Confidence up in adland, IAPI report shows

Orlaith Blaney

Ireland’s advertising industry is experiencing a renewed sense of confidence, the new annual IAPI Industry Census report shows. The census, first launched three years ago, indicates a regained confidence after a tough recession with  81 per cent of agencies expecting turnover to increase in the next year. The average forecasted growth stands at 13 per cent.

The latest census results are in stark contrast to the 2013 findings which showed most agencies were expecting a decrease in turnover. Youth is having its say with almost 39 per cent of those working in adland under 30. Agencies are on the lookout for talent and are hiring. Most of the agencies surveyed expect staff levels to rise by the end of the year.

Agencies surveyed employ 1,611 full-time staff. Last year the industry hired over 350 new staff but 162 moved within the industry. Trying to hold on to talent is something most agencies now experience with the upturn in the industry now working in favour of its best. One of the more concerning findings from the report is the fall in income for creative agencies.

Reasons include global accounts producing creative overseas and only repurposing in Ireland and clients re-using existing creative material. IAPI says it is trying to address the issue by encouraging agencies to attend and enter the Cannes Lions Festival which showcases the most creative advertising, while also running more training courses for creatives.

The launch of the inaugural Cannes Young Lions competition earlier this year urges Ireland’s brightest young advertising talent to compete at Cannes later this month. Ireland will also be represented in the south of France by the country’s biggest delegation of ad executives. In contrast, media agencies are reaping the rewards from the revival.

Brands are starting to spend again and this is good news for media billings, which continue to rise. The progressive working environment in Irish advertising is reflected in developments around gender equality at senior level and the increase in agencies offering paid maternity leave – now 73 per cent, up from 53 per cent last year.

With plans for the Government to introduce paternity leave next year, IAPI says more agencies are ahead of the curve. In the last two years, adland has seen a five per cent jump in the number of women holding CEO and MD roles. Among the 45 member agencies that took part in the census, challenges outlined were staff costs and retention and pressure on fees.

The opportunities are improved client investment and new areas of work, greater efficiencies in delivering results and data showing effectiveness. Orlaith Blaney (pictured), CEO McCannBlue and IAPI president, said it was great to see businesses reasserting the need to build their brands and realising that a continuous cycle of tactical sales activity – which addresses only the short term and not long term brand health – needed attention.

Blaney said adland has work to do, to continue to put world class creativity right at the heart of agencies. IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti said the latest census shows just how far the industry has come in three years. But she added that adland needs to promote itself and show that Ireland is a place where world class advertising ideas are produced.

IAPI Industry Census 2015 was carried out by Amárach Research between March and April.  Data was submitted by 45 out of 54 member agencies, a response rate of 83 per cent.

For a full copy of the report log onto www.iapi.ie

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