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Plan for trade superbody rubbished

LONDON - The formation of a single trade superbody covering all of the UK's communications industries has been attacked as ill thought out, expensive and superfluous.

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The stinging attack was made by Burkitt DDB chairman Hugh Burkitt, who attended the the IPA council meeting on Tuesday December 4, where the idea was debated. He also said that the idea that the plan had been greenlighted was premature, a view that has been echoed by IPA chiefs.



Writing in Campaign today, Burkitt argues that a "single voice" already exists in the industry in the Advertising Association and that the IPA should concentrate on working for the interests of its agency members.


According to Burkitt: "While there were many supporting voices for this plan, many problems were raised and I expressed an alternative view. I believe that the Advertising Association already provides the 'single voice', which the whole industry sometimes requires, and that the role of the IPA is to represent the interests of its existing members, who are primarily advertising and media agencies."



His views cast doubt on the viability of such a superbody and highlight possible widespread dissent to a move that would result in the IPA losing its identity after 84 years.



In his letter to Campaign, Burkitt said he did not believe that the IPA chiefs, Hamish Pringle and Bruce Haines, had established clearly enough what their members will require over the next 10 years and that he did not believe that concentrating so heavily on the acquisition of new members was much of a benefit to existing ones. Instead, Burkitt proposes that the IPA grow organically and thereby retain its identity.



The idea that has been floated is for a new umbrella organisation, which would bring together the voice of advertising with other related trade bodies, including the Public Relations Consultants Association, the agency arm of the Direct Marketing Association and the Sales Promotion Consultants Association.



The logic behind the move is all about attracting new members. By widening the body, non-advertising agencies could become members. Presently, they do not join the IPA, as their main activities are not pure advertising. The talk of a new superbody comes on the back of last year's proposed merger of the IPA and the SPCA, which was aborted because IPA subscriptions are up to four times higher than the SPCA's.



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