Thursday, February 16, 2012

Career Opportunities in Advertising

Advertising involves the process wherein a message is designed so as to promote a product, a thought, an idea or even a service. The concept of advertising has assumed a dynamic form with the use of the various mediums of communication. From the newspapers, magazines, posters, neon and fluorescent signboards, billboards to the commercials on TV advertising has come a long way. The work is formidable as it spearheads a process intended to attract, modify, change and influence public opinion. From the local business to the multinational firm all need to advertise.
While politicians, social organizations, government special groups need to advertise their motto, national airlines, automobile manufacturers, food and consumer goods manufacturers have to reach the consumer. Styles for advertising vary. Specialist products and services are often advertised through trade magazines and exhibitions. Handbill circulation, special offers have become very popular.
There are still other ways of advertising. There are window displays, display on telephone directories, transit signs on buses, rickshaws, lamp posters, banners, etc.
Advertising, as an effective medium, uses a variety of techniques to create effective advertisements. A basic appeal is at the heart of advertising. Slogans and product characters are created to catch the attention of the viewers. Most winning advertisements would encompass factual information with emotional appeal.
The advertising industry has three major sectors.
·         The business organization who wishes to advertise
·         The media who provide the medium for advertising and the ad-agency which creates the ad to suit the needs of the firm
·         The description of the process which an ad goes through in its creation and the people who make this possible has been described in the next section.
The link, between the client who wishes to advertise and the media where the ad appears, is the ad agency where the ad is created. Various skills are required in the preparation of an ad-from identifying the purpose of the ad and the clients need the identification of media, the creative inputs, to the verbal catch phrases all needs skill and expertise. Hence the people in an ad agency are specialists. They are the Account executive and the Account planner in the client servicing departments, the media executives and planners who buy space in the media and the creative executives or the copywriters and visual producers who create the ad.
Accounts Executives
In advertising 'the account' is the client. The business of each client with the agency is referred to as an account. An ad agency handles assignments of a number of clients. A client's business is assigned to a team of people from the ad agency with the Account Executive at the head of the team. An Account Executive may be handling the business of a number of non-competing clients at the same time. The Account
Executive supervises his team of people drawn from all departments while planning, scheduling and executing the assignment. Before a campaign is launched research on the client’s business methods; the product to be advertised is made. With this background information there is a meeting of the creative media and marketing divisions along with members of the client's team. The objective of this meeting is to define the use of the product, and the target users as well as other competing brands. After all the information is assimilated the agency team prepares a draft brief with recommendations. These are presented to the client by the Account Executive. The brief and budget are discussed and after finalization the work begins.
The Account Executive motivates guides and coordinates the activities so that deadlines are met and the 
He spends a lot of time keeping the client updated on the progress. The Agency's Director too has to be kept informed. This is done directly in smaller firms but in larger firms there may be an Account Planner or Director.
Account Planner/Director
The Account Planner is the main planning executive who works in partnership with the client on long term account planning. He knows what is happening in the market place, the attitude of the consumer towards the client's as well as the competitor's brands.
Media Executives
The main task of the media executive is to place the advertisements where they will be seen by the right target audience keeping the budget in mind. Hence this job requires planning, research and buying space in the press or time for commercial radio and television.
In large agencies this task may be allocated to two or three different specialists. There may be media planners and media buyers. In small agencies the task may be handled by the same person.
Media planner has access to up-to-date information about each advertising medium. This includes the readership and circulation figures for newspapers and magazines, viewing figures for different times of the day, listening audience figures for commercial radio stations, etc. They are also aware of the various locations for hoardings and bill boards.
Working on the brief from the media executive and using some or all the above media sources, the planner creates a detailed media plan, showing which media are to be used, when, and the costs involved in each for each medium to maximum appeal for the target group. It is through the selection of the right media that a good media department can save large advertisers money as well as give credibility.
Media buyers buy advertising time space-farther agency's client. They work closely with the media planner if the two functions are often carried out separately. Television and newspaper advertising are expensive.
The media buyer's expertise is in negotiating the best possible deal for the client. The commercial breaks with the most viewers are the most expensive and so also the newspapers and magazines with the highest circulation figures. There is severe competition for the most popular slots. Hence besides a lot of negotiating, the job entails detailed record keeping of transactions and calculations to ensure that a campaign stays within the stipulated budget.
Creative Copywriter and Art Director
Copywriting and visual art work go hand in hand and this is the work which goes on in the agency's creative department. The real ad is created here by the creative team. Briefs from the Account Executive outlining the target group for the advertisement and information about the product, followed by discussions with the account planner, along with research material, and perhaps a meeting with the client put the creative department to work.
Copywriting involves providing words which are read or heard in advertisements. This may include slogans or jingles or detailed text for catalogues, brochures, leaflets and journals. Copy writing also takes the form of scripts for television and film commercial advertisement.
The essential skill of the Copywriter lies in interpreting and understanding the mind and needs of the target audience and the characteristics of the product. They must identify what it is that would make people want or need the product being promoted.
The Art Director and the Copywriter together then work on an idea that should catch the attention of the public and put the selling point of the product across.
Many ads are discarded, reincarnated and created. The final product is a team effort of the copywriter and art director with each having suggested alterations to the other.
The more successful creations are then shown to the creative director who in turn may suggest further modifications. Final drawings are then produced and shown to the client. Once-the client accepts the concept the layout is modified and the details filled in.
The design and copy is sent to the production team for typesetting, photographs and drawings for printing.
Agency Director
Media Buyers/Planners
Understand the needs of the client.
Accounts Executive
• Studies the needs of the clients, the product and identifies target audience
• Calls joint meetings of Accounts, media and creative departments with the client
• Coordinates the work of all departments keeping the client informed Creative Department
• Copywriters and Visualizers (Art Director/Artists) discuss the form, Mode. And presentation of the ad
• Create the ad
• Consult with the Account executive and client the proposed a Media representatives, Newspaper offices, TV channels, other medium owner’s a lot time space for the ad.
·         Production units, Typographers,
·         Photographers, TV
·         Producers, etc., produce the ad as per specifications advertisements or filming for television commercials.
Ad Agencies may have their production team which includes Photographers, Printers, Typesetters, Television Producers, etc. But since the work is very diverse most ad agencies coordinate with freelancers established production units for the task to be completed.
Ad Agencies are based within office settings. Accounts Executives, Account Planners, Media Executives, Art Directors and Copywriters spend Most of their working time in agency offices. Account Executives have to travel extensively, visiting clients and suppliers. While staff, travel occidental to attend meetings with clients, or visit locations during film production. Ad Agencies are very busy places and often work is on till late hours.
People in the accounts or client servicing, i.e., the Account Executive, Director and Planner need to be adept at negotiating. The ability to communicate easily is vital. They face the challenge of competing in the market with other agencies; hence need to have driven determination and tremendous physical and mental stamina. Sensitivity to consumer behavior, trends and human nature are important for success in advertising. They should be able to assimilate the client’s requirements and in a lucid style prepare briefs for other departments. The ability to get along with others and get the work executed by all departments is specially required.
Media Executives, Planners and Buyers must enjoy working with others in an integrated team. They should be able to interpret and absorb a great deal of information.
Media buyers spend most of their time negotiating over the telephone to buy space or time. Attention to detail is needed and they should be able to keep a careful record of all transactions. Numerical ability is needed for keeping to the budget allocated.
The creative people need a good visual ability, language/ artistic skill. Copywriters require literary ability but an interest in commercial success which comes from understanding what motivates the target audience is important;
Writers must be able to work, to a strict brief, within restricted space and in limited time. Advertising must follow legal requirements and rules hence considerable creative self-discipline is needed. Afeeling for words, economy of style and imagination are needed.
The Copywriter works with the art director, and the creative director. The work can be very frustrating particularly when an idea is rejected by the art director or amendments made by the creative director and the client. This can often restrict the imaginative capacity of the copywriter. The openness to stand criticism is absolutely essential.
The client servicing is generally handled by post graduates in Business Management. The job needs business skills; hence graduates from any stream with some training in business administration are generally preferred. An advertising qualification too is useful. The creative people, particularly the visualizers i.e., the Art Director and his team are selected from Art Schools or Design Institutes.
Bachelor of Applied Art course teaches the prospective creative artist the use of mediums like photography, graphics, and visual communication. Courses in Mass communication are also useful. .
Media Planners and Buyers have to be acquainted with the various mediums, price, etc.
The production people come from Art Schools and film and TV Training Institutions. The field of advertising is open to students who have passed from Art schools, Management Schools, Design Schools, graduates from reputed institutes with a rich curricular record and those from advertising courses or mass communication courses. Here you will find courses in Advertising. Readers can refer to the relevant courses in the areas mentioned in other relevant chapters of this book.

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