Companies who want to advertise their products or initiatives will often go to an advertising agency for help. The agency then conducts research, plans and creates adverts on their behalf. Advertising agencies use a variety of different media (TV, radio, billboards, websites or viral campaigns, for example) to persuade an audience to buy things or take certain actions. Many advertising agencies offer an integrated advertising service while some smaller agencies specialise in niche areas, such as digital or online advertising.
Those going into advertising could work in a number of areas. Account handling, planning and management professionals are responsible for research, strategy, administration and client relationships. Account handlers look after various client accounts simultaneously, acting as the client’s first point of contact with the agency, and liaising with other internal departments to coordinate the advertising activities: conducting meetings, giving presentations and managing all the administrative work surrounding specific campaigns.
Jobs in account management
An account manager job is the next step up from being an account handler, managing the account handlers, taking responsibility for client budgets, researching new business opportunities and leading pitches for new business.
Advertising account planners develop ideas that will solve their client’s problems. This intricate research and planning work will eventually be consolidated into a detailed ‘brief’, which the creative team uses as a guide when creating innovative and effective adverts.
On the other side of advertising are creative teams and people working in art direction and copywriting. Creative teams dream up the ‘big ideas’, then art directors and copywriters put them all into action. Typically, the creative team will work closely with the account handlers and planners. They will be presented with the problem or brief and be tasked with coming up with an imaginative solution.
The next step involves working closely with the art director and copywriters to turn this solution into life. Art directors are responsible for directing the look, feel and design of the proposed advert. Copywriters, meanwhile, are in charge of the words: coming up with scripts, slogans and other persuasive bits of text.
Digital advertising jobs
Another area of the sector is digital advertising. Those working in this side of things have a good knowledge of the internet, but also know what advertising campaigns work, and what gets results. They are also required to juggle budgets, work to tight deadlines and make important decisions on where best to place adverts on the web.
School leavers with A-levels could access this industry via a Higher Apprenticeship, training in roles like creative service, client service and advertising account executive.
School leavers could also look at the advertising-related courses on offer at further education college and university.