In 2015, companies spent £1.7 billion on advertising in Scotland. Individually, ads each have their own purpose, whether building brands, raising awareness, changing behaviour, creating loyalty or boosting sales. But in aggregate, advertising makes choice more visible, creates competition and stimulates innovation and investment right across the economy. So much so, that for every £1 spent on advertising in Scotland, £5 is returned to GDP – an £8.8 billion contribution in total.
The UK Advertising Pays study found that for every £1 spent on advertising, the UK economy receives over £6 in benefits. In Scotland, the economic impact multiplier is smaller because there is less direct activity associated with the advertising sector (since much of this takes place elsewhere in the UK).
Advertising’s £8.8 billion return to Scottish GDP represents 5.6% of the Scottish economy as a whole. One quarter of that activity – £2 billion – is a direct impact of the people employed in commissioning, creating, making, buying and selling all those ads. Even larger – an incredible £6.8 billion impact – is the effect that advertising has on the economy at large, through its ability to create more effective markets, spur competition, spark innovation and improve consumer information.
In recent analysis, Deloitte identified advertising’s ‘Virtuous Circle’ – the process by which advertising improves consumer information, stimulates price comparison, delivers consumer benefit and incentivises business to compete.
Advertising doesn’t just work for companies that advertise. A significant part of the £1.7 billion spent in Scotland on advertising is essential revenue for hundreds of Scottish media businesses – from on-line, television, radio and print to billboards, cinemas and mail. Advertising makes media cheaper – or free – for the millions of people reading, listening and watching. In many cases, the news, entertainment and culture we enjoy simply would not exist without advertising revenues.
Over 42,000 Scottish jobs are supported by advertising. The majority – some 28,000 – are in advertising agencies, production companies, media businesses and marketing departments within advertisers. Advertising roles are generally highly skilled and well paid – around 11% higher than the mean Scottish salary of £33,500.