In the March issue of ETO we look back at the life and times of AITA, the operatic-sounding trade association which is facing its final curtain. I was planning to run a standard-size feature recording AITA’s highlights but, when I actually did the looking back, there were a lot more than I remembered and it turned into quite a substantial piece – and I still ended up leaving a fair bit out.
The roll call of names who served on the committee over the years is also substantial. Whilst there is no doubt that they would have found it frustrating at times – all committees are – it must have also been very rewarding when they could see progress being made and improvements in the industry as a direct result of their efforts.
It would be unfair to name check any one person so I’m going to do two. If Mike McCann and Stuart Inglis are reading this; Gentlemen, we salute you. You made a difference.
In which case, you might be wondering, why don’t we have a trade association anymore? I’d like to call American actor Bill Cosby* to respond to that with the following quote: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
In AITA’s early days, everyone it represented had pretty much the same priority – to sell more products through retail – and so whether the trade body was meeting with the ACPO, BBFC, BERR, DCMS, LACOS or the LGA, its lobbying always had that as an ultimate objective. But over the years that shifted with the makeup of the committee, and AITA attempted to fight on multiple fronts and represent diverse – and occasionally even competing – interests.
So, now we’re going to find out what life is like without a trade body.
How do you feel about this? I would really love to hear your views. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org as I’m sure we’ll be returning to this subject over the coming months.
* If you doubt the wisdom of Bill, bear in mind he is also credited with the quote: “Women don’t want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think – in a deeper voice.”