Advertising education began in Singapore in the 1950’s when the Joint Education Committee (JEC) was set up by the Singapore Advertisers Association (SAA), the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore (4As), Association of Broadcasters of Singapore and the Advertising Media Owners Association Singapore (AMOA).
JEC was renamed Institute of Advertising Singapore and was launched in 1990 by National Development Minister Mr Mah Bow Tan, with the support of the Economic Development Board. The IAS serves to provide training for members in the advertising and related industries like the creative concept course, diploma and degree programmes from the Murdoch and RMIT University.
The IAS also raises the profile of the ad industry through organizing major events, like the Singapore Advertising Lecture, Southeast Asia Broadcast Conference, the Singapore International Advertising Congress and the Singapore Advertising Hall of Fame.
The members of the Institute consist of trade associations, which includes the International Advertising Association (IAA) Chapter.
The Institute is a non-profit organisation entirely dependent on membership subscription and on surplus it accumulates from events as well as course fees. Membership falls under 4 categories; ordinary, foundation, student, charter and honorary fellow. Student members pay an entrance fee of S$25 with annual subscriptions of S$50 while ordinary members pay S$50 entrance fee and $75 for subsequent memberships. Foundation, charter and fellow members are appointed by invitation of the IAS Executive Council.
The Advertising Executive Centre (AEC) is the secretariat to the institute as well as the IAA Chapter. The AEC serves as the training and education arm of the IAS. Established by a group of entrepreneurs, consisting of several members of the existing council, the Centre’s role involves the administering of courses, seminars, talks, lectures and events pertaining to the industry. It currently operates with five permanent staff.
Although it is a challenge for the IAS Executive Council to create these events, the IAS makes it a point to convince busy advertising professionals to contribute and volunteer their time.
It hasn’t been a bed of roses for the IAS over the past eleven years especially when it incurred losses a few years back. Misconceptions about the organization were fabricated. “I think there were, about two-and-a-half years ago, because it was not very active and had incurred substantial losses, and we worked very hard the last three years to clear the losses. And I think our profile is now one of the highest in the industry simply because of the events in which we involve the entire industry. We’re not separate from them. The presidents of the trade associations are governors of the IAS, so we have a relationship there, and we hope to further that relationship. The IAS is debt-free now, all the debts have been paid,” explained Mr Patrick Mowe, IAS Hon. Executive Director.
Mr Mowe’s main responsibility at the IAS is to ensure the Institute’s growth and see that the advertising professionals’ needs are served. Already in to his third retirement, when asked if he has any ambition to fulfill before he leaves, he wears a big smile and comments, “I’ve enjoyed myself so much that I’m so grateful to the ad industry for allowing me to enjoy what I do. I will leave with a lot of fond memories. But as long as I can be of service, I will try. But what I’m trying is to get some of the senior veterans to comeback and maybe try to get them interested and say that ‘All is not over yet’, and still have a purpose in the industry.”
Year 2002 will be a busy year ahead for the IAS with the following upcoming events: New York Festivals (8th March); Singapore Advertising Lecture (26th April); PAC Course (25th-28th July); Last Date for entries – Hall of Fame (16th August); Broadcast Conference (22nd-23th August); 1st Judging session – HOF (20th September); The 4th Singapore International Advertising Congress (10th-11th October); 2nd Judging session – HOF (25th October); and Hall of Fame Awards (29th November).
The IAS is located at Maxwell House in Maxwell Road. For further enquiries about events or courses phone 6220 8382. The organisation seems to be well in its stride now and had a high profile in the industry thanks to efforts of Mr Mowe and his team.
Article published in AdAsia March 2002