An introduction to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)

The IPA was established in 1917, and is now the leading trade association and professional institute for advertising and marketing services agencies in the UK. Its 250+ corporate members represent over 70% of the total market value for advertising and marketing services and help manage £ 30 billion of marketing investment for some 5000 companies and 10,000 brands.

All business to consumer (B2C) companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange (FTSE 350) partner with IPA member agencies for their marketing services. As do the top 100 global advertisers.

37% of the clients of member agencies are non-UK owned. Of these two thirds have set up marketing departments in the UK. By 2020 our ambition is to work with more non-UK owned businesses, particularly from China.

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A guide to UK marketing services

The mission of IPA member agencies is "to help companies create, develop and grow value from brands".

IPA member agencies work in partnership with client companies to develop and realize their international marketing strategies.

They are expert in brand positioning, brand communications planning and buying, creative strategy and execution, measurement and evaluation.

IPA members know the people who run all of the different media channels for brand communication, both traditional and new, and know how to get value from them, not just in the UK, but also in Europe and the USA, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The IPA has been taking trade missions to China, and receiving delegations from China, with the support of UK Government, since 2009.

IPA member agencies have hosted marketing services workshops in Beijing and Shanghai and taken platforms and exhibitions at the China International Advertising Festival in Nanning, Shenyang and Tianjin.

Over 70 IPA member agencies now have offices in China as well as in London.

To view a full list of our member agencies please visit


Best practice in client agency relationships

The IPA has developed best practice training to help clients and agencies develop successful outcomes at every stage in the marketing services management process.

  • Finding an agency

  • The client brief

  • Communications strategy

  • Judging creative work

  • Evaluation

  • Agency remuneration


The IPA is also developing new guidance to help clients and agencies understand the principles against which to build successful business relationships.

  • Longevity - it takes time to develop mutual understanding of the brand and business. A 3-5 year minimum contract period is recommended because it delivers better results.

  • A committed, cohesive team - a dedicated team both at the client company and at the agency ensure continuity and efficiency in day-to-day business operations.

  • Rigorous, collaborative processes - with senior level sign-off. There is a need for clarity about who has responsibility for taking the decisions. 

  •  Strategic and executional delivery - there is proven advantage in contracting the same agency to 'think' and 'make'.

  • A retained financial relationship - agreed terms of business from the outset, linked to output and outcomes, secure agency commitment to deliver the best teams and the best work.

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Case study 1 - HSBC and JWT

Take the example of London agency and IPA member, JWT, appointed by HSBC to make their brand successful and take it global.

Their insight into the brand and culture led them to the creative proposition 'The world's local bank.' They originated creative work to this them both on TV, in press and posters and online; and management the implementation of the campaign in 28 countries. It achieved both brand and business results, with significant performance improvements in awareness, perception, emotional proximity and customer centricity.

What's more, it delivered an estimated incremental growth of almost $ 70 billion between 2002 and 2008 and a payback of between $ 3 and $8 for every $ invested.


Case study 2  – Range Rover and Brooklyn Brothers

Another example is of IPA member agency, Brooklyn Brother’s ‘Pulse of the City’ campaign for Range Rover Evoque. The challenge was to connect with a younger, urban, design inspired and environmentally conscious consumer living in world cities including Shanghai, LA and London.

In the city of Shanghai, the Pulse of The City project inspired a unique combination of comic book style illustrations interwoven with live action film. ‘The Evoque Effect’ was an action packed storyline that wowed a young and ambitious Chinese audience for eight weeks.

Millions followed the adventures of actors Zhu Zhu, Philippe Truong and Michelle Du in a narrative packed with intrigue, suspense and danger. The main campaign site, which was seen by over 8 million people and generated over RMB3 million in free PR coverage. Over 1 million people viewed each episode and the main site received 850,000 unique page views.

Worldwide, The Pulse of The City ran through 17 countries and 18 cities and the first year’s global target orders for the Evoque were achieved even before the car went on sale.

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