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IAPI Survey Finds Resilience & Resolve in Adland

IAPI Members Urged to Take a Leadership Role During Covid-19 Crisis

Charley Stoney, IAPI CEO

Some 86% of IAPI members are working on COVID-19 related campaigns, over a third of agencies think that the ongoing crisis will lead to consolidation while 90% believe that there will be fundamental changes to how the industry works, according to a new Leaders Survey which has been published by IAPI.

“The new IAPI Agency Leaders Survey is the result of work we undertook last week with director level individuals across our entire membership to assess the current sentiment of the industry during Covid-19,” says Charley Stoney, CEO of IAPI.

“The results show that the industry is working their way through the crisis, doing what they do best, solving problems creatively for their clients.  Naturally, they are as much under pressure as any industry right now, especially the smaller agencies. However, the industry is highly resilient and agile, determined to continue providing the best possible strategic and creative thinking to their clients,” she says.

Creative Opportunities

With most agency staff working remotely at the moment, the survey found that 66% of respondents found that creative ideation and production is just as easy as it is under normal circumstances.  IAPI cites recent campaigns by TBWA\Dublin for the Department of Justice & Equality and JWT Folk for Vodafone Ireland as examples.

Because of this, 90% of respondents believe that there will be fundamental changes to how the industry works, with remote working likely to be a key feature for some agencies in the future.

The survey also notes that 61% of respondents believe this new way of working will give them the confidence to work remotely with clients on an international scale, a key component of the industry’s ability to recover and grow in the future.

Winning New Business

The survey also reveals that 6 out of 10 agencies which responded have won new client business over the last month and 91% are actively engaged in pitches.

“This survey shows an Irish advertising industry that is very much open for business, supporting, advising and guiding our clients. And we’re also seeing some brilliant examples of Irish creativity at this time, from outstanding pro bono work for charities to innovative solutions for the production of TV commercials,” says Shenda Loughnane, president of IAPI and group managing director of Dentsu Aegis Network.

With 86% of IAPI members are working on COVID 19 related campaigns at the moment, the survey also reveals that 98% are happy to take part in pitches at the moment, although two-thirds have indicated that timelines and the level of creative required for pitches need to be re-assessed.

Planning Issues

Not surprisingly, nearly half of the respondents are finding that business planning and forecasting is particularly difficult at this time.

The survey also found that half of all the respondents are working closely with production and post-production companies to provide innovative solutions that bring campaigns to life.

“The current crisis is a chance for agencies to really prove their worth to our clients. We consider ourselves as valued partners. Now is the time to prove it. We should apply our creative thinking to business problems not just communications. Help them understand if their brands should be active in the market before we help them work out how,” says Patrick Meade, managing director, Boys + Girls.

Staff Retention

With temporary lay-offs and salary cuts widespread throughout the economy, it would appear that the advertising industry is now a lot more bullish about staff retention and attracting new talent, a big issue for many agencies over the past two years. The survey shows that 61% believe it will now be easier to both retain staff while 31% believe that it will be able to attract talent.


With a third of respondents saying that the Covid-19 crisis will result in further consolidation in the sector, 45% also believe that it will spur the industry on to improve it technological capabilities to service clients better. However, only one in ten respondents believe that this crisis will act as a breeding ground for new, digitally enabled start-ups.

While home-working has been a success for many agencies, three quarters of respondents are concerned about their teams feeling uncertain and insecure during the crisis, according to the survey.

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