About six years ago, when very new to Campaign, I was summoned to the office of the editor and asked, apologetically, if I would mind writing a profile for which no-one else was available.
It meant interviewing Hamish Pringle, who had been promoted to the chairman of CME KHBB in the wake of Bruce Haines' departure. It became apparent that this was somehow considered to be a duff assignment, interviewing one of the industry's more earnest players whose determining characteristic was his ability to make senior clients feel safe.
Six years later, and what does Campaign know? Pringle - an alumnus of Ogilvy & Mather, BMP, Publicis, AMV, Leagas Delaney, Saatchis and his own (albeit ill-starred) agency - has shown that he is much more than a grey suit following his appointment as director-general designate of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. What's more, he turns out to be a highly popular choice with IPA council members.
Two areas have already been identified by Pringle as ripe for assault.
First is the need to address the fact that advertising continues to be undervalued by the outside world. As one of those individuals of the generation that was instinctively attracted to advertising, and whose enthusiasm for it exceeds all reasonable professional requirements, Pringle is well qualified to take up this challenge.
The second and most pressing area is expanding the IPA's remit into other areas, although a mooted merger with the sales promotion agency body the SPCA looks unlikely to happen - perhaps because the IPA is a Rolls-Royce of a trade body with subscriptions to match, while the SPCA subs are more modest. At present, about a quarter of the IPA's 200-odd members are media agencies, and there are two new-media agencies on board. 'As well as delivering for existing members, we are open to membership from all marketing communications agencies,' Pringle states.
The point here is obvious: Pringle speaks client service as a second language and now his client is every IPA member agency. Also, there is ample evidence on Pringle's CV pointing to his catholic tastes in communications.
He has a finger in a dotcom or three, he has written a book about cause-related marketing and his greater half has run a successful DM and retail business, Blooming Marvellous, for 18 years. In short, Pringle is a wise choice as the person to take the IPA into the 21st century.
Finally, I can't resist a quick plug. What do you get if you cross being the three times runner-up as Campaign's Agency of the Year with a creative agency such as TBWA? I'll tell you. A belter of a trade press ad for which we are delighted to waive Campaign's 'no fucks in a family newspaper' rule. Thanks to copywriter Ben Walker and art director Matt Gooden for the previous two pages.