IPA Campaign Planning Chairs announced

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Planners need to focus on the outcomes they create, not the output they make

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sophie Price & Anuj MehraSophie Price and Michelle Katz to chair IPA Campaign Planning Course Sydney, 26 - 28 March and Anuj Mehra to chair Melbourne, 2 - 4 April

In 2017, planners need to pivot out of the fragmented view they have of their brands and campaigns. They need to be able to stitch discrete campaign thinking, zooming in and out, and ultimately, develop a ‘T-shaped’ skillset.

That is the view of industry leaders, who have responded by shaping this year’s agenda for The Communications Council’s 2017 IPA Campaign Planning Course appropriately, placing this new knowledge at the centre of the three-day residential learning experience.

How ideas have evolved in the digital and experience economy, building brands in the digital age and the increasing importance of collaboration are among the key topics to be explored this year. The course will be headed up once again by UM chief strategy officer Sophie Price in Sydney, with Optus director of brand and communications Michelle Katz as co-chair. In Melbourne, GTB head of strategy Anuj Mehra will take the lead.

The IPA Campaign Planning Course is noted for its informative and interactive speaker sessions with renowned industry leaders as well as its project briefs where delegates work in groups.

Of this year’s agenda, Price said: “Technology continues to have a dramatic effect on how people live, not least the way they interact with and judge brands. This is having profound implications for planners in agencies who are increasingly required to adopt and understand a diverse range of strategic skills; creative, brand, connections, digital, social, PR, Data, CX, business planning strategy skills etc. The Communications Council’s 2017 IPA Campaign Planning Course has been designed to build the knowledge required to become a ‘holistic’, T-shape planner in today’s modern marketing world.”

GTB’s Mehra added: “It is no secret that the strategy discipline has become hyper-specialised in recent times. One of the most debilitating side effects of specialisation has been the abdication of strategists to be active in the specialist areas, leaving it to someone else. For example, a ‘social media strategist’ has very little knowledge of the nuanced skills of qualitative research, a ‘creative strategist’ on the other hand has little exposure to ‘planning earned media campaigns’.

“This reductive view of strategy has unfortunately led to a ‘de-skilling’ of the strategy planner. The Communications Council’s 2017 IPA Campaign Planning Course is a delicious smorgasbord of diverse strategic perspectives, designed to ensure we are raising strategists with a fish-eyed view, independent of their specialisation.”

The three-day residential course runs in Sydney from 26 - 28 March and in Melbourne from 2 - 4 April. It is highly recommended for planners, account managers and relevant media professionals with two to six years experience who are seeking to expand their cutting edge thinking.

Course speakers for Sydney include:

  • Maria Grivas, chief digital officer, UM Australia
  • David Hartmann, head of strategy, Special Group
  • Fabio Buresti, executive planning director, The Monkeys
  • Angela Morris, executive planning director, JWT Australia
  • Simon Joyce, CEO/founder, Emotive Content
  • Justin Graham, chief strategy officer, M&C Saatchi Australia
  • Carl Ratcliff, chief executive officer, One Green Bean
  • Ben Hourahine, strategy partner, AnalogFolk
  • Craig Adams, strategy director, Naked Communications and co-founder, Good For Nothing Sydney
  • Jamie Mackay, founding partner & chief strategy officer, BWM Dentsu

...and for Melbourne the line-up will feature:

  • Alex Wood, strategy director, DT
  • David Dahan, managing director, M&C Saatchi
  • James Greet, chief media officer, Cummins & Partners
  • Pieter-Paul Von Weiler, strategy director, AJF Partnership
  • Craig Adams, strategy director, Naked Communications and co-founder, Good For Nothing Sydney


The Communications Council CEO Tony Hale commented: “Strong strategic skills set good planners apart from mere mortals, but it’s no longer enough. Technology has driven the growth of specialist planning skills, leaving some strategic planners behind. This year’s IPA Campaign Planning course, taught by top-of-their-game industry professionals, offers completely updated content for 2017 to address this issue. We would strongly encourage our members to seriously consider how this course will propel them forward to become the most useful person in the room.”

More information about all IPA courses in Australia

2017 IPA Campaign Planning Course Chairs:

SOPHIE PRICE, Chief Strategy Officer, UM Australia

Sophie Price is the Chief Strategy Officer of UM Australia and Vice Chair of the APG. She is one of Australia’s most experienced and awarded planners, having worked at creative agencies including The Campaign Palace and The Monkeys and now with her second national role at UM.

Sophie’s brand and connection planning capabilities combined with strong planning/creative relationships has resulted in some of Australia’s most famous and effective campaigns in recent years. Her work won two Cannes Lions and Grand Prix awards from the Australian Effies and the Media Federation of Australia (MFA).

ANUJ MEHRA, Head of Strategy, GTB Australia

Anuj Mehra is the Head of Strategy at GTB Australia and Chair of the APG in Melbourne.

His unique integrated marketing skillset has helped create breakthrough work for some of the world’s biggest brands including Unilever, Ford, De Beers and Nestle. His cache of awards includes the Grand Prix at the Jay Chiat Planning awards, Cannes Lions and Effies in Asia, India and Australia.