Before the age of digital, Advertising was a glamorous industry to be apart of. If you were able to get a job at one of the agencies that had large, tier 1 accounts, you’d have big budgets, big timelines and sometimes…big perks.
Those days however, are long, long, long gone. The age of digital came upon us only to be followed by recession upon recession. Since then, there has been a decrease in the amount of employees that are expected to execute double the amount of work. The industry, to say the least, drastically changed. You see the thing with digital, is that it needs to be conceptualized, wire-framed, designed, written, approved, built (which can take months), QA’d, reviewed, QA’d, reviewed, revised, QA’d, and then approved. But no one wants to give it the time it needs to be developed. It is a wonderful, fast paced, highly innovative, under-respected (what’s that all about?) part of everything advertisers now do.
Now, before reading this please note a few things. #1 I really like my job. #2 I really like my new clients.
A. Account Service – Working in accounts in adverting is a very humbling profession. Yes, there are some awesome perks – sometimes you get tickets to fun things and you get to execute really cool innovative things. Plus people often think that what you do (for lack of a better word) is cool. That said, working as a ‘suit’ in advertising, you may as well get a permanent tattoo of ‘bitch’ stamped on your forehead. Because until you have CEO in your title, creatives and clients alike will try to walk all over you.
B.1 Budgets – Just because the budget that was allotted to your agency was cut in half from the previous year, that doesn’t mean that you can deliver half the work. Instead you are expected to deliver the same, if not more executions this year.
B.2 Booze – Yes booze! Having a drink at lunch is ok! Booze is often served on Fridays. Working hungover is allowed/expected. As long as you get your stuff done…no one really cares.
C.1. Clients – They say ‘jump’. You say ‘how high’. The days of Don Draper’s controlling timelines and deliverables are completely out the window. Now, if the client asks you to perform a magic trick while walking on a tight rope 5 minutes ago, it is your responsibility to find a time machine, kidnap Merlin and take circus lessons. Air dates don’t get changed just because what they ask is impossible. It’s your job to make the impossible possible.
C.2. Coordinator – One underpaid person expected to do the work of three.
C.3 Creatives – the talent. The product and commodity we sell. Some creatives are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. However, in some agencies, creative teams are allowed to act like complete and total a-holes. Temper tantrums, horrendous emails and bullying is permitted and accepted because they are ‘creative’. Hence the term, creative cry-baby. Forgive me, but I thought we were working with colleagues, not children.
D.1 Digital – Just because digital is king, doesn’t mean that the client believes this. It does not matter to them that it takes weeks/months to build a website. Until that TV spot is perfect, they will not want you to move on anything else. Does it matter that the TV team was given 6 months to get a TV spot correct and the digital team is only given 4 weeks to execute the remaining 80% of the campaign? Nope. Doesn’t at all.
D.2 Deadlines – Realistic or not, no matter how many times the client has pushed approving that TV spot. All executions are expected and mandated to maintain the same delivery date. Yikes.
All that said, Advertising is challenging. It is thrilling. It is creative. It is rewarding. It teaches you to thicken up your skin and it is a great way to spend your professional time.
If you can survive working in advertising, you can survive working ANYWHERE!