DIARY: Industry brains fail to hit pass mark in IPA's advertising challenge

Fingers on buzzers. Here comes your starter for ten. You're an account man with concerns about the creative work. Do you:

A. Tell the creative team there and then in no uncertain terms?

B. Judge whether this is an appropriate moment to express those concerns?

C. Hold back and don't say a word in case you offend the creative team?

D. Wait until the client voices the same concerns?

Not sure? Then try this one. The emergentics model is:

A. A way of helping you understand people.

B. A process to help you think rationally.

C. A technique to help you evaluate your client's business.

D. A useful planning tool to help you develop strategy.

Still stumped? Sadly you're not alone in the dunces' corner. The heavy hitters on the 48-strong IPA Council were recently put to the test with these and ten other multiple-choice posers. Half failed to reach the 60 per cent pass rate.

The questions that caused so many red faces are among the 350 set for industry newcomers studying for the IPA's new Foundation Certificate.

This exercise was carried out by Stephen Woodford, the IPA president, as a way of emphasising to adland's chiefs that getting the certificate "is no walk in the park".

Doubtless they got the point. Strangely, though, nobody was very enthusiastic about Woodford's suggestion that the underachievers should be named and shamed. This, of course, might not have been unconnected with the fact that Woodford emerged joint top of the class with his old school friend Derek Morris, the Publicis chief strategic officer.

"Our old headmaster would have been so pleased," the insufferable swot crowed.

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