CLOSE UP: LIVE ISSUE/IPA - The IPA must involve itself in issues affecting creative work, Camilla Palmer says

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.