IPA introduces new membership status to attract mavericks

The IPA is extending membership privileges to thousands more industry staffers in a bid to bury lingering perceptions of it as the bastion of adland's "establishment".

It is creating a new category of associate membership, which will be open to about 13,500 people working in IPA corporate agencies. Associate members will be able to call on the IPA for legal and employment advice, take part in IPA training courses and serve on committees.

"We want to prove we're not just a body for the establishment and the suits,

an IPA senior executive said. "We want the mavericks as well."

The initiative is the latest effort by the IPA to become more inclusive and present itself as representative of everybody working in the industry.

Creatives, in particular, have long questioned the IPA's relevance to them. Last month, the IPA reacted by electing three agency creative directors to its ruling council - more than at any time in its 85-year history.

IPA chiefs hope that the new category will act as a "feeder", encouraging more people to take part in the continuous professional development scheme leading to full membership. "We're putting an extra rung on the bottom of the ladder so that people don't have to make such a large leap,

Tessa Gooding, the IPA communications director, said.