Advertising, to put it simply, is the promotion of a product or a service to an audience. There are many different ways that this could be done – through the media in TV, print, radio and online. In outdoor advertising. With an experiential campaign where members of the public come into direct contact with what you’re trying to sell. The options are endless, and in a world where it is increasingly hard to get brand messages heard, creativity is key in this industry.
Most jobs in advertising are within advertising agencies. These companies can be large, internationally renowned agencies, such as M&C Saatchi, or small, independent operations with only a handful of employees. It is also not uncommon for people with a good reputation within the industry to work on a self-employed, freelance basis as well.
Advertising agencies are hired by companies to create and execute advertising campaigns for them, at which point the company becomes a client of the agency.
Advertising offers a broad scope of roles to consider:
Account planners devise the marketing ideas behind an advertising campaign that has been commissioned by a client
Account handlers look after the relationship with the client, acting as a face, or representative, of the company.
Media planners choose the best places, or channels, for a campaign to be seen within the media.
A copywriter is someone who writes the copy for promotional activity, be it a leaflet, a poster, or a script for a TV advert.
An art director oversees the images, or art, relating to an advertising campaign. They devise the look and feel of a project, creating the visual concept around it.
Creativity and innovation are two characteristics that are valued highly within the world of advertising, but being organised is also an important skill to have if possible. Good communication skills and an eye for detail are also a must.
How to get into it
A degree qualification is usually a standard requirement for advertising, and work experience is a major advantage. Apply for internships, and when in them, ensure you network and build up a contacts book.
Many ad agencies run graduate schemes, and they normally start the recruitment process for these at the beginning of the new academic year, i.e. around September/October for a start in the summer of the following year.
Qualifications and experience
A degree is usually required, and work experience is a major advantage.
Degrees that are directly related to this industry are advertising, marketing, communications, journalism and arts-based degrees.
It isn’t a necessity to have a vocational or media-based degree, however. Academic degrees in a vast range of subjects are also viewed positively; it is a person’s creative vision that is most highly valued by an employer.
Helpful places to gain work experience are in ad agencies themselves, or within the media in general. Working at a local radio station may help you gain experience in writing scripts, jingles or adverts, for instance.
Most art directors have a degree or qualifications from an art school. They’ll be trained in the necessary software, such as Photoshop, and InDesign. To gain a job in this field, candidates will also need to provide a portfolio with examples of work to prospective employers.
Starting salaries usually sit at about £18,000, while senior positions such as Art Directors can expect to earn around the £100,000 mark.
Advertising Association, 7th Floor North, Artillery House, 11-19 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RT. 020 7340 1100. Websites: www.adassoc.org.uk
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Moor Hall, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 9QH. 01628 427120. Website: www.cim.co.uk
Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM Foundation), Moor Hall, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 9QH. 01628 427120. Website: www.camfoundation.com
Creative and Cultural Skills, 4th Floor, Lafone House, The Leathermarket, Weston Street, London SE1 3HN. 020 7015 1800. Websites: www.creative-choices.co.uk
The Design and Art Directors Association (D&AD), 9 Graphite Square, Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5EE. 020 7840 1111. Website: www.dandad.org
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), 44 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QS. 020 7235 7020. Website: www.ipa.co.uk
Media Circle, 1st Floor, 115 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 0AX. 020 7367 6981. Website: www.mediacircle.org
The Media Research Group. Website: www.mrg.org.uk