GLOBAL BRIEF: IAA plans for a millennium hit - The UK arm wants to shed its fusty image at the 2000 congress, John Tylee says

Adrian Vickers, soon to be named official cheerleader for the International Advertising Association’s millennium world congress in London, will need all his self-effacing charm and persuasiveness to carry him through.

Adrian Vickers, soon to be named official cheerleader for the

International Advertising Association’s millennium world congress in

London, will need all his self-effacing charm and persuasiveness to

carry him through.



The IAA’s UK chapter, which is organising the event, is desperate to

cast aside its reputation as an old boys’ drinking club. It also wants

to improve an image still rooted in a time when being switched to

’international duties’ was the signal to agency executives to check

their pension arrangements.



Not any more. A world shrunk by the communications revolution has

produced a breed of agency senior managers running international

accounts because they chose to rather than because they were coerced

into it. But it’s this elite that the IAA admits it has failed to enroll

in sufficient numbers.



Thus a lot rides on the three-day congress in June 2000 which is

expected to draw up to 2,500 delegates. A successful event will not only

allow the UK chapter to re-invest in its training schemes but also to

grab the attention of more international account directors.



The IAA has a curious history. Born out of a lunch at New York’s Harvard

Club in April 1938, mainly to help drive US presence into emerging world

markets, it preoccupied itself with the practical problems of a

discipline still in its infancy: issues such as the standardisation of

rates, discounts and column sizes, overcoming restrictions on the

shipment of printed matter and improvements to the adaptation of

creative work.



Six decades on, the IAA performs a hybrid role. In many Third World

markets, it is often the sole champion of commercial freedom of speech.

In the UK, where the Advertising Association undertakes the job, the IAA

confines itself to education and training.



So why should young international account directors sign up to the

IAA?



Archie Pitcher, the UK chapter’s executive director, cites the

unrivalled networking opportunities. ’It provides international managers

with an extra dimension,’ he says. ’The IAA is a source of first-hand

information that you just can’t buy.’



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