Does regulation make you a lazy or brilliant marketer?

Thursday, 12 November 2015, 11:52 | Category : General
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Today on the blog we’re pleased to welcome PR Network Associate Natasha Plowman, who has just set up her consultancy business Spinning Red after working in-house at Diageo. Here Natasha looks at the vagaries of regulation across sector and how it impacts our abilities to market on behalf of our clients.


“Various interest groups regularly shout loudly about needing to protect society from evil corporations who only have profit as their purpose. So, to protect us innocents we must stop all advertising and regulate, regulate, regulate. (And tax – but that chestnut is for another time.)

So, what does that do to marketing? One thing I often wondered is if regulations stifled, or enhanced creativity. Made you a lazy, or a brilliant marketer. I have to hedge. A bit of both…

Lazy by blaming the regulations for not being able to do something, for looking at the regulations as black and white – when in reality, they are often variations of grey. For not taking risks or being bold – for not questioning. Mostly though, for simply not having a view, not realising the role your brand plays in society and to stand for something.


So, what are the opportunities to do truly brilliant work? How can you cut through the chatter when you are in an industry that is monitored so closely, often by people who simply do not believe you have the right to market your products?

The opportunity for brilliance can come from the growing discussion about purpose-based marketing. Taking your brand purpose back to basics and articulate what kind of society you want to be a part of. What do you stand for and what is the role your brand has in society.

We know that year on year trust is going down for brands and advertising. We are in this very interesting state of people wanting to block advertising, but also wanting to converse with brands. Hating advertising, but hating having to pay for digital services more. So, the debate about brilliant content continues..

Marketers from all industries can learn a lot from how alcohol is marketed and for alcohol marketers – a reminder to go back to understanding what the regulations were put in place to do – reduce the harm from drinking. Reduce young people drinking and people drinking to excess.

Lazy marketing is getting caught up in the detail of the regulations. That is what the anti-alcohol / anti-marketing lobby want you to do. Brilliance will be remembering your role in society and having a voice that you support what the regulations are trying to achieve and to play your part.”


About Natasha and Spinning Red

Natasha has set up Spinning Red to focus on brand reputation. Core to that is ensuring brands market responsibly. At Diageo, Natasha was approver of all marketing assets created across Western Europe under internal and industry codes as well as government regulations. Her reputation for straight talking and speedy decisions led to high levels of trust within the marketing community where the focus was always on increasing autonomy for marketers to be brilliant.

@n_plowman /

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