The APMC and Europe

The APMC is a board member of the IMC, (The Integrated Marketing Communications Council Europe), which was formerly known as the European Federation of Sales Promotion. The IMC represents the integrated marketing communications agencies and agency associations in Europe. The IMC is part of EACA, (the European Association of Communications Agencies), which means all aspects of the marketing industry are represented by a Pan European organisation with a wide ranging remit and a dedicated secretariat based in Brussels.

The mission of the IMC is to:
– advocate industry standards for honest, effective Integrated Marketing Communications campaigns, high professional standards and awareness of the contribution Integrated Communications in a free marketing economy.
– provide a forum for discussion and establish opportunities for cross-border research and promotion to improve results through the entire Integrated Marketing Communications process.
The IMC acts as a central source of information for the industry and assists in the development of the reputation and professionalism of the industry across Europe by focusing on the key areas: beat practice, lobbying and recognition by way of a reputable Awards competition, the IMC European Awards.
The objectives of the IMC are to:
• to assist the development of the sales promotion industry throughout Europe
• to present a professional image for the industry
• to promote quality through the provision of an annual pan-European awards ceremony
• to facilitate cross-border promotional activity and to increase understanding of the different market conditions and legislation which exists in the various member countries.
In addition, with the move toward harmonisation of consumer laws across Europe, there is an increasing need to ensure that any changes to EU or Country legislation allows the industry to continue to flourish and grow, free of unnecessary restraints. A large part of the work of the IMC is therefore spent on Lobbying within Europe to achieve these aims.

When it comes to promoting the cause of the industry this can be summed up as trying to ‘create a fairer, simpler, more liberal Europe in which we can all compete on equal terms.’
Now, more than ever, the IMC needs to ensure that politicians and legislators do not adversely affect the commercial freedoms of the industry and our ability to create jobs, and revenue, through a successful, professional and well-managed industry.

We recognise both the threats and the opportunities presented by the present European Union actions, which aim to harmonise consumer legislation throughout member countries.
The IMC has adopted a common position that seeks to create a fully liberalised market, and make the concept of “promotions without frontiers” realisable throughout the European Union.

The IMC is not prescriptive about the best method, politically, of achieving this liberalisation, as long as it delivers the end objective of a genuine level playing field, in which any promotional marketing technique currently legal in one member state will also be legal in every other state.
If we cannot speak and act as one in Europe, how can we hope to compete effectively on a wider international stage especially with the increasing globalisation of communications – and in particular the use of the Internet?

The IMC has called upon the European Union, and in particular upon the expert group on Commercial Communications, and the ‘Member States’ to fully liberalise the market for Promotional Marketing in Europe as soon as possible. This will increase the possibility of “Promotion without Frontiers” and act as a crucial milestone towards an open market whilst respecting consumer rights, the environment and the public interest.

The IMC is an organisation that represents the Promotional Marketing industry across Europe including Clients, Agencies and Suppliers. Member countries are France, Spain, Portugal, UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Austria and the membership accounts for an estimated 80% of the sales promotion business in those countries.

The IMC is keen to see the principles of the Treaty of Rome become a reality as soon as possible in order to avoid the current unfair discrimination that exists within the EU. Consumer in some markets can benefit from the promotional advantages of the liberalised market in one country but are penalised or unable to benefit from the same activities in other markets by outdated protectionist laws.

The IMC accepts that the concept of liberalisation must also go hand in hand with respect for the environment, the public interest and the consumer plus the avoidance of unfair commercial practice.

All IMC member organisations and their Agency members therefore operate according to a strong Code of Ethics for Promotional Marketing.

Another key facet of the work of the IMC is to reward the best of European Promotional Marketing through the IMC European Awards. To qualify for these awards campaigns must have won at the local awards. Following rigorous online judging and verification awards are made to the campaigns which demonstrate the best of the best of European brand promotional activity. Irish campaigns have competed and won at European level for many years and it goes to prove that work created and executed in Ireland is as good as or better than anything produced in Europe.

Members and Representatives of the IMC:

Czech Republic – Asociace Komunikacnich Agentur (AKA)
Ondrej Gottwald

Belgium – Association of Communication Companies (ACC)
Stephan Smetz

Spain – Asociación Espana de Agencias de Communicación Publicitaria (AEACP)
Alvaro Ales

Italy – Associazone Aziende di Communicaziona (ASSOCM)
Marco Gualdi

Ireland – APMC
Richard Johnson

Peter Kerr

Germany – POS Marketing Association e. V. (POSMA)
Peter Draeger

Greece – Hellenic Association of Communications Agencies (HACA)
Christos Damalas