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Exceptional adlanders pass IPA’s most distinguished qualification

Sixteen outstanding adlanders were last night (21 January) awarded for passing the IPA’s highest level qualification, the IPA Excellence Diploma, in which they detailed their predictions for the future of brands and brand communications.


Known as the MBA of brands, the Excellence Diploma is a rigorous 12-month programme involving ongoing assignments and culminating in a 7,000-word assignment. It is judged by leading industry experts including John Bartle, formerly BBH; Mark Earls, the Herdmeister; Tom Knox, Chairman, Mullen Lowe and IPA President and Amelia Torode, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA London, among others.*

In total the judges awarded four distinctions, ten credits and two passes, as well as two Special Prizes**. The President’s Prize went to Vizeum UK’s Charlie Ebdy whose essay outlines that with business in the 21st century changing at pace, it is imperative we complement the classic rules of brand-building with a set of new rules that learns from how brands are built today. The Prize for Outstanding Body of Work went to MEC’s Susanna Cousins whose essay detailed why she believes the future lies in embracing introversion to build better brands. 

The distinction essays will be available to read in full in a Campaign supplement in March, with all of the essays available to download on the IPA website.

Says Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development, IPA, “Once again the pinnacle of the IPA qualifications programme has produced a brilliant crop of thought provoking final essays: it is a vital source of innovative new thinking which helps nourish agencies’ work in building powerful brands for our clients and helping solve business problems. I urge you to read the essays and look back at the last ten years in our book What is a 21st Century Brand? for inspiration.” 

**Breakdown of awards

Pass with Distinction

Scott Brenman, Group Stratgey Director, MEC

Susanna Cousins, Strategist, MEC

Charlie Ebdy, Head of Strategy, Vizeum UK

John Scott, Senior Strategist, Drum 

Pass with Credit

Richard Bartlett, Communications Director, MEC

Andrew Bent, Creative Lead, Google

John Clarvis, Creative Technologist, MEC

Sinead Cosgrove, Planning Director, Chemistry

Patrick Netherton, Senior Account Director, JWT

Natalja Piiskoppel, Stratgey Director, VIZEUM EMEA

James Price, Senior Planner, Adam&eve DDB

Hannah Shackleford, Regional Stratgey Director, OMD UK

Bas van Waveren, former Strategy Director, Unilever

Chris Worrell, Group Strategy Director, MEC 


Ester Broome, Global Marketing Manager, William Grant & Sons Distillers

Hamid Sirham, Senior Digital Strategist, Huge 

*IPA Excellence Diploma markers and editors:

•             Tess Alps, Non-Executive Chair, Think Box

•             Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA

•             John Bartle, formerly BBH

•             Claire Beale, Global Editor-in-Chief, Campaign

•             James Borrdell Brown, Client Strategy Director, Zone

•             Dom Boyd, Head of Strategy and Planning, adam&eve DDB

•             Lucas Brown, Chief Strategy Officer, Total media

•             Sam D'amato, Chief Strategy Officer, M2M

•             Mark Earls, formerly Herdmiester

•             Ian Edwards, Planner, Facebook

•             Emily Fairhead-Keen, Business Director, MEC

•             David Hackworthy, Chief Strategy Officer, Fallon

•             David Haigh, CEO and Founder, Brand Finance

•             Tom Hampson, Head of Marketing, Netto

•             Gethin James, Head of Planning, Lowe Profero

•             Nick Kendall, Partner, The Garage and Founding Partner, Broken

•             Tom Knox, Chairman, Mullen Lowe and IPA President

•             Richard Morris, Managing Director, Vizeum

•             Leo Rayman, Head of Planning, Grey London

•             Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Chief Strategy Officer, MEC

•             David Tiltman, Head of Content, Warc Limited

•             Amelia Torode, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA London

•             David Wilding, Director of Planning, Twitter

•             Stephen Woodford, Chairman, Story UK and Lexis Agency

The Diploma has been chaired by Nick Kendall, Partner, The Garage Incubator, Founding Partner, Broken and former Global Head of Planning, BBH, since 2004 a. This year he was supported by Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Chief Strategy Officer, MEC

To find out more about applying for the 2015/2016 Excellence Diploma contact

The IPA launched the Excellence Diploma in 2004, under the presidency of Stephen Woodford, to raise the real and perceived professionalism and value of marketing communications. Diploma modules cover: the role of brands, people and brands, brands and channel thinking, brands and creativity, brands and measurement, and brands and leadership. Candidates are given a mentor from their agency for support and to help them put the thinking into practice. 

The IPA released ‘What is a 21st Century Brand’ in 2015 which celebrates ten years of the Excellence Diploma featuring a selection of the best essays over the years and analysis from leading industry figures. The book can be bought here

Last updated 28/01/2016

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