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