Ad trade weekly Campaign worked itself into a froth of excitement on Thursday with a story that the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the body representing Britain's advertising agencies, was planning merger with other trade associations to form a so-called agency “supergroup”.

Should the new confederation come into being, effervesced Campaign, it might also embrace agencies from other disciplines, merging with “the Sales Promotion Consultants Association, the Internet Advertising Bureau, the Public Relations Consultants Association and the agency section of the Direct Marketing Association.”

The mag’s enthusiastic reporter – whose ear had seemingly been bent by an IPA mole – went on to detail apparently well laid plans to sell the body’s Belgravia headquarters for “up to £4 million” and move to a new showcase centre in the heart of adland, Covent Garden or Soho.

Having run out of breath, Campaign then applied the brake a tad, admitting that the plans were at “a very early stage” and quoting IPA president Bruce Haines: “The council meeting [on Tuesday] was the first discussion to examine the strategic options open to us. Among those options is to initiate talks with other trade organisations to establish whether there is enough common ground to formalise a working relationship.”

However, in an unusual move, the IPA felt it necessary to cool Campaign’s exuberance and and posted the following statement Thursday evening on its website:

“Eighteen months ago IPA Council voted to extend the offer of membership to agencies in the marketing communications industry whose principle source of business was not that of traditional above the line media advertising.

“Given that it is our clear requirement to provide excellent levels of service to all of our members whatever their area of expertise, we have decided to examine how that might best be done.

“Tuesday’s Council meeting was the first discussion to examine the strategic options open to us. Amongst those is the option to initiate talks with other trade organisations to establish whether there is enough common ground to formalise a working relationship. Until we complete our discussions within Council and take a decision on the most attractive definition of the future structure of the IPA, no other comment is possible.”

[Good story, though, fellow hacks. Even if a decade or so premature!]

News source: CampaignLive (UK); IPA Website