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Interpublic chairman urges rivals to do more good, as WPP boss says tobacco work is a personal choice

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The chairman of holding company Interpublic Group used his platform at Advertising Week Europe to call on his peers to do more good in the world, minutes before the boss of rival group WPP was asked on the same stage to defend working for tobacco companies.

Michael Roth, chairman of Interpublic, and Mark Read, CEO of WPP, were among the opening speakers at the London conference. Although they did not appear on stage together, both were asked about the issue of brand purpose, and the advertising industry’s wider responsibilities to society.

Roth brought over from the US client Anne Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America, to speak about projects including efforts to provide clean water in the third world.

He said: “When you think of purpose-driven advertising, it’s pretty clear that companies that participate on particular issues, and part of their communications and advertising have component of that, perform better.

“In order to build your brand you have to stand for certain things. Investors are looking for companies that stand for something and have value in the market place. The truth is, how do you distinguish a brand in today’s environment if you don’t have values. Purpose-driven advertising is a very important component of brand building, aside from doing good.”

Roth: “Plenty” of rivals are not doing enough good deeds

Roth said that Interpublic’s focus on water security had come about as part of a UN cross-industry initiative........

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