending, which in turn means that brands will invest more to capture that pound.

“Brands will want to show exuberance and capture people’s attention by being as entertaining as they can be with more bold, brave and beautiful brand and retail experiences.”

Rehab head of strategy, Callum Gill

“The Conservatives spent a long time talking about solving the problems with UK PLC and managed to achieve very little. This Labour government should be more inclined to invest in the public sector, relieve private sector burden and increase spending confidence. For marketers this will improve the outlook in terms of pipeline and hopefully consumers will be more amenable to marketing.

“If any measure of public investment returns and alleviates the cost of living crisis, markets will be in a better position than they were with leaner, more dynamic teams, ready to meet increased demand.

“What I hope to see is recognition from the incoming government around the industry leading work UK marketing is doing, especially in AI innovation. I’d like to see an All Party Parliamentary Group formed for AI in marketing and for the government to champion the sector and our work here to international audiences.”

CTI Digital CEO, Chris Woodward

“Almost irrespective of who has won the election, having a decisive winner (in this case Labour) is the key. That will give clarity and confidence on the strategic direction for the country and in turn will give business the confidence to make long-term decisions and invest. That can only be good news for the marketing sector.

“The single biggest change we need is clarity (of strategic direction for the country) and stability. The past years (because of Covid, Ukraine, inflation, Tory infighting, Truss) have been marked by massive uncertainty and that is terrible for business.

“Labour’s landslide means they can act decisively and drive through a strong parliamentary agenda without the need to compromise or deal with political distractions. That’s what the country needs. That’s what business needs. And all of that is good for our sector.”

Total Media Group CEO, Tom Laranjo

“From the Labour government we need ambition, clarity and long-term strategic thinking. Despite all the well-documented challenges we have faced over the last 10+ years, the UK advertising industry has proved amazingly resilient and repeatedly demonstrated why the UK is still a global advertising force.

“The fact that the industry has done this in spite of the UK government makes the achievement more remarkable. What we all need now is a government that shows ambitions aligned to what our industry really needs such as nurturing diverse talent, creating conditions that inspire investment in innovation and incentivising businesses to invest into a greener, fairer economy.

“This needs deep consultation with our industry and a political class who are not afraid to replace populist sound-bites with long term vision.”

IMA managing director, Alex Uprichard

“With the transition to the Labour party, we’re hoping a change of the guard will reignite consumer confidence, stabilise some of the current flux that we’re seeing in marketing teams and enable us to genuinely start thinking more long term on behalf of clients who are being driven to reactive strategies by unstable market forces.

“We’d also be actively lobbying for a re-examination of the Labour policy on HS2, as we truly believe better connections between the vibrant advertising scenes across the UK can only support future growth and give greater access to the fantastic creativity and talent that sits in cities outside of London.”

IPA director general, Paul Bainsfair

“We are pleased to welcome a new Labour government and look forward to working with them to progress our mutual success. We very much hope that they will implement their comprehensive Creating Growth Plan for the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, as delivered at their Labour Creatives Conference in March.

“Earlier this year, the IPA set out the policy areas that we would ask a new government to focus on, and we are pleased to note that a number of these align with Labour’s plan. At the top of our list was the need for an incoming government to ‘champion our industry and help it to continue to thrive in order to help the UK’. And so we were delighted that Thangam Debbonaire’s foreword asserts that arts and culture have intrinsic value, stating that: ‘They and the creative industries as a whole, also have enormous economic value to the UK, and huge growth potential. Their story is already one of growth against the odds, with their value (GVA) increasing by 5% in real terms between 2019 and 2022, compared with 2% growth in the overall economy.’

“Labour’s plan also states that it supports the safe development of the AI sector in the UK. As we said in May, the IPA believes a flexible, cautious approach to regulation is sensible, considering the fast pace of AI development and the need to allow for innovation and creativity. At the same time, we would also ask that Labour maintains international cooperation where possible to try to ensure consistency of approach.

ISBA director general, Phil Smith 

“As the body that represents brand owners advertising in the UK, we look forward to working with the new government – particularly the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – to help deliver Labour’s mission of kickstarting economic growth across all of the UK’s regions and nations.

“The UK’s system of self and co-regulation of advertising content and placement has proven to be a world-leading success story. We ask the government to continue to support this. As a member of the Online Advertising Taskforce, we are committed to working with government on the Online Advertising Programme as it develops proposals for the future.

“As new Labour ministers take office, we urge the government to pass the Secondary Legislation required to finish the introduction of new food and drink advertising regulations. Advertisers are desperate for clarity and certainty on what products, categories and media are in or out of scope of the new regulations. Many brands are already having to plan ad campaigns without the finalised rules and guidance they need. Passing the necessary Secondary Regulations would be an easy, pro-business and pro-growth step for this incoming government to take.”

Re:act co-founder, Tom Stone

“I think one of the interesting things about any government that gets in is they often say the first 100 days will actually dictate what the next election looks like. Labour’s landslide victory is poised to reshape the UK’s marketing sector significantly.

“From a digital and social perspective, we know that Labour is considering reducing the voting age, so I think their social and digital strategy over the next three months is going to be absolutely key to try and engage with those younger audiences. Expect a powerful digital and social content plan to be rolled out imminently.

“Regarding the marketing industry, the impact of TikTok remains a pivotal issue. Keir Starmer has navigated the centre ground effectively, avoiding controversial stances on business rates and marketing implications.

“However, the potential UK ban on TikTok, influenced by the American presidential race, is a significant concern. Additionally, Labour’s history suggests a potential increase in regulation and civil servant involvement in digital media, which could bring new taxes or concessions. The next few months will be crucial in shaping the marketing landscape under this new government.”

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