Rain, no trains and automobiles – but optimism reigned at The Year Ahead

Rain, no trains and automobiles – but optimism reigned at The Year Ahead
Pictured left to right at Adwanted Events' The Year Ahead: Enyi Nwosu, chief strategy officer at UM, Alison Phillips, editor at The Mirror, Carl Nawagamuwa, GroupM investment managing director, Simon Kilby, managing director at Bauer Media Advertising, Bauer Media, and Greg Grimmer, Adwanted UK CEO.
The Year Ahead 2023

Adwanted UK CEO Greg Grimmer captures some of the highlights from Adwanted Events’ The Year Ahead.


Yesterday we held our annual senior industry get-together at the Waldorf Hilton in London.

It was great to see so many regular faces yesterday, like Phil Smith of ISBA, Dan Clays of OMG, Kathryn Jacob of Pearl & Dean and Rak Patel of Spotify.

There were also a number first timers in attendance, which included some members of our Future 100 Club — a new talent initiative that we launched last year.

Throughout the afternoon, we tried to capture some of the highlights of 2022 and look forward to what we all might expect in 2023.

For those that couldn’t make it, here is a precis of my opening comments at the event, as well as a brief overview of the excellent discussions that occurred thereafter.

Continued resilience

I personally believe 2022 was a year everyone in the UK advertising industry could be proud of.

After the traumas of two Covid-affected years, many businesses and sectors, despite the macro factors of war, inflation, and political upheaval, all managed to deliver a positive revenue growth story.

GroupM chief customer engagement & growth officer Katy Grosvenor walked us through its December forecast, which showed resilience across the media industry.

At Mediatel, we mimicked this with top line revenue growing by 14%, and record performances from the newly rebranded Events team, the Audio team, and a record year for new business from the Connected team helped by the launch of our new Performance Media App.

Grosvenor looked deeper into her crystal ball to guide us through the economic and media forecasts for the year ahead.

I did warn her that this year of the old adage — “if you are going to forecast, forecast often” — is probably going to be truer than ever.

But overall, GroupM’s predicted outcome is still one of optimism, particularly if you have an Indian client base!

Concentrating on what we can influence

I was reflecting to others earlier this week that it would be great to have a “normal year” this year.

Now, unfortunately in business I don’t think that is ever going to happen as there will always be aspects — as epitomised today — that are out of our control.

So we must all concentrate on the things we can influence and capitalise on the momentum we currently have in the advertising sector.

With a new IPA president from the media sector being unveiled next week — congratulations to EssenceMediacom’s Josh Krichefski — I firmly believe we are at tipping point in terms of where the UK commercial media sector finds itself.

If you look around the world over the last couple of decades, we have seen that UK media leaders are paramount in world media.

However, over the same period, we have let British brands, both agency and media owner-side, wither.

I hope this year will see some of these brands make a return to rude health, and I would welcome a true UK (or even European) digital success story.

Our friends at Ozone are a great example of this and the work Damon and his team are doing gives me confidence for both the premium publishing sector and UK digital prowess.

Project Origin is another example where we are leading the charge, and I know a number of attendees and readers have a detailed interest in the outcome. I personally look forward to what my old friend and colleague Tom George produces.

In the coming year, we will also be taking inspiration from publishers and agencies like The Guardian, Havas, Mobsta, December 19, Electric Glue, and Total Media in working to obtain B Corp status. Such a framework will allow us as a business to prioritise people, planet, and profit equally.

Championed issue areas

Following Grosvenor’s presentation and a wonderful poem written and performed by Hussain Manawer, we took everyone on a whistle-stop journey of the three topics that we will be focussing on this year both in The Media Leader and within our Events content.

For those of you at our Future of Media event last autumn you will remember the debates and the voting that landed on sustainability, trust in media, and harnessing talent as the three areas that we will be devoting time to not just at The Year Ahead but throughout the year.

My final panel consisting of two agency c-suite stars in Enyi Nwosu and Carl Nawagamuwa, plus the ever excellent Alison Phillips, editor of the Mirror (always nice to have the fourth estate represented!) and the popular Simon Kilby, managing director of Bauer Media Advertising, was an excellent discussion on the state of the industry, expanding on key topics like trust and representation in media.

After that was concluded, we all settled down to some serious networking and a glass of something weak or strong, dependent on our January willpower.

Thanks again to those that came or tuned in and I look forward to working with all of you to make 2023 a great year for UK media and advertising.

Greg Grimmer is CEO of Adwanted UK.

Adwanted UK are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine. To access our audio industry directory, visit audioscape.info and to find your new job in audio visit The Media Leader Jobs, a dedicated marketplace for media, advertising and adtech roles.

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