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UK ad export value revealed as £18bn PA as Cannes Lions kicks off

New UK advertising exports figures, published today at Cannes Lions, show a 15% increase to reach £18bn in 2023, four times higher than the equivalent figure a decade ago.

Analysis undertaken by UK advertising think tank Credos for the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) shows the UK is the second biggest global exporter of advertising, market research and public opinion polling services, closing the gap on the number 1 exporter, the US, from $4.7bn to $3bn.

Credos also revealed that the UK exports more advertising than it does engineering, telecommunications, legal, accounting, audio-visual, or architectural services, based on the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The US remains the largest market for UK advertising services in terms of individual country exports, importing over £3.4bn worth of UK advertising, followed by Germany (£1.2bn) and France (£1bn). Exports going to Europe (including both EU and non-EU countries) account for 63% (£11.4bn) of UK advertising exports.

Creativity, talent and reputation are at the heart of UK advertising’s exports success story, according to PwC, alongside the UK’s location enabling it to transcend time zone differences with Asia and America.

The UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) is advancing the UK’s ambitions as an export powerhouse at this week’s Cannes Lions with over 30 events planned under the ‘Business of Creativity’ programme, designed to help unlock growth opportunities. UKAEG is supported by its 50+ members from across the industry and the Advertising Association, APA, BPMA, and the IPA.

The UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) has also partnered with integrated agency VCCP London to create a special digital out of home campaign to celebrate UK creativity during the week of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (June 17 – 21).

The poster reads ‘106 Lions on a shirt’, celebrating the UK’s number of wins at Cannes Lions last year while nodding to the summer of sport ahead of us, in a confident fun celebration of UK creativity in a year when a new humour category was added to the 2024 awards.

The poster will sit on a digital out of home screen outside the Cannes Lions award show venue, Le Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes, throughout the week of the festival. It will also be supported by a social media campaign.

Aisling Conlon, international trade director for UK Advertising, Advertising Association, said: “The UK has a rich history and a strong global reputation for creativity, consistently reflected in our podium presence at the Cannes Lions Awards each year. In a week celebrating global creativity, we’ve harnessed the competitive spirit of the awards stage and infused it with UK humour. Known for our bold ideas and world-class creative storytelling, we are echoing the hopeful sentiment of England fans chanting ‘It’s coming home’ with our campaign to celebrate the UK’s long standing record of creativity excellence in a memorable and standout manner.”

Julian Douglas, Co-CEO at VCCP and chairman of UKAEG, added: “The latest export figures show that the UK are kings of Europe when it comes to advertising. We’ve also got a trophy cabinet that’s packed full of Lions, recognising the creative achievements of our current golden generation. Let’s see if we can bring a few more home this summer.”

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