Following a landmark vote in the House of Commons yesterday (January 15) on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU was vastly rejected by 230 MPs in a historic defeat.

With the deadline looming for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) on March 29, the level of uncertainty has surged on the departure and what this could mean for the country’s digital advertising and marketing industry as a whole.

As negotiations return to square one and the daunting prospect of departing the EU without an agreement deal, advertising and marketing companies have given their views on the matter and how this could impact the digital industry.

Data flows to a halt

In wake of yesterday’s vote in Parliament, the Direct Marketing Association’s chief executive Chris Combemale said to Research Live it is now imperative that the government form a plan B and avoid “a no-deal Brexit at all costs” adding that leaving without a deal would create “severe uncertainty for the data and marketing sector and could potentially bring EU to UK data flows to a halt.”

“The UK needs to be granted adequacy status by the EU Commission but the process can take years to complete. Adequacy status allows personal data to be freely exchanged, just like the UK currently does as a member of the EU. There must be a transitional period for the UK to gain adequacy status and therefore prevent disruptions to the free flow of data,” he said.

“For example, a UK-based company that has EU customers may use an EU-based data centre, but the information is processed at the UK HQ. If the UK leaves the EU without a data deal this company would lose access to its own data, as transfers from the EU to the UK would be prohibited. The company would need to find a new supplier or may move operations to the EU, so it can efficiently serve EU-based customers and not have to worry about transferring data. Therefore, it is vital that the free flow of data is maintained.”

In a similar response, the UK advertising industry has called for the government for a no-deal Brexit to be “taken off the table” entirely.

“Our position is that there are three essentials the government must negotiate as a minimum for the advertising industry: continued cross-border data flows; plurality of broadcasting channels to carry cross-border advertising; and a flexible migration system that allows continued access to the best talent,” said Stephen Woodford, chief executive at the Advertising Association.

The IPA’s latest Bellwether survey published today (January 16) found that marketing growth had flatlined in Q4 2018 as economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues.

“Despite last night’s vote, we still don’t know for certain what sort of Brexit we will have, but we have provided our agencies with comprehensive legal guidance to cover all possible scenarios,” said IPA’s director general Paul Bainfair; “There are still certain issues that must be addressed, and our biggest concerns remain around guaranteeing continued cross-border data flows and ensuring that we are still able to attract and retains the best talent from across the world. However, leaving the EU also provides real opportunities for the UK advertising industry to reassert itself as the best in the world and work more closely with markets including China and the US.”

Brexit has been discussed heavily, but what does the impact of leaving the EU mean for the performance marketing industry and affiliate and partners based both in the UK and Europe?

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