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IPA president outlines priorities

News, 30 April 2015

LONDON: The incoming president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has set out the priorities for his tenure, which include a values-based agenda for the industry and a new Effectiveness prize.

Tom Knox, who is also chairman at DLKW Lowe, told a lunch event in London yesterday that he had a "strong belief that advertising can be a noble profession and that what we do is fundamentally of great value and good."

And that includes being "good for businesses and the economy, good for consumers and society as a whole and good for our people – the men and women, people who work in the advertising industry."

He acknowledged that the ad industry enjoyed a privileged position as the custodians of consumer behaviour, but said it had a duty to use this knowledge responsibly in order to become a trusted adviser to brands and shoppers.

"It's no longer good enough to say we merely reflect society – can we not set ourselves a higher ambition and realise a more progressive role?" asked Knox.

Accordingly, he intends to draw up a code of conduct for the membership, with the IPA codifying existing best practices and engaging with the wider community to inform this objective.

And in a related move, a new Effectiveness Prize will recognise commercial campaigns demonstrating societal as well as economic value. Knox held up as examples campaigns by Always (Like a Girl), Barclays (Lifeskills) and Dove (Campaign for Real Beauty).

A further development will see the IPA hosting a series of events exploring the importance of brand purpose and how agencies' thinking and creativity has contributed to unlocking those missions, alongside the resultant return on investment and the lessons to be learned.

"In many cases the outputs may be far removed from what has traditionally been called advertising," Knox said.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff