The IPA is adopting guerilla marketing tactics in one of its most concerted efforts to persuade high-calibre university graduates to choose advertising over rival careers in the City, consultancy and design.
A teaser campaign under the theme 'Absolut Intrigue' will include T-shirted marketers distributing postcards on campuses, messages left in pigeon holes, and posters inviting students to careers evenings with the chance to win bottles of vodka.
The campaign will also encourage students to visit a special website developed by TBWA/London and Naked Media. The initiative is intended to halt a steady decline in graduates applying for the 400 places available each year in the ad industry.
While demand still outstrips supply, agency chiefs are concerned that advertising is losing out in the battle to recruit the best graduates.
'There was a time when agencies complacently believed that students would keep knocking on their doors,' Nick Phillips, the IPA's director-general said. 'That complacency has gone and chief executives know they must work to recruit and retain the best talent.'
IPA research shows that advertising is still misunderstood by most graduates who are unaware of the processes involved in producing ads or of the work that goes into understanding consumer behaviour.