“I think there are industries which have been very good at lobbying their cause, we need to make our case a bit more.”

So says Brian Coane, new leader of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Scotland, whose mission is to spotlight the industry itself. He sees it as an overlooked engine of jobs and growth, a creative sector that has slipped off the political radar.

The creative industries are among the fastest-growing parts of the UK economy – though less dramatically in Scotland. But Scottish Government figures show that of its six creative industry sectors, advertising has the highest turnover at £438million, almost as much as the combined £470m turnover of music, film and video, computer games, and radio/TV. Its contribution to the economy is put at £303m, higher than those four sectors’ combined total of £298m. Only architecture, which tops the list for enterprises and employment, runs it close.

Mr Coane notes that advertising feeds a valuable supply chain, driving other mini-sectors downstream. “Apps and websites tend to be commissioned through ad agencies, as do illustrators, film-makers and photographers , they all get work from agencies as well as doing their own work.

Mr Coane highlights the advertising pedigree of Turner-nominated artist Dawn Shrigley, photographer David Eustace and film-maker Jonathan Glazer.

“There is not enough appreciation. I am not saying advertising is art, but the overlap between cultural and commercial creativity tends to be underestimated.”

To underline the point, the IPA staged an event to coincide with the first Turner Prize exhibition in Glasgow.

He goes on: “Digital has made a huge impact on advertising, it is creating more opportunities, it’s an exciting time.”

Advertising was once seen as static and separate from the world of digital, or hived into specialist digital agencies, Mr Coane says.

“What has happened is everyone has become more smart. In my day job at Leith Agency there isn’t a single campaign that goes out that isn’t digital in some way, what our clients are looking for is creative ideas that have digital as part of the solution. There is almost literally nothing you can’t do, and it is incredible the difference it has made particularly in something like film.”

Mr Coane adds: “We provide the creative thinking which develops brands and provides information to consumers, in that sense we have an economic role.”

So as the Scottish Affairs Committee looks into support for the creative industries, armed with new fiscal powers, Mr Coane says, his industry should be on a par with film, TV or gaming. “Why shouldn’t small advertisers be able to reduce the costs of developing material with tax breaks? Other industries are far smaller but get more attention.”

He suggests that Creative Scotland has its hands full with its public sector coordination role. “Maybe it should be Scottish Enterprise who are responsible for advertising, it would seem to be a more natural fit. We are not looking for financial support, but support that is mutually beneficial, for the industry to go outside Scotland and bring clients in, in the same way SDI wants to grow the economy internationally.”

Mr Coane, 44, started his career with market research agency Millward Brown, and went on to work in UK-wide marketing roles for Powergen (Eon) and Barclays. “I have worked on both the client side and the agency side which is a bit unusual.” He was working on contract for the Scottish Government when lured by Leith Agency, where he has led major social marketing campaigns such as those on health and smoking. “I do think advertising is a real force for good,” he says. He led the agency’s creation of the Glasgow 2014 campaign, which helped sell over a million Commonwealth Games tickets.

Mr Coane admits that big corporate campaigns are thinner on the ground these days. “If you go back 10 or 15 years, people like the big three banks and brands like the Dunfermline would all be substantial advertisers. But we have just picked up the RBS account which has come back from London, and similarly ScottishPower. Hopefully it’s indicative of a stronger sector in Scotland, and a realisation of the talent that is on the doorstep.

“There are fewer large corporate based here, but we need to be able to compete internationally and across the UK.”

A key task for the IPA is to strengthen the industry’s links with academia and encourage more people to start their careers in advertising.

“Ultimately as an industry we get measured by the work we produce, and the better it is the more ability we will have to attract clients and bigger companies and brands from across the UK, “ Mr Coane says. “But for Scottish agencies to attract and retain talent can be a challenge – we are geographically close to London and creative talent tends to be exceptionally mobile.”

The IPA already supports the MSc in Creative Advertising at Edinburgh Napier University and the Marketing Prize at the University of Strathclyde. “We are trying to extend these links, get closer to them, and provide a bridge between education and industry.”

This month sees briefings for the IPA Scotland Student Advertising Awards, in association with Skills Development Scotland, with a brief set by Greener Scotland. The winners could win paid placements within top agencies but Mr Coane says “ultimately it showcases the power of advertising as a force for good for Scottish society”. The entry deadline is March 31.