IPA Excellence Diploma Final Assignments 2016-2017

Combining classic brand and advertising thinking with leading-edge innovation and technology, the IPA Excellence Diploma is intensive and inspiring, but above all practical. The IPA Excellence Diploma shapes careers as candidates move up to the next level of leadership.

This qualification, the 2006 brainchild of Nick Kendall and Stephen Woodford was re-imagined in 2019 by Sera Miller and Amelia Torode, co-founders of The Fawnbrake Collective.

Find out more about the redeveloped Excellence Diploma


Since its launch, over 100 people have passed the qualification, with those achieving distinctions being published in Campaign magazine. Until its redevelopment in 2019, the qualification was co-chaired by Nick Kendall, Founder of Bro-Ken and Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Chief Strategy Officer at MEC, with contributions from leading agency practitioners.

Candidates work through a comprehensive reading list on brands, contribute to group workshops led by module faculty and voice their opinion through a series of assignments. The qualification previously culminated in a final thesis, “I believe… Therefore…”, marked by a panel of senior practitioners and industry gurus. This thesis has now been reimagined as a series of outputs: a viva voce examination, an essay and a Ted-style talk to a public audience, examiners and external judges.

Past candidates and their agency CEOs have described the output of the Excellence Diploma as R&D for the advertising industry

The aim of the qualification is to challenge people to become experts in the central thing we make, brands. And to equip people with the key shared theories, learnings and case-histories on brands. And, ultimately, to help delegates develop their own personal vision for three simple questions: What is a brand? How can it add value to a business? And how do you build a great one?

Below are the final 5,000 word thesis' for the IPA Excellence Diploma 2016/2017

Grade: Pass with Distinction

The 3 final assignments that achieved a Pass with Distinction and will therefore feature in a Campaign Supplement on Tuesday 7th November 2017 are:

Unleashing Cyborg Creativity (Oliver Feldwick, Head of Digital Strategy, CHI & Partners)
Thinklong (Gareth Price, Senior Planner, JWT)
The Late Radicals (Olivia Stubbings, Strategy Director, WCRS)

Grade: Pass with Credit

Never name your chickens: Why I believe that the future of brands is husbandry (Ed Feast, Planning Director, All Response Media)

21 Grams of Brand (Leanne Silman, Head of Account Management, M&C Saatchi)

Yes, We can! Why I believe agencies must learn from political campaigns in the era of compelxity and constraint. (Claire Coady, Strategy Director, Publicis)

Ad lib (Aimee Chalcraft, Content Strategy Director - Senior creative lead accross all content partnerships, MEC Global)

Scouting for Growth (Matt Prentis, Global Innovation Director, PHD Media)

I believe that in a voice-first world, the brands that are tip of tongue will be top of mind. (Alastair Baker, Strategy Director, Fetch)

I believe it is time for brands to become Shape Shifters. (Tifenn Cloarec, Strategy Director, Vizeum)

To thrive in the future, Brands must focus on Making enemies, not friends. (Helen St Quintin, Senior Planner, FCB Inferno)

Grade: Pass

Facing Failure (Sam Fowler, Associate Director, MediaCom)

Practice what you preach (Hannah McWilliam, Business Director (Comms Planning), Greenhouse GroupM)

From mirrors to magnets - Seduction in the age of algorithms (Earl Javier, Effectiveness Director, Ogilvy & Mather Philippines)

I believe agencies have developed ADHD and their future lies in the delivery of long-term thinking (Andy Collins, Performance Planning Business Director, MEC Global)

The age of influence (David Graham, Group Strategy Director, MEC Global)

Last updated 13 December 2019