The news that the IPA is looking for someone to wave a white flag
to advertising's creative community has been hailed as a positive step -
mostly by people who have no idea what the organisation does.
Mention the IPA to most junior creatives and the feedback goes something
like this: "The IPA? Well, it's for suits - chief executives and
chairmen. Isn't it?"
All that is set to change when the IPA appoints a creative manager, who
will attempt to involve creatives, raise the profile of issues that
affect them on a daily basis and perhaps even launch some creative
True, the IPA has been banging the creative drum for some while,
according to its director-general, Hamish Pringle. He argues that the
quiet rumblings started by the former presidents Chris Powell and Rupert
Howell are beginning to be heard, but he admits the number of creatives
on the IPA board is embarrassingly small - two out of more than 40. The
two are Robert Campbell of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and Andy
Cheetham of Cheetham Bell JWT Manchester. The organisation is also keen
to raise the profile of D&AD and Creative Circle in the business
Creative directors throughout the industry have welcomed the idea of
their own representative, but what do the young pretenders think? They
need to be engaged now, Pringle says.
Graduates entering the business as account managers soon find themselves
on an IPA-run course, but it's rare that a new creative will. Those who
do, however, are pleasantly surprised.
Mark Robinson, an art director at Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB, said the IPA
had little relevance to him until he found himself working on mock
briefs with senior account handlers on a weekend course. "It was
brilliant to get involved in that process. There should be more chances
for young teams to do that," he says.
Jim Sneath, half of a young team at TBWA/London, said the IPA could help
young creatives with the difficult task of finding a job. He found going
along to a Creative Directors' Forum meeting, chaired by Banks Hoggins'
executive creative director Chris O'Shea useful, especially as TBWA's
Trevor Beattie, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's Peter Souter and Saatchi &
Saatchi's Dave Droga were all there to talk about the placement
"It was the first time the IPA had any bearing on my career," Sneath
says. "It's got potential to raise difficult issues such as placements
and encourage informal debate, when young creatives get the chance to
quiz the ones able to make changes to practice."
His comments are backed up by Paul Westmoreland, CDP's art director.
"There's such a gulf between leaving college and getting a job. That is
where the IPA could help - by working with headhunters to offer a
matchmaking service for placements," he says.
Pringle agrees there's headway to be made in involving the creative
community, and says the Value of Advertising Committee is conducting a
project exploring the attitudes of creatives.
"The IPA's job is to express pride in our profession to the outside
world. Currently, the creative world gets profile when our work comes
under fire. I'd like to see the organisation working harder to raise the
profile of the very important job we do," Beattie says.