Seven Reasons to Have a Career in Advertising

Matt Weiss of McCann Erickson Worldwide wrote this…I worked at McCann Worldwide for 17 years and with McCann I traveled the world literally so I added my two cents to his article.

Everyone loves to hate the advertising industry. The TV show “Mad Men” portrays the heyday of advertising as a men’s club of gin-swilling, secretary-exploiting, self-satisfied white men who live in Connecticut and work in a bubble surrounded by dim-witted, loyal clients. My mother loves this show.

Matt works for and I worked for the agency which produces work for Intel, MasterCard, the U.S. Army, Verizon Wireless, L’Oreal, Staples, Weight Watchers and other leading global advertisers.

Advertising might not be as exciting as Man vs. Wild or the NFL playoffs, but it does provide a career path that is more stimulating than Wall Street or the law or many white collar professions.

I love advertising because it is a unique combination of art, creativity, mathematics, industrial psychology, marketing, media and a host of other disciplines.

Here are seven reasons to jump into a career in advertising:

1) You can get a film deal. OK, we are both exaggerating here, but only slightly. The creative environment of advertising does provide a career path to Hollywood for dozens of writers and directors every year, from Michael Bay to the guys who directed the “Cavemen” spots for Geico. Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, my ex boss Phil Dusenberry who wrote the Natural all were great advertising directors.

Fincher Coke TVC when I first came to Japan

I think the best advertising is better than most of the movies and TV shows out there, and you can get paid accordingly. Until you can write screenplays for Steve Carrell or create the next “South Park,” you’ll be having more fun than should be legal.

2) Be the next Steve Jobs. The crazy-ass idea you have for faxing burgers or filling up your car online might just happen tomorrow. The world of advertising, media, the Internet and technology is changing so fast that no one can predict what will happen next month, let alone 10 years from now. You can change the world. (And it beats changing diapers.)

3) Be an outlaw. Renegade thinking and behavior is rewarded. Are you quirky and full of weird ideas? Are you innovative, prone to breaking rules, and feel you always see the world differently than your friends and colleagues? You’ll fit in perfectly at an ad agency.
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Lee Clow of TBWA
4) This is not your parents’ career. Advertising is a youthful business, for people in their 20s and 30s. Your youth is valuable because you are talking to your peers. You can text your friends in a meeting and it will be cool. Well almost lee Clow is close to 65 and he is still creating great work…perhaps in his head he is 20?

5) You’ll never be bored. You actually get paid to surf the net, look at YouTube, talk about “the Office,” diss Britney and Paris, and discuss “American Idol.” You’re involved in every aspect of popular culture. You’ll think on your feet. Your lawyer friends will be sick with envy. You will never have to attend a conference in Brussels.

6) Leave the suits at your parents’ house. The uniform for creatives is t-shirt and jeans. Even the “suits”—the account people—don’t wear suits any more, because they are expected to be an integral part of the creative process. In the summer, you can even wear sandals or flip flops. And there are keg parties on Fridays. Seriously.

7) You’ll be on TV. Your work will be in the world. Your Mom, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your posse, your kids, they will all see what you do. If it’s good work, people will be talking about your work on the subway, on blogs, on TV, in USA Today.. Advertising isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, but it makes an impact. You can be a player. And you’ll never have to wear plaid pants or go near a golf course.

Lee Clow is one of my favorite Ad Men…his agency is TBWA and their office is every ad man’s dream. Conference rooms with surf boards for tables. a real basketball court in the lobby and they do creative work for clients like Apple.
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TBWA in LA

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5 thoughts on “Seven Reasons to Have a Career in Advertising

  1. I think that the ads and TV commercials in the US are really inferior to those seen in other countries. I agree with you about the marketing potential and the career opportunities that advertising brings on.

  2. unbelievable but I think the best are from Brazil and Thailand…they are usually quite clever and often very funny…at the Cannes advertising awards over the past ten years have won top honors several times including global agency of the year for ALMAP/BBDO. Marcel Serpa is the creative director there and a friend…he is so clever.

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