Would you still make it in the ad industry today?

The first batch of students has just sat the IPA's new Foundation Certificate exam. As they await their results, Alex Benady puts some of the ad industry's established names to the test.

It may be beautiful, sexy and glamorous but one of the great laments of the ad industry has long been that no-one takes it seriously enough.

Not clients, not the media, not even future employees.

But then it's hardly surprising when you consider that advertising is an industry with no qualifications, no formalised body of knowledge and precious few common standards of performance.

What's more, the fragmentation of the business into specialisms has ensured that too many advertising professionals know too little about the other disciplines that make up a client's communications strategy. Now, the IPA has taken steps to foster a broader understanding of advertising, marketing and communications. It has introduced a Continuous Professional Development Programme. This will embrace a series of professional qualifications, ranging from entry level, through middle management to a board-level MBA, aimed at transforming the industry from a collection of amateurs of variable quality into a genuine profession with consistent standards and a proper body of knowledge.

"Today, the world is much more business-oriented than it was," Stephen Woodford, the president of the IPA, says. "Advertising has to compete for income and top talent with other industries such as management consultancy. These qualifications will help reposition advertising as a serious profession in the minds of both clients and the most talented graduates on whom the industry's future depends."

The exams will also help agencies respond to increasing client demand for a broader communications perspective, Woodford says.

Earlier this month, 300 people in London and Scotland sat the IPA's first professional exams for its entry-level course, the IPA Foundation Programme and Certificate. The qualification, aimed at those who have been in the business for a year or two, involves about 20 hours of online learning. Several agencies say they are planning for all their staff to sit the test in the near future.

Campaign decided to test some of the questions on a cross-section of people involved with the industry. The questions were not quite the pleasant stroll round the foothills of advertising general knowledge that most had anticipated. None of our brave, and highly skilled, respondents excelled.

The questions were in the words of one respondent "bloody difficult".

"Still," as another observed, "it's reassuring to see there's a body of knowledge that not just any fool can acquire by watching enough TV."

Have a go yourself, if you think you know enough.

QUESTIONS 1. Which of the following is not considered to be a key part of developing marketing strategy: a company b communication c competitors d customers

2. Which of the following measures is not evaluated by Millward Brown Tracking Studies: a brand awareness b role of advertising c recall of brand claims d media spends

3. Which of the following is not a penalty for breaching the ASA and CAP codes: a adverse publicity by the publication of ASA rulings b withdrawal of trade privileges and recognition c monetary fines on the agency or client d pre-vetting of persistent offenders

4. Which of the following is not a soft measure within campaigns: a modelling tools b awareness of brand c attitudes to advertising d claimed consumer behaviour

5. Artists National Insurance Contribution (NIC) is what of any payment made to the artist: a 2.8 per cent b 6.8 per cent c 12.8 per cent d 15.8 per cent

6. The Porter Matrix includes all but which one of the following: a bargaining power of suppliers b threat of substitute products and services c rivalry among consumers d threat of new entrants

7. Which of these skills is not part of Block's expertise guides: a presenting b technical c consulting d interpersonal

8. Qualitative research mainly asks the question: a how b why c when d what

9. What are the basic principles that inform media strategies?

10. Describe the components of a good creative brief


Mark Lund - Chief executive, DLKW

1. It's got to be (b) because communication is a second-order issue

2. The role of advertising is a given, so the answer is (b)

3. I will not phone a friend on this. The answer's (c), Chris

4. (a)

5. I am guessing but 6.8 per cent is nearest to normal 10 per cent

6. It definitely has (a), (b) and (d). (c) is a nonsense, so I choose


7. I've only vaguely heard of this. (c) sounds too vague so that's my


8. I'd say all, but I think they are looking for (b)

9. Identify target audience; establish role of advertising; establish

life habits and media usage of audience; establish consonance between

media, brand and message; establish affordability within the budget

10. Needs a set of objectives; definition of target audience; a promise

or proposition; any facts supporting the proposition; a rationale for

what makes it unique; tone of voice; indication of likely media


Paul Curtis - Managing director, Viacom Brand Solutions

1. You can influence all the others except (c)

2. Role of advertising is not a tracking issue. So I choose (c)

3. I've never heard of anyone being fined, so (c) again

4. (a) Because modelling tools aren't a measure in themselves

5. Absolutely no idea. Wild stab, (a)?

6. (c) On the basis that I've never heard of consumer rivalry

7. (d) It's the area least amenable to being taught

8. (b) The rest are quantitative

9. Insight into consumer attitudes to product and media; information on

brand values; distribution of product; competitor strategies; definition

of target audience

10. Consumer insights; target audience definition; marketing problem to

be solved; idea of budget; I feel sick, can I go now?


Richard Kelly - Planning director, Leith London

1. I'll choose (b) because you can have a marketing strategy not

predicated on communications

2. Media spends are provided to Millward Brown not evaluated by them. So


3. No idea . I'd guess (c) because I've never heard of an agency being


4. Modelling tools are based on econometrics so (a) is the answer

5. I don't know but I sit next to our head of TV and she says 12.8 per

cent a lot

6. I've never heard of the Porter Matrix but I've never heard of

consumer rivalry either. (c)

7. Is it (b) because technical expertise is important but not essential?

8. It's all of them really but (a) best encapsulates the others

9. Penetration of media and programme; frequency of communication;

thorough understanding of target audience; fit between medium and brand;


10. Consumer's relationship with brand, actual and desired; identified

opportunity for brand; define role of communication; evocative

description of target audience and needs; in a form creatives can work



Mark Holden - Executive planning director, PHD

1. (a) because too often marketing isn't represented at board level

2. (b) That's not the sort of thing you can ask consumers

3. I've never had to clear copy, so I'd guess (d)

4. (a) They typically use hard data in the form of sales and media


5. No idea. Never been involved, so picking one at random I choose (a)

6. (c) Because I have never heard of consumers being rivals - a very odd


7. Who's Block? (d) But I don't know why

8. Mostly (b) but a bit of the others too

9. An understanding of client's business and market dynamics; info on

existing revenue channels; understanding the marketplace and consumer;

leading to a single driving thought for media strategy

10. Understanding of target audience and key consumer insight; reference

to channels being used; the task for each channel; basics of client,

product and market; any mandatories

SCORE: 5.5

Kate Stanners - Creative director, BoymeetsgirlS&J

1. They are all important but I suppose (b) is not a component

2. It depends what you've asked for. But they don't evaluate the role of

advertising. So (b)

3. Fines are not in their remit. So (c)

4. (a) Because modelling tools are econometrics and that's not soft

5. Not a clue. I think it's high -12.8 per cent?

6. (c) isn't measurable and I've never heard of it

7. All the others are softy sorts of things except (b), which sounds a

bit odd

8. All of them but (a) most of all

9. When and where is it best to talk to the right people; how best to

exploit the creative idea

10. It identifies the core client problem; it supplies as much

background information as needed; some hard facts such as target

audience and their preferences. But most of all it offers inspiration


Peter Smith - Past president of Chartered Institute of Purchase and

Supply; director of Procurement Excellence

1. I'd say all. But I suppose (b) is an outcome not an input into

marketing strategy

2. Tracking studies look at objective things so I would guess (b), which

is less quantifiable

3. (a) sounds like it is not a penalty, the others sound like they are

4. (a) Modelling tools are not a measure in themselves

5. I don't even know my own rate of NIC. (b) sounds about right

6. (c) Because it sounds weird. The others I've heard of

7. Pure guess would be (a), the others are generic, this is a skill in


8. All to some extent, but (b) most of all

9. Key is understanding media consumption of target audience; identify

task of media; is it awareness building or persuasion?; understand image

you want to portray; don't forget value for money on budget; and, of

course, don't overlook potential for winning lots of media awards

10. Define the marketing problem; define parameters, timing and other

constraints, still allowing for inspiration; clarity in areas such as

objectives, target markets, criteria for success; some indication of how

"creative" you want to be

SCORE: 7.5

Andy Roberts - Buying director, Starcom Motive

1. They all should be, but I'll say (b) for purely paranoid reasons

2. Again (b). The others are measurable dimensions

3. The system is purely voluntary so there is no scope for fines. Answer


4. Modelling is based on hard statistics, so (a)

5. Not a clue, but 6.8 per cent feels good for a wild guess

6. (c) on the grounds that it is far too esoteric

7. (b) Because the others all have some kind of human element involved

8. The last three can be quantified so (a)

9. Clear understanding of marketing objectives, target audience, their

product and media consumption; clear idea of business targets, timing

and any seasonality; budget; media selection; phasing; full

understanding of creative strategy

10. Much the same as for question 9; role of advertising; target

market/consumer insights; desired consumer out take; media routes?


James Morris - Account handler (of 18-months' standing), TBWA\London

1. (b) Because it overlaps with all the others

2. (b) Because you are trying to see if your campaign played the role

you thought it would

3. (c) I've heard of all the others but not that

4. (a) is not a measure but a way of measuring

5. I guess (b) - that's roughly what I pay

6. (c) just isn't relevant to business

7. (b) The others are soft, this is quite specific

8. You are trying to get a deeper understanding so (b)

9. Understanding the demographics and psychographics of target audience;

understanding the dynamics of media consumption; outline the nature of

the message

10. Identify target market; single-minded proposition; clear

mandatories; gives ample fodder or scope for creative leap; includes

desired response; keeps it all very simple

SCORE: 6.5

ANSWERS to the multiple-choice questions are: 1) b; 2)d; 3)c; 4)a; 5)c;

6)c; 7)a; 8)b. The "essay" questions, 9 and 10, are worth two points


IPA Score out of 12 (Pass mark is 6)


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