Close-Up: IPA President's Medal for advertising's 'nice guy'

By Noel Bussey, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 30 April 2010 12:00AM

Nick Kendall, Bartle Bogle Hegarty's group strategy director, becomes a member of an elite group of two.

If you'd just picked up an award that only one other person had won, and that person happened to be your hero and the reason you went into your profession - you'd be forgiven for showing off a bit.

Or if not showing off, then perpetrating some false modesty by saying "oh I don't deserve it" or "I don't want a big fuss" or telling people you were planning to go to China on the day of the ceremony.

This plan of flight was one that Nick Kendall, Bartle Bogle Hegarty's group strategy director, put in place when he heard he was getting the IPA President's Medal - an award that has only previously been awarded posthumously to Simon Broadbent. Sadly, Kendall's plans were foiled by a volcano.

Fortunately for the industry (and for the thousands of people he's helped over the years with his work for the IPA), this was anything but false modesty. As just a couple of minutes talking to him - or a straw poll of most of the industry - will testify.

A hugely intelligent but grounded man, Kendall is sincere and honest in a way that makes you believe that he really is just a nice guy who has always been a little shy when being awarded for his achievements. "It took me two days to tell my mum I'd passed my cycling proficiency test," he says, before going on to give all of the credit for his award to his wife Patrice. "I've had two loves for 20 years, my wife and the industry."

But he does admit to a little pride knowing that he shares an honour with Broadbent. "I grew up looking up to Simon and it's nice to feel I was following in his footsteps."

He also gives respect to John Bartle, who "instilled in me the idea that you should put something back" and thanks to BBH for "always supporting him" in his longrunning work with the IPA that included building the Effectiveness Awards and implementing the IPA Excellence Diploma.

The qualification is Kendall's proudest achievement to date: "I've never produced an examination document before, it's extremely taxing. But with any teaching, you learn just as much from your students as they do from you."

Patrick Mills, the director of professional development at the IPA, cannot be complimentary enough when explaining the breadth and importance of Kendall's input: "His involvement means that he has enabled good people in advertising to become sensational.

"His ability to never allow us to rest or relax means that professional development in the UK actually means something and has vastly improved our industry."

However, the award doesn't mean the end of Kendall's ambition. "I'd love to see the Diploma become a global standard for advertising, so the UK industry could lead the way," he says.

And you get the feeling that this challenge will be accomplished.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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