Advertising Industry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th November 1968.

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Photo of Mr David Crouch Mr David Crouch , Canterbury 12:00 am, 29th November 1968

I shall be very brief. I agree with the hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Milne) that in the advertising industry we need to seek more information. I have an interest in the subject because I am a director of an advertising agency and this afternoon I want to call on my experience of industry—the international business of manufacturing and selling in Britain and abroad and the very important task of making a market which is marketing and selling a product.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that to make a market and to sell a product one must tell the public about that product. I agree that in the advertising industry the whole task of marketing needs examination. Such an examination is being carried out by the Board of Trade at the moment, and a similar study is being made by the Advertising Association. There are two fundamental points which face a country, in the midst of an economic crisis as much as at any other time. First, a manufacturer who cannot sell his goods is wasting resources and a call for more production must entail a call for more and more efficient marketing.

It is right that advertising should be criticised, but it is part of the marketing mixture and the sales task, which is selling, marketing, advertising. They are all the techniques of a producer at the end of the production line. First, the producer must find a market, which he does by marketing. It is then necessary, as the Americans say, to "sell the product". This cannot be done in our free economic society without information arid persuasion, which means advertising.

As the hon. Member said, the Government themselves are in this business, and responsibly so, for recruiting. One of my interests is that my company advertises for recruits to the police force, and not unsuccessfully. This is most carefully watched by the Home Office and the Central Office of Information to see that such recruitment is effective and such advertising economic.

But it is important that advertising is not exempt from social control. The Parliamentary Secretary and I have debated this subject before in Committee and in the House, and she knows my views. We have just passed the Trade Descriptions Act, an additional safeguard to the consumer and the manufacturer. I welcome it and I believe that it is making a positive contribution. There is a need for more research on the economic and social effects of advertising. I welcome the present inquiry on these lines and would only ask the hon. Lady to remember that it is based on the economic reality that advertising is a part of marketing and performs an essential function in our economic process.