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A Glance at ‘Shoulds’ and ‘Shouldn’ts’ of IAA in Iran

The presence of the International Advertising Association in Iran has had many consequences for the operatives in this field. IAA is a global organization in advertising arena with three major groups as its members:

1. A group of companies active in the field of advertising;

2. Advertising clients; and

3. Media owners.

Iranian companies have been active in the organization for many years. Even in a period before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Mr. Hormozi was in charge of the management of the organization. After the culmination of the revolution, all Iranian advertising activities in the organization were discontinued.

The halt lasted almost two decades when finally few individual operatives in the field of advertising tried to join the organization as members. They attended the training courses and seminars organized by IAA which resulted in some achievements for the country in advertising industry. Now, a number of advertising operatives have established an IAA branch in the country after lots of efforts, a development that will result in many companies and agencies stand together and benefit from IAA experiences in advertising field.

Presently, a company has been registered in Iran with the IAA authorization. The operatives can elect chairmen and secretaries after registration and membership in the company. As a result, the company's founders in Iran are not necessarily members of its secretariats. No specific criteria for membership has been considered. Any individual active or interested in the field of advertising can become a member of the organization. However, the organization has different kinds of people as its members such as:

1. The youth;

2. Real persons; and

3. Legal persons that can be present in the organization

Challenges Facing International Advertising Organization

Individuals or companies operate in the field of advertising who are so called amphibians. In other words, they wear two hats depending on the circumstances. They run a media whenever necessary and when the time is right they own an agency. This is one of the blights of the advertising industry and a challenge the IAA is faced with in Iran. Certainly, such a challenge is not a new phenomenon to IAA. It usually comes to surface in some countries where the advertising industry has not reached maturity and find this to be a problem. Companies while entering IAA will not be encountered with difficulties related to the way they are categorized. Depending on their interests and priorities, they can choose their own favorite committee and start their work.

Also, the organization will not be involved in the revenue transparency of the active companies in Iran. It is mostly a place for exchange of experiences, ideas, thoughts, etc., of the operatives in advertisement arena. If the active individuals in the field come together in a place like IAA, it might be possible that they can work together better than before. The IAA performance is not like that of syndicates or trade unions. Neither does it issue business license or the like to the operatives in the advertising industry.

Creating Diversity in Advertising Industry

The more the number and variety of organizations and associations in our country the easier would be for the operatives in this field to distinguish their capability, proficiency and ability. Under these conditions, the operatives will have more options and, according to their knowledge, can choose the association and organization of their choice. The increase in the number of such organizations and associations will help to establish structure for advertising industry and a better organization. Nothing can be done single-handedly in this area and the related trade union would not be able to solve all the problems and challenges.

The IAA, trade unions and associations must stand next to the advertising companies’ trade union in order to remove the industry’s problems. In addition, unipolar action in this area ends up in some voices not be heard by others. Once all the operatives in the field were allowed to speak within the framework of such associations and organizations, we would witness a better alignment in the executive arena of the advertising industry. When the voices of the advertising agencies are not heard the same would apply to customers and there would be no listening ears to hear what they say.

Thus, a venue such as IAA will be the best place for exchange of views among the three groups that face each other in the advertising industry, while such an atmosphere does not exist in trade unions. That means the clients do not have a direct contact with the agencies. Same as the advertising companies and media agencies, the clients have their own concerns. As a result, the formation of an atmosphere in which all groups stand alongside each other will help improve the advertising industry.

In a way, IAA’s look at those involved in the field of advertising, as compared to its perspective about the trade union, due to its global experience, is wider and deeper because it has plans for both the young people who are new in the field and veterans and advertising operatives. However, IAA is an organization that is active for many years and has had dynamic presence in many countries while an association is a trade unit with its internal operatives and its look to the advertising industry is more internal.

Advertising Industry Needs Teamwork

The presence and proper activities of all organizations and trade associations are subject to the teamwork the operatives in this field must do together. Teamwork is still not properly defined in domestic advertising and that has caused slowdown of the work of organizations and associations. Domestic advertising industry is still an untapped atmosphere where anyone with any level of knowledge and expertise and poor technique and tactics can survive. The more the atmosphere is specialized and the more threats against the agencies exist, they will be more attracted to such associations or organizations. If the advertising industry operatives do not make persistent efforts to fulfill their goals, they will certainly be afflicted with ordinariness.

IAA seeks to develop a culture of advertising industry. The presence of both the trade union and IAA is beneficial to the domestic advertising industry, while none of them would harm the other. Rather, they offer better services to those active in the field of advertising when they stand alongside each other. Meanwhile, companies and operatives should spend more time to attend the trade union and IAA in order to improve the current situation. They should exploit such forums as advisory and participatory councils. Also, the operatives will learn better and will teach better. If such an atmosphere is created in advertising, we will witness a growing industry in the country.