This November we are holding an election for two vacancies on our ten member board. Three nominations have been received and the candidates election pitches are listed below. We wish them all the very best of luck

  • Jonathan Conlon (Wavemaker)
  • Geraldine Jones (Publicis Dublin)
  • Abi Moran (JWT Folk)

There is one vote per member agency. Ballots papers must be received by 8 November and the results will be announced at the IAPI AGM on 26 November.

Jonathan Conlon
Jonathan Conlon

Title: Joint Managing Director

Company: Wavemaker

Jonathan Conlon began his career in advertising in 2002 when he joined MCM Communications, the media arm of McConnells Advertising. He held a number of buying, planning and management roles during his time with MCM and joined GroupM in 2010 where he launched Maxus in the Irish market. The following seven years saw a period of sustained growth for Maxus which culminated with the merger of Maxus with its sister agency MEC in 2017. Wavemaker was subsequently formed and Jonathan is currently Joint Managing Director of the agency.

Why do I want to join the IAPI board?

I am seeking nomination to the IAPI board for two reasons. Firstly, I believe that IAPI can only be truly effective when it has balanced representation from all agency members, and I don’t believe that should be defined as just media or creative. From working in a full-service Irish agency, launching an agency with four people and now working in the world’s largest media group, I believe I am ideally placed to understand and represent the interests of all members.

Secondly, I want to add something new to what IAPI currently do. IAPI are already running several well-established and fast-growing initiatives and while I would welcome the opportunity to fully support in those areas, I would like to focus on a specific area of importance. The common thread across all IAPI agencies is the need, and our ability, to deliver growth for our clients. In order to speak about business growth with absolute authority, we need to make it a cornerstone of what IAPI stands for. While great work has been done in the past and current initiatives & awards exist, I believe the establishment of an IAPI Growth Council will give this the focus that it undoubtedly requires. Should I be elected, I would work with members to structure this council in a way that benefits all agencies and allows IAPI to further the credentials of our industry with wider industry & government bodies.

Geraldine Jones
Geraldine Jones

Title: Business Director

Company: Publicis Dublin

Throughout my time in the industry (almost 20 years) there has been a constant narrative around change – the changing and fragmenting media landscape, the changes in consumer behaviour relating to media consumption, the change in the type of work we can do as a result of data and tech, the changing landscape that now includes consultancies. And so on, and so on.

However, some things don’t change – the need to focus on making effective work, nurturing our talent and maintaining our credibility as an industry is as important now as it ever was. With this in mind, I would like to join the IAPI board and use my experience to add to the great efforts already ongoing in three key areas.

Effectiveness

2020 will witness the inaugural Effie Awards in Ireland. The changeover from Adfx to Effies will (rightly) broaden the scope from purely advertising to all forms of marketing and introduce a range of award categories more relevant to the scope of work we do as an industry. More importantly, the Effies will put us on an international stage, allowing us to showcase and benchmark our world-class work and clearly highlight the tangible contribution we make to our client’s brands and businesses: the true value of our creativity.

If elected I would work to establish these new awards in our industry and champion them across all of the disciplines included in the span of IAPI’s member base.

People

Maintaining the best people is a top priority for the future of our industry. They are our greatest asset and their skills are now in great demand across many sectors. Anyone who attended the fantastic launch of SMASH, IAPI’s new wellbeing and employee assistance programme, will recognise just how relevant and necessary this programme is. It is geared at helping the largest cohort of our workforce, those under 30, deal with everyday challenges that for many include high levels of stress, anxiety and even depression.

If elected I would work with the existing team to build on this programme and give young people in the industry the support they need to enable them to thrive in their careers, and ultimately aim to discourage them from making premature decisions to exit our industry.

Pitches

Increasingly we have the situation where too many agencies are asked to partake in pitch processes, where too many are kept in the process to the final stages and where requests for additional work are being made post the final presentation to ‘aid decision making’.

Additionally, and quite recently, we’ve had the situation where a number of agencies have partaken in the process in good faith, only to have a ‘failed process’ declared at the end stage with the incumbent retaining the business by default. The perception that it is acceptable to bring so many agencies too far into the process without compensation for their efforts fundamentally undermines the credibility of our industry and the value we provide to our clients. Ironically, the cost of the pitch is not just borne by the agency, it’s borne by clients that lose access to their best teams in the pitch process.

A review of the pitch guidelines is firmly on the IAPI agenda as they work to find a better and fairer way for agencies to win new business and it is one I would fully support.

Abi Moran
Abi Moran

Title: CEO

Company: JWT Folk

IAPI’s purpose is to position our industry as an engine for Ireland’s growth. I believe so much in what we do and the power we have to be that engine. What we do can change our clients’ fortunes. With this is mind, I would love the opportunity to work alongside IAPI’s board members to help bring our industry the recognition it so rightfully deserves.

Three issues I feel we should address:

1. Owning the inclusivity agenda and reducing stereotypes in our work

Fortunately, our industry is an eclectic mix of innovators, lateral thinkers and creatives from different backgrounds. However, as a small industry in Ireland, located predominantly in Dublin, there’s a danger we’re (unconsciously) recruiting against a profile that’s narrowing our thinking and not reflecting the consumers with whom we hope to connect. I’m sure we’d all agree we have a job to do ensuring all people – irrespective of race, ethnicity, physical ability, age or sexual preference – are more progressively represented in our communications. We are not there yet.

This calls for an industry standard framework that ensures we’re depicting modern Ireland. It’s also vital that we connect with schools, universities and educators to funnel a diverse range of backgrounds into our industry.

2. Encouraging more sustainable, long-term business growth

We’re in the middle of global environmental crisis, fuelled by the pursuit of profit. And while clients need to grow for their agencies to survive, agencies are in the challenging position of seeing the future before their clients can. We know that any future profits will require sustainable practices that are better for both consumer and planet.

It’s on us to inform our industry who must in turn educate clients, inspire them to make more sustainable decisions and help them leave the biggest mark with the smallest environmental impact.

3. Properly pricing our services

This means changing the perception of what we do – from a cost-based industry to a value-based one. We need to dial up the industry’s commercial impact – beyond talking to ourselves and our marketing colleagues – and celebrate the lasting influence of our work across more touchpoints, more often.

To do this, we might change the focus of our conversations from awards and agency profiles to the impact our creativity has on delivering growth for both businesses and the Irish economy.

A final note. What makes me right for the Board? I’ve worked in both big and small agencies throughout my career. Agencies that were networked and independent. I have experienced mergers as a member of staff twice and led an agency through a merger once. I’ve won – and unfortunately lost – big and small. And I’ve learnt from some of the very best in the industry, both more senior to me and more junior to me. I feel the time is right to give something back to an industry that I love.