Career in advertising

Advertising offers an extraordinarily wide range of interesting jobs and career paths, and scope for earning high salaries, says Jayanti Ghose


Advertising is defined as the creative science of arresting human intelligence long enough to generate revenue from it. While everyone has a different idea of what advertising is, the basic motive is to persuade people, usually to buy a product or a service. Sometimes an advertisement may aim to change an attitude, as for instance in a campaign against drinking and driving.
Advertising is through various media - radio, television, newspapers, magazines, Internet and multimedia. The various players in advertising are media, advertising agencies and businesses who feel the need to sell. Advertising is really a discipline about the art and science of building brands.
In the absence of competition, advertising would be convenient and boring. But the real challenge and excitement in advertising is that while one advertiser is trying to signal attention to its product, there are so many more trying to draw the attention of the same target group towards similar products through a contrary strategy.
Advertising is fast-paced and exciting, but it can also be stressful. Most people in the field work under great pressure. They are expected to produce quality ads in as short a time as possible. Sometimes they must work long hours to make last minute changes in ads and meet deadlines. Being creative on a tight schedule can be emotionally exhausting. Moreover, meeting with clients and media representatives entails substantial travel. Unlike people in many other careers, advertising workers experience the satisfaction of having their work in print, on TV, or on radio, even though they themselves remain unknown to the public.

Variety of work
It is in the bigger agencies that advertising professionals in distinctive categories can be identified. Account management links the client to the agency. Account executives meet the clients first and learn of their needs. The account management team brings business to the agency and monitors the activities of other areas to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Account managers, also known as advertising managers help combine the talents of the creative, media and research areas. They oversee in-house accounts, creative, and media services departments.
The creative department is in constant touch with the client servicing and brings the marketing idea of the client to life. A blank piece of paper soon turns into an advertisement. As the idea takes shape, the copywriters and their assistants write the word of the advertisements - the written part of print advertisement as well as the scripts of radio and television spots. Art directors and visualisers work on the visual concept and design of the advertisement. These members of the team oversee progression of the campaign from rough sketches through final production.
Media executives evaluate the best possible media in which the advertisement could target its audience. Media planners gather information on buyer habits and preferences; calculate the reach of the different media - newspapers, magazines, radio, television or Internet - and how often they are reached. Media buyers track the media space available, negotiate and purchase time and space for advertisements. They push to get the best deal for a client.
Market research is an essential aspect of an advertising agency. It is the scientific aspect of advertising. To make a campaign successful, thorough research is made into the customer's habits, likes and dislikes to get an understanding of what motivates consumers to try out products.
The production of the final advertisement for the different media requires dealing with services and supplies relating to the final shape - photographers, studios, audio and video film commercial units have to be lined up and the final version has to be approved by the client.
Personality attributes
Advertising can be a satisfying career for those men and women who enjoy variety, excitement, creative challenges and competition. Those who like to sell, influence, and direct, and who can do these things with a flair for amusing, informing or engaging their audience, have a chance at being a success in advertising.
Imagination and creativity, the ability to speak clearly and effectively, good people skills, common sense, communication skills and problem-solving skills are useful for those who wish to work in advertising. Keeping pace with technology and incorporating it are vital to success in this industry. Sensitivity to the social and cultural values and trends of the country is vital for advertising professionals in any country.
Education and training for advertising could begin at the under graduate level through a bachelor's degree in most countries. It may be focused on advertising or combined with marketing or retailing or public relations. It could be part of a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Business Administration/ Studies programme. The advertising course is usually industry-based and needs practical work with clients on real projects in an internship programme The advertising curriculum in US colleges is usually designed to provide a foundation for advancement to positions of leadership and to prepare students for entry-level positions in account management, media planning, media sales and research, as well as familiarise them with the design and conceptualisation skills necessary for careers in art direction and copy writing.
In Australian universities, the advertising programme could be through a business administration programme or a Bachelor of Arts (communication). In the UK, many universities/colleges offer a Bachelor's degree in Advertising and in Graphic Arts or allied fields for aspiring advertising professionals for both the executive and creative departments of advertising.
The Bachelor of Mass Media or Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication in Indian universities offer entry into the advertising industry in India. Canadian universities usually offer B A or B S in Communication Studies as also a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising.Market research jobs are open to post graduates in statistics, psychology and sociology as also MBAs. Master's degree programmes or MBA in Marketing or a Master of Communications Management would be the most comprehensive base on which to join the industry.
While an undergraduate communication degree with an emphasis in advertising prepares students for successful careers in advertising, direct marketing, and sales promotion, a broad liberal arts background or a bachelor's degree in sociology, psychology, literature, journalism or business administration could also lead to advertising jobs.

Advertising professionals prepare media plans and advertising strategy, write ad copy, and plan and execute campaigns. Employment of advertising graduates/ post graduates is with advertising agencies
(creative, media, digital and interactive), the media and media buying organisations, advertising and market research companies, direct response, sales promotion and other marketing consultancies. Graphic designers or artists are also employed with all the advertising agencies.
Entry is competitive for graphic artists and copy writers, but a strong portfolio of work developed through persistence and hard work helps one get recognised. Those who are good will gain more responsibilities and earn better salaries.
Those with a postgraduate qualification in advertising would be able to enter the industry at a higher level. They would also enjoy better scope for advancement and growth. MBAs are able to take up media planning, account management, market research department of an advertising agency at the executive level. However,
graduates working in the industry may pursue professional certifications from industry associations in the country where they are located and enjoy the same prospects.
TBWA/Worldwide, Saatchi and Saatchi, Publicis, Grey Advertising, J Walter Thomp-son, Leo Burnett, Lowe Lintas, Ogilvy & Mather and Euro RSCG are among the globally well-known advertising companies/ groups. The ability to communicate in a foreign language is likely to open up wider employment opportunities. Advertising offers an extraordinarily wide range of interesting jobs and career paths, and scope for earning high salaries. As an industry, advertising employs more people performing and producing innovative and creative work than any other occupation.
Jayanti Ghose is a career and education consultant who regularly contributes to several leading publications. Her research in the area of career counselling and guidance spans two decades. She can be contacted at

Imagination, creativity, ability to speak clearly and effectively, good people skills, common sense, communication and problem-solving skills are useful tools for those who wish to work in the advertising field

Career in advertising
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