Welcome to EACA's
2020 Annual Report

"WE CERTAINLY CANNOT HOLD BACK THE CRISIS BUT WE CAN TRY TO AMELIORATE SOME OF THE WORST PARTS"

Paul O'Donnell, EACA President, CEO Ogilvy EMEA

For so many reasons 2020 is unlikely to be a year that any of us forget. In March, it looked like the industry was facing a seismic shock from which it may not be able to continue to operate, let alone recover.10 months later the picture is much clearer.  

The resilience of our business has proved nothing less than remarkable. Remote working and video meetings became the norm almost overnight. The adoption of digital technology dramatically accelerated. Perhaps most significantly, many client agency relationships were strengthened by the sense of crisis and shared experiences. Despite the contribution of machines, we also appreciated the human touch more than ever.

From the perspective of the EACA, we also felt a true sense of community of national advertising associations and agency groupings working closely together: sharing best practices and collectively problem-solving as never before. Therefore, the overall picture for our industry has worked out much better than one might have imagined at the start of the crisis. Yet that shouldn’t deflect us from the realisation that the advertising and communications industry across the region has effectively been decimated, in the true sense of the word. Financial reports of the major advertising holding groups, indicate a reduction in revenue of 10% from 2019. 

From EACA’s point of view, we certainly cannot hold back the crisis, but we can try to ameliorate some of the worst impacts.  And most importantly help the industry and those who work in it adapt, re-imagine and reinvent themselves for the post-crisis economy. With this in mind, we have used the time as an organisation to redefine our vision, purpose, and priorities for the coming years.

Diversity & Inclusion in particular, has been highlighted as a challenge for all industries in 2020.  Advertising and Communications are no exception. Many of our member agencies are taking significant steps to embrace these challenges, and we have initiated a high-powered task group to advise on how we can best support our members and markets to make progress here.

We have  sought even closer collaboration with other interested parties, such as the WFA and Effie Worldwide, in strengthening the key foundations of our business – collaboration, transparency and effectiveness. Our programme of briefings, seminars and events has seamlessly transitioned on-line, not missing a beat. And in some cases, we have even seen greater engagement and participation that prior years. 

Moreover, our strong commitment to multi-lateral partnership across the globe has led to us playing a leading role the further development of VoxComm – a global community of leading advertising bodies including the 4As, (the Canadians!), and the IPA (in the UK). 

Perhaps most significantly, EACA’s central role as an advocate for the industry to the EU has never been more important. It is vital that we are there to listen, explain and advocate for the industry.

And finally, my thanks to all of the team at the EACA for going above and beyond in 2020. It is a small but beautifully formed team, who embraced reduced hours, limited resources and new operating modes, with positivity, enthusiasm and practicality. We are in good hands for the coming year.

Here’s to a brighter and clearer 2021!

Paul

Activities in Numbers

>250

meetings with the industry, institutions, and members

15

position papers

>30

External speaker opportunities

>600

Effie Europe online gala participants

+3,921

Social Media Followers

175

BLOGS, NEWSLETTERs, SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

>12,000

IPA foundation certificate participants since 2003

300

2020/2021 Ad Venture student participants

What We Do

Advocacy

Promoting and protecting the interests of Europe’s communications agencies

Industry

Solving industry issues for and with agencies

Awards

Rewarding best brand activation cases and effective excellence in marketing communications

Inspire!

Raising industry standards, developing talent and boosting dialogue & co-operation through education and training

brussels

2020 brought along considerable changes, also to managing public affairs. Opportunities to meet policymakers physically were practically reduced to zero, whereas touchpoints to meet online increased given that almost everyone worked from home. However, this was mostly only the case if you already had already established contacts with these persons before.

2020 meant that we were able to consolidate our work and more deeply engage with our partners. It has also meant that, due to a delay in the legislative process, a concentrated package of public consultations was launched in September, which we tried to respond to as efficiently as possible with the help of members.

 Overall, we worked on the following:

We expanded our engagement in global initiatives and fed the European perspective into global processes (e.g., GARM, VoxComm, WHO consultation on alcohol, EDAP consultation (incl. disinformation), OECD Digital Taxation…)

We participated in and contributed members’ views to a broad range of public consultations at EU level, from the DSA, EDAP, green claims, the New Consumer Agenda, AI and finally on Standard Contractual Clauses

We highlighted the value of advertising self-regulation in various public consultations, strengthening the message of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (e.g., DSA consultation, Green claims consultation, WHO consultation on alcohol, etc.)

In doing so, we considerably expanded our outreach to and involvement of relevant experts in the membership (e.g., on disinformation, taxation, privacy, etc.)

We supported members with specific requests (e.g., alcohol or tobacco advertising, the age of a child, etc.)

We reinforced our stakeholder outreach and engagement (e.g., by publishing joint letters, consolidating views of the advertising industry, intensifying our collaboration with the WFA, setting up regular calls with Google on the DST)

We performed our first market-wide study through our network of national associations on political advertising, shared the results with the wider advertising industry and built the foundation for potential additional engagement of this network.

We considerably increased the number of external speakers involved in our internal public affairs meetings (e.g., Commission speakers on AVMSD and DSA).

 We established a regular dialogue between EACA’s Digital Tax group and Google on issues related to the OECD tax reform proposal and EU national DSTs.

We systematically engaged the EACA Task Forces into relevant EU policy debates, such as illegal/harmful content (brand safety), privacy (international personal data transfers) etc. 

Looking Forward

As we move forward to 2021, some familiar issues will remain on the agenda (e.g., ePrivacy), some new ones just recently entered the scene (e.g., Digital Services Act) and could considerably change the world of online advertising as we know it. 

For a comprehensive overview please read our 2021 End-of-Year-Outlook. 

Solving industry issues for and with agencies

2020 was an incredibly busy year for the EACA community which has been stunning when it comes to support and engagement. As a result, thanks to our members, we have been able to kick off many initiatives to solve pertinent industry issues. 

 

INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES COUNCIL (IAC)

2020 got off to a promising start for the IAC with the election of a new Chair: Ulrich Pröschel, TBWA. This new appointment encouraged IAC members to review what the Council stands for and what it wants to achieve. The discussion around value-based pricing had its debut at EACA’s Annual Conference in 2019 and it seemed crucial to prioritise this topic. At the same time, WFA published their Project Spring report in July 2020 highlighting the importance of an added value approach. A first exchange meeting between agencies and WFA’s Procurement heads took place. The EACA ‘Procurement’ Task Force will pick up this topic in 2021. The client-agency relationship and how the pandemic has affected it, was obviously key to dig deeper into as well. In 2021, the EACA IAC will take a closer look at in-housing and what it means for creative agencies.

“2020 was year of transformation. It helped us to focus on topics that really matter and allowed to reshape what the IAC and the EACA can do to help support the interests of our members. Shifting to a virtual but more regular conversation amongst the members brought the IAC closer together than ever.”

Ulrich Proeschel, EACA IAC Chair, VP Business Development, TBWA Europe Global Business Development, Digital Arts Network

MEDIA AGENCIES COUNCIL (MAC)

The MAC has decided to create the following task forces to focus on the following three industry challenges: 

The objective of the task force is to produce a set of best-practice guidelines, processes, and behaviours in relation to media benchmarking and auditing, as well as pitch management. In January 2021, the task force has started constructive exchanges with the main auditors and the WFA, with a view to align on a “code of conduct” endorsed by all key stakeholders (clients, agencies, and auditors).

The objective of the task force is to help give a collaborative media agency position on relevant and pertinent media quality topics and existing industry initiatives relevant to EMEA. In 2021, the task force will look to and engage with various existing industry initiatives with the overall aim to ensure the highest quality media across the industry. 

The objective of the task force is to contribute effectively and proportionally in creating a global framework for a single standard audience measurement across all media channels with a focus on video and display. In 2021, the task force aims to feed in agencies’ views as one voice into the ongoing debates in different markets and to intensify the engagement with the WFA.  

“The EACA MAC has been building broad collaborations with advertisers through the WFA, with media publishers and platforms as well as with auditors and consultants. The work EACA has done in 2020 has moved the entire industry significantly forward on some tough issues.”

Johan Boserup, EACA MAC Chair, Global CEO Investment, Omnicom Media Group

NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS COUNCIL (NAC)

In 2020, it was crucial for the NAC to dedicate enough time to exchange with one another and to engage in best-practice sharing. Regular calls throughout the pandemic took place on a more general note as well as on specific topics such as revenue models for associations, value-based pricing, education, diversity & inclusion, events & awards, etc. This learning platform was highly supported and appreciated by members during these challenging times. 

”In a terrible year, arising from the pandemic, we all felt the feeling of not being alone. We could share problems and ambitions, taking inspiration from other countries’ best practices and gaining confidence from each other. We could not meet, as we used to, but we have been in contact even more frequently. What we say to our associates, we applied to ourselves on a regional extension. And it worked. We simply felt stronger.”

Stefano del Frate, EACA NAC Chair, Director General UNA

THE INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL (IMCC)

In 2020, the Integrated Marketing Communications Council (IMCC) decided to focus on sharing best practices and improving brand image. Several calls took place to discuss the current situation of the brand activation industry in different European markets and a new type of exchange was introduced – calls to share best practices. This year due to the global challenges, the Council has decided to postpone the IMC European Awards to 2021 with an extended eligibility period accepting campaigns from both 2019 and 2020. This time, without the awards preparation, was well invested and spent on improving the brand’s image with a new site design, which is more modern and user-friendly.

“Our business community has been set inordinate challenges this year and has adapted incredibly well to the circumstances and changing marketing environment. Pivotal to this is the support and shared learning provided through the network of membership of the EACA and IMC. If 2021 is to be the recovery year we all hope for, the need for our community to re-group will be essential.”

Peter Kerr, EACA IMCC Chair, Managing Director Multi Resourse Marketing (MRM)

THE HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL (HCC)

It was a very busy year for HCC members. 2020 kicked off quite ambitiously with various work streams. Then the pandemic hit. Time was specifically dedicated to high level speakers to stimulate discussions and stipulate food for thought. 

“2020 was a year when the importance of health became a focus for the world. The EACA HCC provided members with a forum to discuss shared issues and to put forward steps to maintain the health of our most value asset, our talent. We hope that in 2021 the specialist health expertise which is at the beating heart of all our agencies will contribute to rebuilding a healthier world.”

Philip Chin, EACA HCC Chair, President Europe Publicis Health

FURTHER WORKSTREAMS

What started in 2018 as a first exchange amongst agency associations around the world, has become a reality in 2020. In the middle of the pandemic, late payments have become a major threat to agencies around the globe. Agency associations called out that late payment is irresponsible and created the new global voice of agencies: VoxComm. As founding member, EACA together with the 4A’s in the US, the ICA in Canada and the IPA in the UK, continued to formalise this new coalition in 2020 to be up and running as of 2021.

Holding groups/network agencies as well as a few national agency associations have initiated D&I actions across Europe. As a result, the main objective of the EACA D&I Task Force is to play a supportive role for its members. The aim of the Task Force is to identify what change needs to be made and to drive that change in our creative and media industry considering that change takes time and therefore long-term & tangible initiatives seem preferable. The task force aims to provide clear, simple and useful recommendations for members.

The objective of the task force is to foster the regular exchange on privacy, data protection and transparency-related issues, including the ePrivacy regulation, General Data Protection Regulation and related guidelines as well as industry-wide transparency mechanisms. For 2021, the ePrivacy regulation and transparency-related measures in the Commission’s digital services packages will be in the focus.

The objective of the task force is to exchange views and information on planned or existing national, European, or global digital services taxes. For 2021, developments at OECD-level and the planned EU digital levy will be in focus.

In 2020, born out of one of the regular exchanges with association leaders around the world, EACA has co-founded the Effie Partner Council – a forum for Effie licensees around the world to provide strategic input, share market perspectives and encourage better communications & ideas sharing in the spirit of partnership. Partner Programmes around the world, and in our case from Europe, will be able to contribute to Effie Worldwides’ strategic direction and programme.

EACA is also a Board member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) to strengthen self-regulation across Europe as well as the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) focussing on giving European citizens greater transparencychoice, and control over their online advertising and privacy preferences and providing easy-access information about how data-driven advertising works in practice.

It has been a difficult year for awards competitions worldwide. The Effie Europe team, together with its Steering Committee, had numerous discussions on how to run the programme in such particular times and, most importantly, how to support agencies & clients and give them the opportunity to put their work in the spotlight. We have decided to extend our entry period to end of September and to lower the entry fees to support agencies. As a result, we have received high-quality entries from markets that were not participating in the Effies before.

Our Jury Chairs, Claudia Kuhn, Brand Building and Integrated Communication Manager at P&G and Brian McCarter, Chief Strategy Officer, EMEA at Ogilvy, went above and beyond in supporting the programme and took on a big role in moderating judging sessions, as well as contributing to the panel discussion and announcing the winners during the Virtual Gala. Since all the judging sessions took place online, we were able to engage more jurors, host more meetings in smaller groups and focus better on discussions. It gave us a lot of ideas on how to use jury feedback and insights to benefit the entrants, as well as the industry!

“Creative Advertising is always enjoyable to watch. Yet, most powerful and hardest to achieve is creativity that is proven to build the Brand’s business. The Effie is all about that: You cannot win it without having inspiring creative, but neither can you without solid business results. I am honored and looking forward to being co-chair for this prestigious award and see the most inspiring and business building creative work of the year!”

– Claudia Kuhn, Brand Building and Integrated Communication Manager at P&G

Congratulations to TRIAD Advertising for Scooping the Grand Effie with their 'Savings Therapy' Campaign for VUB Bank!

“Especially this year, it was important for the jury of the Grand Effie to celebrate ideas that work, as a manifestation of support and encouragement for our industry. In awarding the Grand Effie, the jury wanted to acknowledge the high caliber of the creativity, but also its positive societal contribution. Tackling an enemy of overspending and impulsive shopping, this campaign helped people to develop healthier financial habits. The combination of those two aspects, good for the business and good for the community, made the effectiveness of this case rise to the top.”

– Hélène Dusseaux, Integrated Communication Manager at Procter & Gamble, Grand Jury Moderator

Congratulations to McCann Wolrdgroup on winning the Agency of the Year award!

Harjot Singh, Global Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup, commented:

“This is a tremendous achievement. Despite the immense challenges of 2020 our strategy teams have remained resilient, completely focused to deliver effective and meaningful work for our clients. We are absolutely thrilled to have retained our Number 1 position in Europe with another record-breaking performance. Effectiveness is a critical measure of the value of our work and these awards are particularly important because they are a celebration of real, measurable impact- something we are consistently committed to. Our deep client partnerships based on a strong shared culture of trust and collaboration are at the heart of this achievement. We are honoured to share this award with our clients and our teams, particularly against the backdrop of the challenging conditions we have all been working in.”

As pandemic uncertainties combine with economic shock, the world is entering the most severe recession in its history. Its effect on people, brands and business will be seismic and long-lasting. Some outcomes will certainly be category-specific – for instance travel will be hit much harder than food – but will also be very dependent on how individual brands respond. Many commentators expect that premium brands will be the ones likely to suffer most. Recessions dampen consumer confidence, making them less likely to spend on discretionary goods. Recessions hit incomes and make people price sensitive, so they may want to trade down to cheaper alternatives. So recessions feel like the worst time to be in marketing premium brands (as opposed to mainstream or value brands). But new findings from the EACA’s Effectiveness Knowledge Centre of Effie Europe winners from 2008-2019 show these grim predictions often aren’t realised. With the right growth strategy and using communications as an accelerator, premium brands can achieve growth in the toughest of times, as well as times of economic growth.

Check out the recording from our first Virtual Awards Gala!

our education hub

Our vision

Inspire! by eaca is a single European hub with education and training opportunities for all stakeholders in the communications industry that aims to raise industry standards, develop talent and boost dialogue and cooperation.

Unfortunately due to the pandemic, after a decade of successful editions, we had to cancel the EACA International Advertising Summer School.

This year IPA, in association with EACA, launched two new certificates focusing on effectiveness. We have negotiated a special member fee for you.

The IPA Effectiveness Essentials Certificate is an online course on effectiveness, which has always been what advertising and marketing should be about, but never more than today. This 10-module certificate will allow you to make more informed decisions, more insightful and more strategic decisions.

The IPA Advanced Certificate in Effectiveness, is an online foundation course that provides you with the knowledge to develop a greater understanding and a forensic approach to the evaluation of your campaigns. Starting with objective setting, candidates will go from learning how to design measurement programmes across multiple platforms and analysing the impact of their campaigns to writing case studies to showcase their success.

The IPA Foundation Certificate, formerly the European Advertising Certificate, is an online foundation course offered by the IPA in association with the EACA. Written for the industry, by the industry, using live webinars, online forums, expert videos and podcasts, this is the definitive programme for newcomers who are ambitious to move to the next level. It’s a super-concentrated opportunity to gain an overview of the whole industry with just 30 hours of flexible online learning.

After receiving very positive comments on Tim William’s keynote speech at EACA’s annual meetings in October 2019, EACA negociated a special rate for its members to be able to host an online webinar by Tim in 2020. All participating countries had positive feedback from their participants and are looking into organising more of these sessions in 2021. The EACA successfully coordinated individual sessions as well as a joined session across multiple markets.

The EACA Academy offers a wide range of seminars and workshops tailored to agency needs:

Trainers

Qualified trainers with in-depth experience of the agency business

Courses

Regular updates to content to keep up with industry developments

The European Institute for Commercial Communications Education

edcom is composed of 44 members from 14 countries. The institute aims to bridge the gap between academia and the industry by organising student competitions, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of students and academic staff. 

2020 has been full of challenges and first times for edcom, however through a more consistent digital presence the network has found its purpose and managed to strengthen the ties between members. Edcom become a more of forum for sharing best practices, exchanging ideas, networking and working together to bring students the most value. We now have great initiatives such as a membership extension working group and value group, as well as a more engaged network and several new projects in the making.

edcom students were challenged to create a campaign aiming to increase the corporate reputation of Coca-Cola Czech Republic and Slovakia on the topic of zero waste.

For the first time, the TOP 3 finalists presented their campaigns online before the judges and the client. After three rounds of judging, team SQUARE from ESP Lyon (France) was selected as a winner. The Team impressed the jury with their “The Red Collect’ campaign that aims to make waste recycling a more concrete concept, by setting up special collection bins for plastic bottles int he city centre of Bratislava and then transforming the waste into a bike path. The transferability of the project, as well as the great live presentation won the judges over.

‘It’s really amazing to be the winner of this competition. It’s the results of great teamwork and a lot of support. To be able to work for such a client, and to be surrounded and judges by great professionals in the field is a unique and extremely stimulating opportunity. We are proud of our concept, proud of this competition, proud of our school.’

– Team SQUARE

 

The edcom Graduation Competition rewards the best Bachelor and Master theses on advertising or commercial communications among edcom member schools. This year, edcom has received 14 entries from 9 countries across Europe. The winners were awarded €400 cash, whilst their respective universities each received an EACA voucher of  €400.

In the Bachelor category, Ryan O’Carroll from TU Dublin (Ireland) won with his paper on Generation Z’s complex gratification needs, behavioural disparity between social platforms and altered perception of Facebook.

In the Master category, Pelin Yeşiltepe from Istanbul Bilgi University (Turkey) impressed the jurors with her thesis on the effects of emoji usage for brand communication on mobile applications.

‘To eventually be nominated alongside talented academics from across Europe was a true honour for myself and my family. Subsequently, to have been selected a winner is a dream come true.’ 

-Ryan O’Carroll, Winner in the Bachelor category

‘Being known as one of the winners of the Edcom graduation competition will always be an honour in my current and future academic life. I know my way is long, but this success is a great motivation.’

– Pelin Yesiltepe, Winner in the Master category

 

We dediced to make the most of being online and give students the opportunity to share their research projects with all of us. The pilot edition of the edcom Student Showcase featured students of the Research Committee members. They presented, to the edcom network, their BA and MA final projects ranging from the representation of people with disabilities in advertising to the use of visuals by the ABN AMRO bank, as well as the repositioning campaign of the ex-communist brand Eugenia. A very successful first session!

For the first time edcom’s May and October meetings were held online.

Taking into account the unprecedented times, for the May meeting, it was decided to give space to how the academia and the industry were changing after Covid outbreak. Members had the chance to attend an interesting presentation on the client-agency shifting relationship. This first interactive session was followed by a Show & Tell on sharing best practices and final projects that featured several edcom members.

The second meeting with edcom members took place in October on the theme of Widening Participation and Inclusivity in Advertising, as well as Technology and Education in the times of Covid-19 and a Show & Tell on sharing best practices from 5 different member universities.

Despite the challenging times, the virtual meetings proved to be very successful. Members agreed it provides a lot of flexibility. Hosting meetings online gives an opportunity for more members to join and to meet more frequently. Current times, as well as the desire to be as supportive as possible pushed us to create a more practical model where physical meetings are combined with a more regular virtual presence.

 

A big thank you to all our members for your continued support and commitment to EACA.

Stay in touch!