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The Address: Jeremy Lee on advertising's new trade body collective

It’s entirely possible that you missed the launch of VoxComm given that most people had more pressing thoughts on their mind

By Jeremy Lee

It certainly passed me by and, judging by its latest press missive, it did others.

The announcement, from an organisation that sounds like it could be a hard-left fringe grouping from the European Parliament but is in fact a global association of advertising trade bodies, including the IPA and the 4A’s (that errant apostrophe…), revealed that it had now “opened its doors” (and if it’s following government advice and has a tradesperson round, possibly its windows too).

When it was created 11 months ago, VoxComm’s first campaign was to demand better treatment for agencies from clients, some of which it accused of “bullying” and delaying payments and therefore treating agencies as de facto banks. Aside from the damage that this was doing to the agencies themselves, the trickle-down effect to other suppliers, including freelancers, was substantial. The delicious irony of those same brand owners banging on about purpose and CSR to consumers while doing the complete opposite to their suppliers/partners has rightly never been lost on many.

Its latest press release is a promise to champion the value that the sector delivers to business and the economy (which sounds splendidly familiar) with the imminent launch of a new manifesto. Whether that means that it has been successful in its previous mission on late and cancelled payments is unclear. But since its launch it has gone from 11 members to 36 and is confident it can now go toe-to-toe with the World Federation of Advertisers.

And will it? Well if it does more that take out press ads advocating spending through a recession, as the IPA did in the bleakest days of the UK’s first lockdown, that would be a start. Naming and shaming - and getting its members to refuse to work with those errant client companies (particularly those whose corporate message are at odds with their corporate behaviour) - would be more powerful still.

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