Trade associations are pretty boring (no, don’t stop reading yet) but the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has done a decent job in recent years, at least managing to identify the problems facing the business if not succeeding in solving them.
Many of these revolve around recruitment and retention: recruiting a broader range of newcomers to the business (not all white, middle class graduates) and somehow or other finding a way of persuading its member agencies not to fire anybody over 35 as soon as recession hits.
The new man charged with this and other agendas is Paul Bainsfair who’s been around the agency block, starting as an account man at Saatchi in the 1970s and going on to run a big chunk of it, and starting and selling his own agency Bainsfair Sharkey Trott. He is currently chairman of Iris.
He takes over from Hamish Pringle whose stint as director general has lasted ten years and seen the IPA expand to include media agencies and marketing agencies.
Bainsfair says:”“We are facing some big trends which are already having an impact on the future shape of the advertising and communications industry. For me, there couldn’t be a more interesting time to take on this role. I’m looking forward to helping the IPA play its part in keeping our world class industry at the forefront during these challenging times.”
Which doesn’t mean a lot really, by big trends he might be referring to government ad cutbacks which are currently giving UK agencies a pain in the wallet.
I also wish people wouldn’t keep saying “challenging,” outgoing DG Pringle also referred to his own “exciting and challenging times.”
Challenging really doesn’t mean anything these days, it’s a catch-all substitute for thought. Does it mean “rotten and depressing” or “mildly vexing” or something else entirely.
So that’s the first tip for new man Bainsfair, say what you mean mate.