DMA rejects IPA's supergroup plan

LONDON - The IPA's 'big tent' plans to create an umbrella trade body representing the entire UK communications industry were dealt a blow this week by the Direct Marketing Association.

Following meetings with the IPA, the DMA has rejected its proposals to share offices and merge its agency section to create a single trade body. Instead it is in favour of simply working jointly with the IPA when the need arises.

James Kelly, managing director of the DMA, said: "The IPA did sound out various trade bodies and we did meet with them to discuss a range of issues. These were sharing a building, forming a new body to look after agencies and looking at ways to do things jointly.

"We didn't see the need to create a new body and will continue to look after agencies in our own way."

Kelly said the DMA had recently moved into new premises and had no interest in sharing a building with the IPA. "We couldn't see any particular merit in setting up a new body," he added.

The move is a blow to the IPA because the DMA has more than 200 agency members. However, sources suggested that the IPA would respond by stepping up its own attempts to attract direct marketing agencies as members. The IPA director-general, Hamish Pringle, is expected to address this issue at the next IPA council meeting.

The IPA said it "understood" the DMA's decision and said talks with the Public Relations Consultants Association and the Marketing Communications Consultants Association were ongoing.

Bruce Haines, the IPA's president, said: "Through the auspices of the IPA Council we are continuing to debate the future strategic direction of the IPA, and in particular how we should work with other agency bodies. In the meantime we are delighted that both the PRCA and MCCA have expressed interest in the 'big tent' concept."

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