CAREERS: IPA modernises training course - Trainees are given a grounding in the industry basics at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Evening Series, writes Mark Robinson

Early this month saw the final session of the IPA’s Evening Series for trainees - young people who have recently entered advertising from university.

Early this month saw the final session of the IPA’s Evening Series

for trainees - young people who have recently entered advertising from

university.



It is the first stage in the IPA 7 Stages, the continuing professional

development programme. It was first designed more than ten years ago to

meet the needs of agency people from new recruit through to chief

executive.



Some things about the Evening Series haven’t changed over the years: it

still provides the opportunity to meet some of the stars in the agency

world and hear their views on what constitutes excellence in their job

function.



Speakers this year have included Peter Souter from AMV BBDO, Mark Lund

of Delaney Fletcher Bozell and Mandy Pooler of MindShare. And it still

allows the trainees to meet and form friendships with their peer group

from other agencies and media specialists. With 140 delegates from 33

companies, there are plenty to choose from.



But other things have changed significantly. Delegates don’t just sit

there any more, they have to work on a real project, trying to come up

with joined-up strategic thinking on a real marketing issue and present

it to a real client.



They also have to ’post’ a summary of the important bits of each evening

on the IPA’s Stage I web site, so other delegates and those who are

outside London and can’t attend can share some of the learning. In

addition, every day a question is posted on the site.



And the solutions they come up with have to be integrated across the

most appropriate methods of communication. Last Tuesday’s presentations,

focusing on Bombay Sapphire Martinis, elicited many suggestions. One was

for hired ’beautiful people’ with vivid blue contact lenses to visit

bars as living brand theatre. Another was for an interactive web site

tied to Time Out magazine that would provide the sort of individualists

who might drink the cocktail with their own listing.



Only two of the 12 syndicates which presented had national TV on their

media plans and both had some interesting programming ideas that

provided a good rationale for its inclusion.



Of course, Stage 1 is just an adjunct to all the training and

development going on back in their agencies. Whether it is formal or

informal, on or off the job, by which account handlers, planners and

media people learn their craft skills. It does, however, serve to raise

delegates’ horizons and encompass the wider world of why we communicate

and how we can do it with excellence.



Mark Robinson is marketing director at J Walter Thompson and chairman of

IPA Stage 1



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