Advertising as a Career

Gauri Chhabra

Advertising aims to turn the good opinion of a target prospect towards a specific product or service (such as airline, banking) or a film, may be even a political party. In the absence of competition this task would be very easy and convenient. In reality this is just not the case. At the very point of time when one advertising agency is trying to capture the attention of its target audience to its product, there are many such agencies trying the same thing with the audience and a similar product. In advertising therefore, beating the competition is the ongoing challenge.
Advertising offers jobs on the Executive side or the creative side. While the executive department deals with client servicing, media planning and market research, the creative department employs copywriters and visualizes along with the scriptwriters, storyboard artists, typographers, etc.
The Executive Department
Account executive have to understand all aspects of the clients business, plan the advertising campaign, coordinate work on the campaign with the client and the various specialists working on the campaign. They are responsible for allocation of funds to the various media, for keeping within the agreed budget, and for producing detailed progress reports.
Market research is carried out before planning a campaign in order to explore possible markets for the product. Facts are compiled about the products uses, its advantages and limitations, the competitor’s products, and an analysis is made of potential customers.
Media executives study newspaper circulation statistics television audience figures, statistics on income groups, buying habits etc. On the basis of this research they suggest the media through which the advertisement is most likely to reach the greatest number of potential buyers. They negotiate the buying of advertisement time and space.
The Creative Department
Copywriters are expected to help create the advertising message. Armed with facts provided by the research department and by the client, copywriters spend a long time seeking just the right words to put across the message and create the desired image.
Scriptwriters have to plan and write television and radio commercials and for advertising films. Similar to a copy writer’s job, scriptwriters have to develop their ideas in terms of sound and visual possibilities.
Visualizes, also known as layout artists, work in conjunction with copywriters to give a graphic interpretation to an agreed campaign.
Usually agencies hire studios with professional film directors, editors and other specialists to produce the actual commercial.
Personality Traits
The work at an advertising agency is extremely varied but much of it is sheer hard toil and less glamorous than it is often reputed to be. Life in this industry is like a rat race and a tough go-head personality counts for as much as, or even more, than talent.
Some personality traits are essential for all advertising personnel whether on the executives or the creative side. A creative visual imagination, good powers of observation, insight into the interest of people, to work from all walks of life, the ability to interact, patience and perseverance, and mental and physical toughness to be able to withstand high pressure and criticism.
Market and media researchers should have an analytical and logical brain.
Visualizes should possess exceptional artistic ability too. Copywriters should be able to possess a strong feeling foe words.
For jobs on the executive side of an advertising agency diploma/degree holders in mass communication/advertising /social communication are found suitable. These courses are usually of one year or two years duration and can be taken up only after graduation in any discipline. In these courses students rare taught marketing, media planning, graphics and group campaigns with all other aspects of advertising and public relations.
MBAs with specialization in marketing also join the executive side. MBA courses can be taken up after graduation. They are usually of 2 years duration.
Postgraduates in statistics are suited for market research (quantative) while postgraduates in sociology and psychology are preferred for qualitative market research. Copywriters may be diploma holders in advertising. However, those who have a flair for words and can find the phrase or word which sums up others long-winded explanations should approach advertising agencies to appear for copywriting tests.
MBA programmes are offered by many universities in the country as well as the premier Institutes of Management, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Research, T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), IISWBM, Kolkata, to name a few.
Nowhere in the world have consumers been so responsive to advertising as in India. Over the last 2 decades consumers have become more aware of advertising than ever before. Liberalization of the economy, new products and services and proliferation of media have boosted the advertising industry in a big way.
In this scenario advertising professionals have no dearth of jobs and the remunerations depend on an individual’s capability, the size of the agency and its volume of business. Newcomers can start off in the range of 7500-15000 Rs. Per month. With promotions being linked to ability, luck and success, remunerations can multiply very fast for those with flair, creativity and go-getting instinct.
In today’s advertising clutter choosing the right media poses the biggest challenge. Media planning has emerged as the most potent tool that agencies are using to back up brilliant creative campaigns. Advertising professionals constitute the rare breed of strategic thinkers most sought after in this decade.