• 07 September 2017

    The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) has today highlighted significant progress in their efforts to tackle online brand safety and ad fraud.

    Working to develop and secure a safer online environment for advertisers, the body has awarded a further 11 certificates for brand safety and two further certificates relating to reducing online ad fraud.


    • The last month has been the most prolific ever in terms of the number of certificates awarded for Brand Safety. 11 were awarded: to Teads, Media IQ, YuMe, Amnet, Pulsepoint, Fifty Media, Encore, Avocet, Sovrn, IOTEC and Clearstream. They join 35 other companies who’ve successfully been reviewed against the Good Practice principles for protecting where brand’s online ads appear.


    • Quantcast and IOTEC became the 5th and 6th companies to receive certification against the Good Practice Principles to reduce the risk of fraudulent ads being served. They join RadiumOne, Affectv, Unruly and MediaIQ.


    Bethan Crockett, Brand Safety and Digital Risk Director at GroupM EMEA, says, “GroupM UK welcomes increasing participation in both JICWEBS Brand Safety and Fraud Protection Best Practice Principles Certification. It is critical for our clients to know proactive steps are being taken to protect digital supply chain integrity.”

    Richard Foan, JICWEBS chair, says, “This recent surge in independently audited certifications for brand safety and anti-fraud shows that the increased levels of trust and transparency that buyers demand are being injected into the digital ad trading supply chain. It also gives buyers a wider array of partners to choose from when considering who is more likely to protect their investment in digital."

    ISBA's Marketing Services Manager, David Ellison noted, “Brand safety and ad fraud are both major concerns for advertisers, who will welcome more suppliers gaining independently audited certification. This development helps to give advertisers more confidence in the digital supply chain and we look forward to even more suppliers receiving certification.”

    Further information about JICWEBS can be found here.

    Please contact David Ellison for further information on aspect of the above. 

  • 07 September 2017

    On Tuesday, 05 September, the Scottish Government announced its new Programme for Government 2017-18.

    It includes “measures to limit the marketing of products high in fat, sugar and salt”. This is a shift in the position of the Scottish Government which has hitherto focused on product reformulation and in-store promotions.

    Appearing in a section on “Delivering Better Public Health”, the Scottish Government has declared that it “will consult this year on a range of actions to deliver a new approach to diet and healthy weight management – including on support to lose weight for people with, or at risk of, type-2 diabetes. To support this, we will also progress measures to limit the marketing of products high in fat, sugar and salt which disproportionately contribute to ill health and obesity."

    The full document is available here.

    ISBA is working with the ASA to clarify the position and identify the next steps.

    For further information on any of the above, please contact Tanya Joseph.



    For press enquiries, please contact Abi Slater on 020 7291 9020.

  • 29 August 2017

    The improving alignment between media agencies and their clients continues as agency iCrossing has announced they will adopt ISBA’s Framework Media Services Contract making them the first digital agency to do so.

    To date the Framework has been used by 44 ISBA members and five media agencies. The agencies have been using the Framework as their contract or as a starting point for negotiations with clients. A further 20 agencies, across a number of disciplines, are considering the terms.

    The terms, drafted with the lawyers Fieldfisher, were launched in April 2016 and backed by ISBA’s members. They were created to improve commercial relationships between clients and media agencies that recognised the increased need for digital standards when buying media.

    The Framework was also designed to reflect the multiple disciplines an agency undertakes for its client including sponsorship, social media and branded content.  
    iCrossing will adopt the ISBA framework and offer it as a starting point for all new client contracts moving forward, as well as making it available to its existing clients. 

    In June 2017 ISBA carried out a review with members to establish how the Framework Media Services Contract was being used. The results will be shared with members later this year. A revised version of the Framework is in progress which will incorporate any feedback from current users and opportunities for improvement. This is expected to be ready to go to market in early 2018. 

    Debbie Morrison, Director of Consultancy and Best Practice at ISBA said: 

    ISBA is greatly encouraged by iCrossing’s adoption of the ISBA Framework Media Services Contract and know it will enhance conversations with their clients on key industry issues including digital governance and metrics. iCrossing join a growing band of agencies which offer media services who are adopting the framework terms.

    Mark Iremonger, iCrossing UK CEO said:

    Transparency and trust are fundamental to building productive, mutually beneficial and long term client-agency partnerships. ISBA’s Framework, which was developed with its UK client member organisations is a welcome document; it formalises principles that iCrossing has always upheld, which makes it easy for us to sign up to.


    Notes to editors 

    The Framework Media Services Contract was launched April 26 2016 to ISBA members. 

    ISBA worked closely with their members, expert lawyers and experienced media consultants to surface current key issues, some elements of which were starting to undermine the trust between clients and their media agencies.  

    The initiative was supported by five mainstream media consultants (MediaSense, Ebiquity, ID Comms, Firmdecisions, and Financial Progression).  

    In April 2017 the framework achieved international recognition, receiving a prestigious World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) President’s award for industry leadership.

    For more information contact:
    Abi Slater
    Director of Communications

    About iCrossing

    iCrossing is the marketing agency for a modern world. We specialise in turning brand potential into business performance. Our marketing solutions combine strategy and creativity with data, technology and performance marketing expertise to drive business outcomes. 

    We are unique in being owned by Hearst. This makes us the only digital-native agency that's part of a global content, media and entertainment group. And it gives us access to some of the world's leading editorial and entertainment teams, and the audience insights they provide.

  • 23 August 2017

    ISBA has announced the appointment of Steve Chester as ISBA's Director of Media. Steve’s appointment reflects ISBA’s commitment to continue to strengthen its offering for digital advertisers.

    Steve's remit will encompass digital and data, as well as offline media. He has a long background in digital, including at media owners such as Microsoft, a full service digital agency and most recently the IAB, where he was Director of Industry Programmes and Data. Over the last two months Steve has also been working for ISBA as a consultant.

    Mark Finney will be stepping down as ISBA’s current Director of Media in order to pursue other interests. Mark has made a significant contribution to the organisation during his time at ISBA.

    Steve’s appointment is the second significant hire Phil Smith has made since he was named as Director General in November 2016. In July he appointed Abi Slater as Director of Communications. Abi was previously Communications Director at DMGT plc and has extensive experience in the media industry including at Metro newspaper where she was Head of Marketing. 

    Commenting on the appointment Phil Smith, Director General of ISBA said
    “I’m delighted to welcome Steve to the ISBA team. His digital credentials and industry experience make him uniquely qualified to lead in the rapidly changing media environment. A big thank you is also due to Mark Finney, who has made a real impact on ISBA. We wish him every success in the future.”

    For more information contact 
    Abi Slater
    Director of Communications



  • 27 July 2017

    The Advertising Association (AA) and WARC have today published their latest Advertising Expenditure Report, outlining the key adspend figures for Q1 2017. 

    The key findings from the report include: 

    • Although UK adspend grew 1.3% YOY in Q1 2017, this is the slowest rate of growth in almost four years
    • TV advertising experienced its first fall since 2009, dropping 6.2%
    • Ad spend continues to be driven by the internet, mobile spend in particular grew 36.2%

    While the figures reflect certain positives within the market, they also highlight the need to focus on a number of outstanding issues, including media accountability and industry standards, that continue to impact the industry.

    ISBA's Director General, Phil Smith commented:

    "It is clear from the data that many important, long-term, brand advertisers are coming under increasing pressure from disruption and from weakening consumer confidence. As mobile and online video grows, it’s vital therefore that standards of measurement and accountability improve to give advertisers greater confidence in their brand-building investments.”

    A full overview of the report can be found below. 

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    UK advertising spend starts 2017 in growth

    London, 27th July 2017: UK advertising expenditure grew 1.3% year-on-year in Q1 2017 to reach £5,318m – the 15th consecutive quarter of growth but the slowest rate in almost four years, according to Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report data published today.

    Overall market growth occurred despite a drop of -6.2% in total television advertising, its first fall since 2009. However, TV ad expenditure is forecast to recover in 2018 with 2.5% growth.

    Digital formats performed well across the board, up 25.4% for national newsbrands, 8.1% for radio, 7.2% for broadcaster video-on-demand and 27.6% for out-of-home. Cinema recorded an outstanding quarter, growing 27.6% year-on-year in Q1.

    Ad spend growth continues to be driven by internet (+10.1% year-on-year), which includes digital revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, TV and radio broadcasters. Within this, spend on mobile formats (+36.2%) was particularly strong during the first quarter. One in four pounds spent on advertising in the UK now goes towards search.

    Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association said:

    “As business sentiment suffers, it’s no surprise to see ad-spend come under pressure – but the market overall remains resilient. Beyond these numbers, our sector is a huge source of inward investment and exports and should be a priority for Government as we focus on business beyond Brexit.”

    James McDonald, Senior Data Analyst at WARC commented:

    “The latest data show that large retailers – particularly supermarkets – and major food brands reined in their TV spending by 25% during the first three months of 2017, instead committing to cutting prices on the shelves as household expenditure wanes.

    “Higher inflation and slow wage growth has put a squeeze on consumer spending, while business confidence has weakened following the unexpected and indecisive general election result in June. These underlying stresses have resulted in a downgrade to our full-year expectations for UK ad market growth, almost all of which will come from digital formats.”

    The Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report is the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK. It is the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying on estimated or modelled data.

    The full year outlook for 2017 has been downgraded by -0.5pp to 2% growth, but is forecast to recover by 2018 at 2.6% growth, driven by the men’s football World Cup and a likely improvement in certainty around the terms of Brexit.



    At-a-glance media summary, Q1 2017

    • Internet adspend rose 10.1% during Q1 2017, mainly driven by mobile which experienced a 36.2% year-on-year increase in spend.
    • Television adspend dipped by -6.2% in the first quarter of 2017, with a decrease of -7.2% for spot advertising. Total TV spend is expected to dip -1.9% this year, before the losses are regained in 2018.
    • Radio adspend dipped -0.1% despite an 8.1% increase for digital ad formats during the quarter.
    • Out of home (OOH) spend contracted by -0.6% year-on-year during the first three months of 2017, despite a 27.6% rise in digital ad expenditure.
    • National Newsbrands’ combined ad revenues fell -6.6% during Q1 2017. However, this was the industry’s strongest performance in two and a half years, with digital (up 25.4% year-on-year) now accounting for just over a quarter of ad revenue.
    • Regional Newsbrands’ ad income dropped across print (-18.8%) and digital (-2.7%) formats in the first quarter of 2017, with combined revenues down -16.0%.
    • Magazine brands recorded losses in income from both print (-16.1%) and digital (-8.9%) ads in Q1.
    • Cinema adspend rose 27.6%, making it the only non-digital medium to grow during Q1 2017.
    • Direct Mail adspend was down -1.5% in Q1 2017, 7.5 percentage points better than forecast. 
  • 18 July 2017

    Today the ASA published its report into gender stereotypes in advertising. It is the product of a lengthy project to test whether the UK Advertising Codes and the ASA’s enforcement of them take proper account of the relevant evidence base.

    The 'Depictions, Perceptions and Harm' report finds that ads that feature gender stereotypes have potential to cause harm by contributing to unequal gender outcomes although it recognises that advertising is only one of many different facts that contribute to unequal gender outcomes.


    • There is support for the ASA’s track record of banning ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise women and girls and ads that suggest that it is acceptable for young women to be unhealthily thin.
    • There is evidence for a tougher line on ads featuring stereotypical gender roles which through their content and context may be potentially harmful to people, including ads which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.     
    • It would be inappropriate and unrealistic to ban ads which for example depict a woman cleaning.     
    • But, subject to context and content considerations, some types of depictions are likely to be problematic, for example:
    • An ad that depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up
    • An ad that suggests a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa
    • An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks

    Find out more on the ASA website.


    The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will develop new standards on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics. The ASA will then administer and enforce those standards. CAP will also use the evidence in the report to clarify standards that reflect the ASA’s existing position on ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise women and girls, and ads that suggest it is acceptable for young women to be unhealthily-thin.

    CAP will report publicly on its progress before the end of this year and has committed to delivering training and advice on the new standards in good time before they come into force in 2018, although it is not clear exactly when next year this will be.


    We recognise that unequal gender outcomes are harmful and arise out of a complex series of social, political and economic factors including stereotyping. It is good to see the ASA taking a proactive position on this important issue - one which many of our members are already addressing. 

    We hope and expect that the standards that CAP issues are clear, consistent and proportionate, taking into account the significant element of subjectivity in this area.


    • To work with CAP and other industry bodies to ensure that the standards produced by CAP are clear, consistent and proportionate, taking account of the huge degree of subjectivity in this area.
    • To work with members to share best practice and ensure that as responsible advertisers they continue to reflect the changing values and views of consumers and other stakeholders.

    For more information on the above, please contact me.

    Tanya Joseph
    Director of Communications, ISBA

  • 04 July 2017

    Update from Phil Smith delivered at ISBA's Annual Lunch

    ISBA's Annual Lunch, taking place on 04 July provided the perfect opportunity to meet members and friends in an informal environment. It also provided an opportunity to provide and update on what ISBA has been doing in the six months since my appointment, and as such here is an overview of what I shared with the 400+ attendees at the lunch. 

    • We have created a manifesto which was launched at our Annual Conference in March. At its heart is the objective of helping create a media marketplace that is transparent, accountable and responsible, which works for advertisers, while modernising ISBA itself.
    • We have constructively challenged Google on brand safety, working with the team in the UK and the US, ensuring that they understand the importance of the issue to members and the scale of the impact it has. Our constructive engagement contributed to significant and more rapid movement on Google’s part towards greater accountability. ISBA’s response to the issue raised our profile in trade and national media, with press, radio and TV coverage.
    • We have begun to work with Facebook on challenges from members on measurement, verification and brand safety.
    • We have built a relationship with the Cabinet Office, helping to shape its position on media transparency and brand safety and we are now in active discussions with the Cabinet Office team to deliver training in programmatic and digital marketing for senior marketers and more operational staff across relevant central government departments and agencies.
    • We have continued to share our media services framework with members and other interested parties. This award winning, internationally recognised template is helping dozens of brands recalibrate its relationships with their agencies, ensuring greater transparency and better safeguards around brand safety. We have just kicked off a review of the framework and will update it and the accompanying guidance notes to ensure it is fit for purpose in the fast changing environment in which we operate. Find out more here >
    • With the IPA, we have launched a push for independently audited, cross-channel, cross-platform audience measurement. With the encouragement of many members, we plan to make this a major campaigning theme for the second half year. Find out more here >
    • We have continued our busy programme of events, with dozens of training sessions, webinars and networking events covering issues from programmatic to data protection. In addition, we also held the first of our CMO dinners, which featured Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg and UK MD Steve Hatch, with further scheduled throughout the year. 
    • I am very keen to understand more about our members, what you think and want from us, which is why are are commissioning baseline research from Britain Thinks, to understand members’ perceptions of ISBA.

    More than anything else we have begun to create a collaborative, member-centred culture. ISBA is changing. We are changing in response to what our members want and in response to the ever-changing media and regulatory environment.

    I am clear that my job, the job of ISBA, is to ensure that you, our members, are able to advertise responsibly in a safe, secure and diverse media landscape. We need your help to ensure we are getting it right, that we are reflecting your priorities and giving you the support and advice you need. Let me know how we can help. 

    Phil Smith
    Director General, ISBA

  • 19 May 2017

    Last week, three of the UK’s biggest political parties, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, released their manifestos for the upcoming General Election.

    Proposals relating to the economy, Brexit and social justice featured heavily across all three, but what implications will the vote on 08 June have for advertisers? 

    Below is an overview of the key policies that may impact the industry:

    Championing the digital media environment

    Society’s (both commercial and personal) increasing dependence on digital technologies was clearly reflected in the manifestos released last week, with all three parties identifying digital opportunities as key to future economic success.


    As part of their plan to deliver a dynamic digital economy, the Conservatives have pledged to:  

    • Give businesses access to the investment, skills and talent they need to succeed, including having access to the ‘best talent from overseas’.
    • Deliver a ‘Digital Charter’, with one of the aims being to make Britain the best place to start and run a digital business. This will be underpinned by a regulatory framework that will ensure digital companies, social media platforms and content providers will have to abide by the principles they set out.
    • As far as privacy and data are concerned, the Conservatives aim to implement a new data protection law to provide protections for people’s data online


     Labour’s commitments to growing the digital economy include:

    • Ensuring that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flows.
    • Appoint a Digital Ambassador to liaise with tech companies and ensure businesses are ready to grow and prosper in the digital age.
    • Regarding data and online privacy, the party has also outlined an initiative that obliges companies to take measures to tackle online abuse and have committed to ‘maintaining strong data protection rules’.

    Liberal Democrats:

     The Lib Dems digital ambitions have focused on:

    • A review of the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy
    • Building digital skills in the UK and doubling the number of SMEs participating in the digital economy.
    • Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information. 

    Promoting a diverse, innovative and high quality media environment

    Although the full implications of Brexit remain to be seen, the importance of retaining and promoting a strong, diverse and innovative creative industry has been outlined as key to any future economic plans.


    Access to relevant skills, tax credits and media regulation all feature in the party’s manifesto, with the key commitments including :

    • Ensuring a sustainable business model for high-quality media online, to create a level playing field for our media and creative industries.
    • Help to provide creative companies with the skills and digital infrastructure they need, while building upon the favourable tax arrangements, including the creative industries tax credits scheme.
    • Growing digital and creative businesses throughout the UK.
    • The party has also outlined that they will be consistent in their approach to the regulation of online and offline media.


     The Labour party make specific reference to the importance of the creative industry, outlining plans to upgrade infrastructure and protect media freedoms. The party’s main objectives include:

    • Putting our world-class creative sector at the heart of negotiations and future industrial strategy.
    • Opening up the industry and upgrading the creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age, plus investing in creative clusters across the country.
    • Protecting media freedom by taking steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership.
    • Labour will also hold a national review of local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality.

    Liberal Democrats:

     On the creative industries, the party’s plans include:

    • Continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent, copyright and licensing rules.
    • Addressing the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses.
    • Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership.

    Responsible advertising and industry self-regulation

    While the Conservatives have not made any specific references to placing restrictions on advertising, both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats have included initiatives aimed at Childhood obesity and HFSS advertising.


    The party have made a clear intention to prioritise childhood obesity, with intentions to publish a new strategy within the first 100 days, which would include:

    • Proposals on advertising and food labelling.
    • Efforts to address childhood oral health, with plans to introduce the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.

    Liberal Democrats:

    Much like the Labour Party, the Lib Dems have made childhood obesity a key issue, with intentions to:

    • Restrict the marketing of junk food to children and restrict TV advertising before the 9pm watershed.
    • Close loopholes in the sugary drinks tax and introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.
    • The party is also looking to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, subject to the final outcome of the legal challenge in Scotland.

    ISBA's Response

    ISBA will work with the incoming government of whatever hue to ensure that our members are free to advertise responsibly in a secure, safe and diverse media landscape.


  • 09 May 2017
    A year after its launch, ISBA’s framework contract for media services has received international recognition, receiving a prestigious World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) President’s award for industry leadership last week (29 April 2017). 

    Announced at the WFA gala dinner held during Global Marketer Week, the award acknowledges how the contract, launched in April 2016, has quickly made a real difference to marketers and has been emulated in a growing number of markets across the globe. 

    The contract is designed to help advertisers put in place new, more robust terms with their media agencies, to combat significant issues around transparency and adherence to industry standards.  

    With clauses outlining agency responsibilities related to digital measurement, metrics and standards, ad fraud and brand safety on-line, the contract has already been used by dozens of brands with over £4.3 billion of business under better managed terms, with many other advertisers using it to help them prepare for future media agency negotiations.  

    Debbie Morrison, ISBA’s director of consultancy and best practice, said:
    “It is fantastic to see all the hard work that it took to prepare the model contract being rewarded by the WFA, especially when we know that it is benefitting so many brands and having such a positive impact both in the UK and beyond.”

    Those benefits have been lauded Sara Bennison, Chief Marketing Officer at Nationwide, who said: 

    “ISBA’s work has made a positive change in client agency relationships.  Depending on their priorities each advertiser and agency can adapt and negotiate the exact terms of the template which gives both parties a robust contract framework to build upon.”
    Accepting the award from the ceremony in Toronto, Phil Smith, ISBA’s director general said: 

    “I am delighted that ISBA’s work in this important but much overlooked area has been recognised by the WFA. The model contract is transforming the relationship between advertisers and their agencies, in particular enabling brands to negotiate transparent terms and to set out clearly the digital standards they expect.”

    --- Ends ---

    Notes to Editors

    1. About ISBA – the Voice of British Advertisers
    ISBA (www.isba.org.uk / @isbasays) is the only body focused solely on the interests of advertisers in the UK, representing the majority of the biggest British advertisers and household names. ISBA protects our members’ freedom to advertise responsibly and maximise their effectiveness in deploying their marketing spend.

    ISBA is the advertiser member of the UK Advertising Association, and advertisers’ representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code-owning body. We are also active members of the International Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Marketing Commission, and members of the WFA.  

    2. The World Federation of Advertisers brings together the biggest markets and marketers worldwide. The WFA President’s awards recognise association-led industry initiatives which have helped advance the marketers’ agenda and made a real difference. This year nitiatives were evaluated by WFA President and RBS CMO David Wheldon and honoured during the WFA Gala Dinner on Thursday 27 April in Toronto.