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New IPA President positions advertising industry as a progressive force for good

Incoming IPA President Tom Knox addressed leading figures in the communications and wider business communities today (29 April). He announced a ‘Here for Good’ values-based agenda which pledges to reassert, and secure for the future, advertising’s role as a culturally, socially and economically enriching force for good.


View pictures from the IPA Members' Lunch here.

Watch the full speech here.

“It’s my strong belief advertising can be a noble profession and what we do is fundamentally of great value and good” he began. “Good for businesses and the economy. Good for consumers and society. And good for the people who make a living from it.”

He acknowledged the advertising industry enjoys a privileged position as the custodians of consumer behaviour. But, has a duty to use this knowledge responsibly to become trusted advisers to brands and consumers.

He said, “It’s no longer good enough to say we merely reflect society – we should set ourselves a higher goal and realise a more progressive ambition.”

One of the IPA’s first commitments under his Presidency will be to draw up a code of conduct for the membership. The IPA will codify existing best practice and engage with the wider community to inform this.

Additional outputs from the ‘Here for Good’ agenda include:

  • Demonstrating brands’ higher purposes and how agency thinking helps in unlocking these.
  • A new Effectiveness Prize. This will recognise commercial campaigns which have demonstrated societal as well as economic value.
  • Exploring key topics relating to advertising’s role in society, including:

- the depiction of women and diversity
- the use of big data and the implications for privacy
- the rise of content, native advertising and the blurring of the lines between editorial and marketing
- the cultural contribution of advertising, as one of the leading sectors in the creative industries
- the perception and reputation of the ad industry and its practitioners

He pledged to add to the existing work to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce and would:

  • look at initiatives to ensure women are better represented in creative and senior roles
  • Publish a more comprehensive agency employee league table, which will list the gender split by department, seniority and ethnicity. This table will be part of positioning the industry as enlightened and progressive in order to attract and retain the best talent.

“I want us to be positive about the overall impact of the ad industry and for us to show we take our responsibilities seriously.”

He also made two important announcements regarding the IPA as it moves towards its centenary in 2017:

Firstly, a focus on personal membership:

“Historically the IPA has been primarily a corporate membership body. But from September personal membership, through a qualifications-based points system, will be rolled out. This year, over 150 people qualify for this new accreditation and it is our intention in the years to come, accredited membership will be seen as a vital designation of professional expertise.”

Secondly, working towards achieving chartered status:

“Achieving chartered status will enable our industry to demonstrate a professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge, capability and ethical practice. For agencies it tells their customers they can expect the highest quality of service and further demonstrates why every agency in the UK should be a member of the IPA.”

Read speech here. 

Join the conversation on Twitter #AdValues and follow Tom on Twitter @IPA_Pres and Instagram IPA_Pres

Note to editors:
Tom Knox’s biography
Tom Knox started his career at Delaney Fletcher Delaney in 1987. After DFD was acquired by Bozell he worked in New York for a year, followed by stints at Chiat/Day and AMV/BBDO in London. He returned to DFSD Bozell in 1995 as Head of Account Management. In 2000 he was part of the team that founded Delaney Lund Knox Warren, which prior to the merger with Lowe and Partners in 2010, grew to become the largest non-network agency in the UK. He is now chairman of DLKW Lowe. Tom is married with three stepchildren.

Roll call of IPA Presidents since 2005:
Ian Priest (2013-2015)
Nicola Mendelsohn (2011-2013)
Rory Sutherland (2009-2011)
Moray MacLennan (2007-2009)
David Pattison (2005-2007)

The role of the IPA President
During their two-year tenure, the IPA President sets an agenda for the IPA to help shape its activities in alignment with the IPA’s three-pillar strategy: what agencies do (Creativity, media and effectiveness); how agencies make their money (Commercial); and who they need to do it well (Talent). They operate as the public face of the IPA and represent IPA members to the press and public. They present the views of the industry to interested parties on key issues – as developed with the IPA Council and IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair. They chair Council meetings and any key sub-groups which may derive from it.

Last updated 07/05/2015

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