Advertising Week Europe begins today, so let's remember that the creative industries are the unsung heroes of the UK economy

 
Matt Scheckner
Coca-Cola unveiled one of the world's bi
London is home to several of the country's best creative companies (Source: Getty)

When people think about television, they probably think of the BBC and UK programmes with global appeal, like Downton Abbey and Killing Eve. And even in literature and film, British characters are at the top of any list of the most memorable and loved creations – from James Bond to Harry Potter.


Past and present, UK talent in fashion and music continues to dominate – from The Beatles, The Kinks, Rolling Stones, and The Who, to international brand icons and visionaries like Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and Paul Smith.

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Across all aspects of life, industry, and popular culture, we find British brands cutting across public consciousness – a true testament to Great Britain’s stalwart creative industries.

The backbone of success

Whether in advertising, design, fashion, media, or technology, the creative economy has long stood as the backbone of British success.


Come what may with Brexit, we must ensure that this pillar of economic prowess and global soft power remains standing tall and proud. Now is the time to be throwing real weight behind Britain’s creative industries.

The UK rightfully champions its financial services companies, trailblazing tech firms, and world-renowned car industry. Yet the contribution of the creative economy – too often the forgotten element in the country’s success equation – is now more vital than ever.

In 2018 alone, the creative industries were worth more than £100bn to the UK economy. They currently employ one in 11 people and have grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy as a whole since 2010. Such vibrant growth must be protected and allowed to thrive.

Advertising Week Europe, which begins today, is further proof of this sector’s far-reaching influence. Over the next four days, London will play host to the continent’s largest gathering of the creative industries for the seventh year running. The capital stands as an irrefutable creative powerhouse and exerts an inexorable pull on the industry, drawing in international talent and investment that enriches both our economy and society.

Action must be taken

Beyond this annual London forum, year-round entities like the Creative Industries Council, the Creative Industries Federation, and London & Partners have a tremendous opportunity to lead this sector into the future.

There’s also the government’s GREAT Britain campaign, which aims to promote British businesses to the rest of the world. But this is just the beginning – advocacy is one thing, action is another.

What we must do is build on what cannot be replicated elsewhere: homegrown British creativity.

The ingenuity that fuels the UK’s creative economy connects communities which may never have otherwise crossed paths, and stimulates discussions on the most important issues. It is imperative that this momentum is recognised and capitalised on at this crossroads moment for the country.

Because as we teeter on the edge of Brexit, there is a real risk that access to talent, investment, and global connections will be damaged.

If not addressed, Britain will suffer both commercially and culturally.

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Cultivating an environment that enables the creative industries to thrive is the best medicine for what ails the country.

Advertising Week Europe will certainly play its part in this effort. But with the same force of will that Winston Churchill and the British people displayed at Dunkirk, the UK must embrace its best, most effective, proven pathway forward – creativity.

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