The ad business is facing unprecedented change - the shift to online, the growth of the giant platforms, the explosion in adtech, the tsunami of data available to marketers. All are an inevitable result of changes in how we consume media.

We think there have been and will continue to be unintended and unwelcome consequences of these changes. People are increasingly bombarded with irrelevant, intrusive ads that don't appeal, and often annoy. Their preparedness to see advertising in any way positively has reduced.

Attitudes towards the advertising industry as a whole have deteriorated and will continue to worsen.

We have a reputational issue that not only has a negative effect on the industry's ability to attract the brightest and the best talent, but also risks attracting attention from regulators and anti-advertising lobby groups.

We do not believe change to be bad - quite the opposite - but shifting focus so far away from effective advertising towards an obsession with data, away from brand building and towards short-termism, is neither desirable nor inevitable.

There is no point in ads that don't work, and what we're increasingly producing is advertising that not only doesn’t work but is at the same time unpopular with the public whilst abusing their trust.

Who Cares? was started because we believe that there are many of us who have both the desire and the skills to put the craft back into the ad business, to reclaim primacy for professional skills over machines and to create better advertising.

Who Cares? We think you do.


The ad industry is by common consent not a great place to be these days. Many within it are unhappy with the state of the industry but are understandably anxious about expressing their views openly. 

Brian Jacobs and Nick Manning are two professionals now out of the corporate world. Both are driven by a desire to make the ad world a better, more productive, more creatively-driven place.

They are assembling a community of like minded professionals who understand what’s broken, are collectively smart enough to ideate how to fix the problem and passionate and powerful enough to deliver what needs to be done. 

Here’s what's broken:

  • Distrust in the industry (ad-fraud, non-transparent media and technology deals, inefficiency)

  • Dissatisfaction in the industry (from within and externally from clients)

  • Diminishing pride in creativity, across all disciplines.

  • A business model that is simply not fit for a modern creative industry

  • An unattractive industry of low appeal to the best graduates

Addressing the issues

We know there’s no magic bullet. We think we need to start by discussing the issues and how to fix them.

To do this we are hosting an event in London on September 12th in the afternoon.

This will be the start, not the end.

What will emerge from the event? Who knows; that will be decided collectively in September.

We think you should be there to have your say and to play your part in reshaping the industry.

We have groups of supporters from around the world working together to focus on the following 5 critical areas of concern:

  • Business models   |   Michael Farmer, Consultant and Author ('Madison Avenue Manslaughter' and 'Madison Avenue Makeover')

  • Trading, Transparency and Trust   |   Jenny Biggam, Owner, the7stars

  • Measurement and Accountability   |   Denise Turner, CEO, Route Research

  • Recruitment and Well-Being   |   Crispin Reed, Founder, Skyscraper Consulting 

  • Brands and Journalism   |   Ruben Schreurs: Chief Strategy Officer, Ebiquity

Each has an assigned leader who will report back to those attending our Summit in London in September.

Brian Jacobs

Starting his career at the ad agency Davidson Pearce in the 1970’s, Brian worked his way through advertising and media agencies including Leo Burnett, Carat, and Universal McCann, as well as spending time at the research business Kantar.

Over his time in the business Brian has witnessed the decline of full-service agencies, the launch of media agencies, the move from media planning to planning across all communication forms and the spectacular growth of online media forms.

He has run media operations in the UK, across Europe and globally out of the USA.

These days Brian runs his own consultancy business, working for advertisers, trade bodies and agencies, as well as writing a blog (the Cog Blog) which launched in 2013 and is now close to its 500th edition.

Brian's particular specialism is in using data to help end users improve the effectiveness of their communications programmes.

Nick Manning

Nick is a commentator, author and speaker on advertising, with a specialisation in media.
He co-founded Manning Gottlieb Media in 1990, and following its purchase by Omnicom he became CEO of the OMD UK Group.
After 27 years in media agencies Nick became an independent media consultant, firstly with Ebiquity and then MediaLink.
At Ebiquity he led the team that produced the recommendations for advertisers that accompanied the K2 Intelligence report into media transparency in 2016.
Since 2019 he has run his own consulting business, advising advertisers and their trade associations.
Nick specialises in helping advertisers improve their effectiveness, accountability and transparency.

How you can help

Regional Conversations

We have a global problem, but we know that to get things done, we need to come up with ideas and solutions that are relevant and actionable regionally and locally. We are all for local conversations, with Who Cares? supporters driving change in their regions.

There is such a group flourishing in APAC; we can help set up other groups in other parts of the world.

In due course we can imagine local and regional events should there be a desire to do that.

Get Active

  • We know that there are plenty of passionate professionals who are frustrated at the state of the industry. We also know that it’s not in any of our natures to sit idly by as the industry deteriorates around us.

  • Here's how you can get involved, and help. Join us - we just need an email address. There’s no charge. You can do this below.


  • Follow our socials wherever you can. Please be respectful of individuals’ rights to anonymity where requested.


  • Host or attend meetups close to you. The more talk, the better.


  • Attend our September 12 Summit in London  

    • Register and purchase tickets for the Summit event in London on September 12th at The Royal Society of Arts. This will be a mix of speakers, and feedback from the working groups. There'll be an opportunity to network after the formal proceedings

    • We know that not everyone will be able to attend in person so we will make sure that proceedings are either recorded or live streamed.

Join us

The Who Cares? movement is nothing without you, the people who care. 

Join the Who Cares? Group and we’ll keep you informed of every step we take. If you’re engaged but not wanting to show the world (especially your employer) then check the ‘wish to remain anonymous’ box and we’ll do our level best to keep you out of the spotlight.

Who Cares Collective Privacy Statement

The Who Cares Collective is committed to maintaining the privacy of all members who wish to remain anonymous. We will take all reasonable measures to protect your identity and personal information. However, due to the unpredictable nature of social media, we cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality. Therefore, Who Cares must be indemnified from any liability should a member's name become known in the market or online as affiliated with the Who Cares movement and/or organisation.

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