4As seeks more global tie-ups

President: Collaboration with IPA to boost talents in ad industry
REALISING the acute shortage of talents in the advertising industry and the challenges surrounding their retention, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) is looking to forge more collaborations with international bodies.
Towards this end, the advertising association has recently teamed up with the Institute for Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) of UK to arm local advertising practitioners with updated industry knowledge, new skill sets and tools relevant to the industry. The 4As is not discounting further tie-ups with international advertising bodies going forward.
4As president Andrew Lee says that in view of the shortage of talents and with the need to raise the bar of professionalism in the ad industry, “the association will step up efforts in many fronts, one of which is the collaboration with IPA”.
“The programme with IPA is for junior advertising executives right up to senior managers and account directors. For example, the IPA Foundation Certificate Programme is catered to the junior level advertising executives to set common standards to measure the performance of young talents in the industry.
“These junior executives need to be trained and equipped with the right knowledge and know-how in the ad industry for them to better cope and understand the challenges in the fast-moving ad space. This will also help them to have a better grasp of the various issues in the industry.
“The IPA Commercial Certificate Programme for senior account managers and account directors will help those at the senior level to better understand the commercial factors influencing agencies and clients,’’ Lee tells StarBizWeek.
He says the association also plans to introduce the Eff Test Certificate to raise standards in communications strategy planning for marketing effectiveness.
Eff Test, which will be in collaboration with IPA, is a programme for strategic planning and is catered for strategists, account managers, brand managers and marketing managers.
Lee says 4As has set aside RM50,000 worth of scholarships for full-time employees of the association’s member agencies to help and beef up their knowledge and skill sets in advertising and marketing. There are plans in the future to raise the amount of scholarships.
Industry practitioners, especially entry-level executives, should therefore optimise the available resources provided by the association to hone their skills, he notes.
The scholarships, he says, are currently allocated for the use of the IPA Foundation Certificate Programme and it will be open to more programmes run by 4As. Full-time employees of 4As member agencies are encouraged to send in their scholarship applications to the 4As Secretariat (secretariat@aaaa.org.my).
He stresses that member agencies that participate in 4As educational programmes will continue to receive the Boomerang Membership Accreditation points. The programme was initiated to strengthen the local advertising industry.
Boomerang points are to ensure employees of 4As members are regularly sent for training and to keep the talent force equipped with the latest knowledge and to encourage members’ participation in the advertising industry’s activities.
Lee also cautions on some of the challenges in the ad industry. He says: “The lines between multiple disciplines in the marketing communications industry continues to be blurred – and I expect that the near future will be about total integration with creative media, digital, PR and event management coming together as a single unit to originate campaigns that cover all bases.
“Industry consolidation through acquisitions and mergers will continue to accelerate as a means to offer real value to clients. The good news for agencies and the industry, however, is that it will be more comprehensive allowing stakeholders to focus on longer-term outcomes leading to stronger and more meaningful consumer experiences.”
To this end, he says 4As is now actively in discussions with key industry leaders, media partners and professional agencies including the Media Specialists Association, Malaysian Advertisers Association, Malaysian Digital Association, Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association and Malaysian Association of Advertising Filmmakers to grow the industry and plan for the future.
Lee was elected as the association’s president in April this year after Datuk Johnny Mun, the ex-president, decided to withdraw from contesting the post at the association’s biennial general meeting. Prior to the win, he was the vice-president of 4As for two terms and is currently the managing director of Havas Kuala Lumpur.

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