• 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. 
  • 22 March 2017

    Press release

    Wednesday 22 March 2017

    Advertisers seek closer relationships with fewer suppliers, finds new ISBA/OLIVER study 

    Nearly two thirds (62%) of advertisers are shifting towards stronger relationships with fewer suppliers as the move towards on-site and in-house solutions gains momentum, according to the first-ever UK study on advertisers’ use of in-house and on-site agencies. 

  • 17 March 2017

     Following The Times article ISBA issued a statement.

  • 14 February 2017

    Today saw a quantum leap forward on media transparency issues with the news that the7stars and Bountiful Cow, the UK’s biggest independent media agency group, will adopt ISBA’s template framework agreement for media services.

    The terms, drafted with lawyers Fieldfisher, were launched in April 2016 and backed by ISBA’s members representing 450 major brands. The agreement was created to engender more open and transparent commercial relationships between clients and media agencies, at a time when trust is under threat.

    The contract also enables discussions and commitments around standards in digital media, e.g. how bot/click fraud, viewability, content verification and brand safety will be handled contractually.

    The ISBA contract was also designed to reflect contemporary client/media agency relationships which can span across multiple disciplines, on and off-line media, sponsorship, social media, branded content and much more. 

    ISBA and the7stars worked closely to adapt the contract so it is relevant to the agencies’ business, whilst still maintaining full protection/disclosure on transparency. the7stars, which handles £250m of annual billings, and Bountiful Cow are built on the premise of transparency so objectives were, in the main, aligned.     

    Debbie Morrison, director of consultancy and best practice at ISBA, said:

    “I was excited when the7stars approached us to discuss how they could use the ISBA media services template in their own business. We discussed potential amendments and very soon found we could agree on most points of change without materially affecting the ambitions of our document to provide more transparent, better managed agreements for clients.  Of course the new template should still be scrutinised and negotiated by clients but it’s a great start. We very much welcome this joint initiative and our door is firmly open for conversations with other agencies.”

    Phil Smith, ISBA’s director general, said:

    “In the light of P&G’s recent announcement of contract reviews worldwide, calling for transparency and digital standards, this collaboration with the7stars is a hugely important first step in providing UK advertisers with the tools to help enable the clean and transparent media supply chain envisioned in Mark Pritchard’s speech.”

    Jenny Biggam, the7stars, said:

    “We work to a number of unique contracts with different advertisers but our business principles are consistent and clear, and we are fully transparent. We support ISBA's attempts to drive greater transparency from UK media agencies and we approached them to discuss their proposed contract. We are delighted that we have now agreed a version of the contract that we will be happy to use with any client.”

    Henry Daglish, founder of Bountiful Cow, added:

    “As the new kids on the block we will be adopting this contract framework from the outset. The agreement sets the standard of the way that we work with all of our clients.”


    Notes to editors

    The Framework Agreement for Media Buying & Planning Services was launched April 26 2016 to ISBA members.

    ISBA worked closely with their members (450 major brands), 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.  

    They found that many media agency contracts currently in use were lacking in protection on transparency issues and essential detail, especially around digital matters and in particular click fraud, viewability, verification and brand safety, leaving media agencies without a vital brief on client expectations.

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

    ISBA and the leading media consultants believe that with the media ecosystem getting more complex and potentially more opaque, that it is now more important than ever for advertisers to have clear and strong contracts with their media agency. 





  • 13 February 2017

    ISBA sets out clear and practical advice for advertisers

    Digital advertising has presented advertisers with new targeting opportunities. It has also brought challenges, especially when it comes to ensuring that the sites on which advertising is served are not damaging to brand reputation.

    Here three first steps ISBA recommends to brands

    1 Adopt ISBA's Framework Agreement for media services. We cover content verification and brand safety. The framework agreement includes clauses specifically designed to ensure that ads are not placed on inappropriate sites.

    2 Follow Industry Best Practice: ISBA is a founding member, with the IPA, AOP and IAB of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), set up, in part, to tackle brand safety by reducing the risk of advertising appearing within illegal or inappropriate content online. Currently 35 companies have received this seal for Brand Safety and we advise advertisers to check all ad trading partners to make sure they have this certification to ensure their online reputation is protected.

    3 Adopt ISBA's Brand Safety Guidance which outlines a number of tips and tools that brands can use to help protect their online reputation.

    ISBA members can find the Framework Agreement and Safety Guidance here

    Non-members can contact ISBA for further advice here

  • 18 January 2017

    Press Release

    Date: 17.01.2017 


     Brexit Plan 

  • 16 January 2017

    Press Release

    Date: 16.01.2017

    Advertising underpins the economy says Deloitte global report

  • 11 January 2017

    Press Release

    Date: 11.01.2017



    The European Commission (EC) announced (10/01/17) that it is proposing new legislation to update the current rules, aiming to strengthen users’ privacy and reinforce trust and security in the ‘Digital Single Market’.