Adverganza in the US came up with an interesting point yesterday. Why don't we sell ourselves as an industry more?
The ONS had to point out the disproportionate contribution us advertising and marketing bods made to the UK economy. We, as an industry, lead the world in terms of adapting to the changing face of media and advertising.
At the same time, our government seems to lead the world in making up new things were not allowed to advertise and new times that we're not allowed to do it in. Advertising pays for people (and children) to experience culture and information that they would have to otherwise pay for. At it's best it is a force for equality and change - letting people know about things which they would otherwise be unaware.
We always have special things to point to, but I think there are a couple we should be proud of:
Organic food - scientific crap but still a source of greenery unequalled so far
Ending animal testing - protesters get so far but once the body shop got going everyone else followed
Jamie's School Dinners - a TV ad campaign \ PR stunt ended up making the government change policy
Drink Driving - another case for advertising proving able to change people's opinions
M&S - advertising gave people a reason to revisit the shop, saving a british institution
Obviously we're not perfect at all points, but we have shown that we can act responsibly - the ASA is a good case study. In the end we are all rational actors and have huge amounts at stake to ensure that our brands and our agencies have long term futures. We are not about to put all that at risk for the sake of short term gain.