International CEO, Julian Douglas appointed as Chair for UK Advertising Exports Group


Agency News



International Trade Week: A Key Event

The latest advertising export figures for 2022 show a 15.5% increase year-on-year to reach an impressive £15.6 billion, cementing the industry's position as a global powerhouse. These latest figures come ahead of a packed programme for International Trade Week (November 6-9), hosted by the Department of Business and Trade and the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG), with events designed to help businesses, large or small, maximise their global growth potential in international markets. 

Julian Douglas Appointed as UKAEG Chair

Julian Douglas, the International CEO & Vice Chairman at VCCP, has been appointed as the new Chair of the UKAEG to support its work. His active participation in global trade missions and commitment to global new business, as IPA President (2021 – 2023), make him the ideal candidate for this role. He succeeds James Murphy, Founder/CEO at New Commercial Arts.

Six-Year Growth and Untapped Potential

Based on the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Credos, the advertising industry’s thinktank, found that the UK advertising industry remains resilient in its exports growth. It has surpassed the revised 2021 export figure of £13.6 billion despite economic headwinds. 

Over the past six years, the industry has experienced significant growth, with exports increasing from £7.1 billion in 2016 to £15.6 billion in 2022. This positive trajectory can be attributed partly to the growing number of UK advertising and market research companies engaging in international activities all while the number of companies categorised as advertising and market research services is 23,095. This number has remained largely stable since 2016.

Surprisingly, just under a third of UK advertising and marketing- related service companies engage in exporting, indicating significant untapped potential for growth. To further drive growth and expand global reach, the industry launched the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) in 2020. This initiative, supported by the Advertising Association, APA, BPMA, IPA, and the Department for Business & Trade aims to promote UK advertising services worldwide. Julian will serve as a representative for the sector on exporting matters and act as an ambassador to ensure continuous growth in the next decade as the group looks to unlock new markets

The UKAEG has set its sights on key international markets such as the United States, China, India, and MENA, with plans for multiple trade missions in 2024. These missions will include participation in renowned global events such as SXSW, Advertising Week NYC, Shanghai International Advertising Festival, Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, and Goa Fest.

The preliminary export data paints a compelling picture of the UK advertising industry's resilience, innovation, and sustained growth. The next export report, set to be published in March 2024, will delve into this data in detail, providing a comprehensive view of the industry's trajectory and its impact on the global advertising landscape.

Key Insights from Industry Leaders on Global Expansion

Aisling Conlon, Director of International Trade at UKAEG, reflects on the forecast and the crucial role of the advertising industry in the UK’s economic growth, stating “With government and industry collaboration, backed up by action in trade missions, the advertising sector has the potential to drive growth in the next decade and ensure it remains one of the UK's most valuable exports.”

Lord Offord, Minister for Exports said: "The UK’s creative industries are world leading, and these record export figures provide a welcome boost as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by 2030. There are more than 200,000 people working at over 20,000 businesses in our advertising industry and I look forward to helping more of them expand into new markets, creating more jobs and cementing the UK as a services superpower."

Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association, said: “Dougie was a charismatic and visionary representative for the industry during his IPA Presidency and has proven himself to be a committed and tenacious leader in our Export group. I am excited that he’s taken on this new role. Prior to this, James Murphy, co-founder of NCA and previously of adam&eve, was our ‘exports champion’ and in him we were lucky to have another exemplary ambassador of the best of our business and we are very grateful to James for his support for our exports work.”

Follow this link if you’d like to sign up for the International Trade Week events and find out more about UKAEG.

By joining forces with the UK Advertising Exports Group and the Department for Business and Trade, businesses can tap into new markets and drive economic growth. Government support, trade agreements, and strategic collaborations offer opportunities worldwide. UK Advertising is ready to compete and win on a global scale. We have the smarts, the technology and the pure creative firepower to change the world and our position in it. Julian Douglas, International CEO & Vice Chairman, VCCP & UKAEG Chair