New IPA President Sarah Golding launches future-focused agenda that promises to 'make magic with the machines'

New IPA President Sarah Golding has pledged to maximise the potential of automation and machine-learning to enhance the advertising industry, while also protecting it from its dark side. Golding delivered her ‘Magic and the Machines’ agenda in her inaugural speech to an audience of leading figures from the communications and wider business communities at the IPA's Members’ Lunch.

Says Golding: “We are not all doomed to be replaced by robots, but neither are we too creative not to be impacted. I would therefore like my presidency to help create a new enthusiasm for what machines can do for agencies and the advertisers and brands we serve.

“We need to start seeing the opportunities to grow and change alongside our new automated colleagues, embracing the new tools available to us to be even better at what we do. And that starts with how we can harness them to help us create magic.”

To achieve this, Golding has focussed her agenda on three key areas: mastering the machines; magic with numbers; and monitoring the machines.

Mastering the machines

Helping agencies to use tech to create better brand experiences and to work with tech companies to develop the products and tools they need. This will be achieved through the creation of a platform for education, collaboration and inspiration, known as IPAi, and will include:

  • The IPAi Applied Training Programme – comprised of intensive and immersive AI-centred modules starting from 15 May. 
  • The launch of SXSW1 – bringing the key learnings and individuals from the highly-respected SXSW Interactive Festival and CES Conference to SW1
  • Working with Nesta, Innovate UK and Tech London Advocates to define and quantify the value of Creative Tech.
  • Deeper involvement with London Technology Week.

Magic with numbers – data and evaluation

Helping agencies to embrace data, using numbers as an input into creative thinking and targeting; and to better evaluate their data to enable greater understanding of how marketing with machines really works. This will be achieved through:

  • The publication of two thought leadership pieces from Les Binet and Peter Field starting with ‘Buying Behaviour in the Digital World’, produced in partnership with Thinkbox and Google.
  • A schedule of 44 Club events to engage younger members of the industry and STEM graduates with the new tech-focussed reality.
  • A new President’s Prize in the esteemed IPA Effectiveness Awards that will specifically reward the paper that demonstrates the most innovative use of data.
  • The IPA’s Eff Works Conference on 10 October which will have a particular focus on how to make sense of data.
  • A series of data protection webinars and guidance notes to help agencies prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation which will apply across the EU from May 2018.

Monitoring the machines

Ensuring greater digital media quality and security, including guarding against ad fraud and ensuring better brand safety. This will be achieved through:

  • Lobbying tech brands to work with the industry to constantly and consistently improve the visibility, comparability and transparency they offer brands.
  • Redoubling IPA efforts with partners at the IAB and ISBA and with leading tech companies to clean up the digital media landscape.

In rounding off her speech, Golding delivered a stark yet rallying cry to the audience: “Automation will change lives at every level in our industry. The machines will be our new colleagues. And they will be the smartest, fastest, most challenging colleagues any of us has ever had. But in order to make even more creative magic we must embrace the machines, enjoy the machines and trust the machines.”

Join the conversation on Twitter @The_IPA #MagicandtheMachines

View her full speech here:


View photos from the Members' Lunch here. 

Note to editors:

Sarah Golding’s biography
Sarah is Chief Executive Officer and Partner of CHI & Partners, one of the UK’s leading advertising and communications agencies. Prior to that Sarah worked at Lowe Howard-Spink following graduation from Cambridge University. Across her career Sarah has worked with blue chip brands including Orange, Reebok, British Gas, Argos and NewsUK. She sits on the IPA Council, is an active member of WACL and for the last five years has been voted by Campaign magazine as one of the industry's top 10 account people. Sarah is a Non Exec of coffee company Cru Kafe and sits on the Great Ormond Street Christmas Committee. Sarah is married to David Golding, a co-founder of adam&eveddb, and is mother to Florence and step mother to Archie.

Roll call of IPA Presidents since 2005:

Tom Knox (2017-2015)
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 as the head of the IPA’s Council to help shape its activities regarding: 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 21 January 2022