How many times have you watched a commercial and said: ‘I could do better than that’? How many times have you passed by a billboard and found yourself commenting on the use of colour, model or product. Advertising is an area that many people have an opinion on, but only a small percentage of these commentators follow on these opinions with study and specialisation in this area.
So, which group do you fall into? The couch commentator or the person who professionally wants to play a part in delivering promotions to the public. An advertiser usually hires an advertising agency or a professional freelancer to help them identify prospective customers, create the advertising, buy the broadcast (television, radio) time and print space (magazine, newspaper, and outdoor) to carry the advertising work that consumers see in order to sell their product.
First things first, you have to be creative, articulate, confident and have that ‘outside of the box thinking’ – depending on which section of the advertising business you want to specialise in. If the creative side of advertising is not you – and if you don’t see yourself as a copywriter, a creative director or art director; there are plenty of other types of people involved in a successful ad campaign that don’t actually create the ads. Account executives, traffic managers, media co-ordinators, media directors, researchers and other ‘non-creatives’ work in the advertising industry. These people are just as crucial to a client’s successful ad campaign as the creatives who develop the campaign’s concept. For example: as an account executive, your role is to liaise between the client and the creative department.
At the end of the day, advertising is salesmanship. It can make the difference between business success and failure. It is a cost-efficient way of telling buyers what is for sale and what the product’s features are. Advertising is art and science, show-business and just plain business, all rolled into one. And it employs some of the brightest and most creative economists, researchers, artists, producers, writers, and business people in the country today.
It is well known, that an advertising campaign can make or break a company/product. Think Hunky Dorys, some years ago they ran a serees of ads featuring scantily clad women in GAA colours – even those who weren’t into the product talked about an advertising campaign that captured attention, imagination and controversy. That campaign garnered phenomenal amount of free editorial and radio time for the product – what every advertising agency wants to ensure client satisfaction.
Breaking into the business isn’t easy. Most jobs in advertising require a college degree. Internships and related work experience can be helpful. Retail selling experience is also excellent preparation.
There are a number of colleges and course providers that you can turn to, in order to break into this competitive world:
The ICI Advertising program designed in conjunction with industry leaders helps you learn the skills you need to succeed in advertising/marketing quickly and conveniently. This is a Distance Learning course which will help you fast track your career into the Advertising Industry
The Communications and Management Institute run part-time diploma programmes offering nationally and internationally recognised awards. The Diploma in Marketing, Public Relations, Sales and Advertising is a highly rewarding course which is designed for individuals with no prior experience in these areas. It is also suited to marketing, public relations, sales or advertising executives who wish to upgrade their qualifications. It is an excellent choice for anybody interested in adding new skills and qualifications to their CV or who wish for a career change or to gain employment. 84% of graduates have gained employment or a promotion as a result of doing the course. Unlike standard courses, this course has double accreditation and successful graduates will receive an International ICM Diploma in Marketing, PR, Advertising & Sales and a national Marketing Communications FETAC level 6 Component Award.
There are also a number of CAO courses, where Advertising forms part of the programme. One of these is the four year program on offer at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght. The BA (Honours) in Advertising and Marketing Communications is an Honours Degree (NFQ level 8). The content has been designed after in-depth consultation with industry leaders and academic advisors in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Yes, it’s true, you can make a lot of money working in advertising but not everyone makes the cut! A majority of people working in the field started at the bottom rung of the ladder, interning for free, possibly even making minimum wage just to get their start in the industry. Remember, you might not get that office with a view, straight away.
Having a qualification in advertising could take you into many different fields and exciting careers apart from working for Advertising agencies. You could also gain employment in Public relations agencies, Marketing departments or perhaps work in-house for a magazine or retail chain.
The advertising Industry is one of the most exciting industries to work in – provided of course, that you stand the test of time to make it into your area of interest, and perhaps to a prestigious office with that all-important view!