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Advertising isn’t just pretty pictures

So you want to work in advertising?

As someone who’s worked as a ‘suit’ (account management) for the last 8 years or so in adland, I want to give you a real life run down of what it’s actually like.

It’s actually a lot of fun.

Day to day life in an advertising agency is pretty fun. Picture an open plan office, filled with unexplained memes, good looking eccentric people and alcohol, and that’s my office. Everyday. And they’re all the same. Even the ones that say they’re different are the same.

Junior burgers.

You will enter the industry at this level and feel like the most littlest, insignificant thing going around. But that’s ok. Pipe up too much and you will rub the seniors the wrong way. Learn. Absorb. Just do your job and do it well.

Making ads is pretty sweet!

You see them on the TV, at a bus stop, online, even in your feed. They don’t just appear there for no god damn reason. EVERYTHING IS CONSIDERED, and you are part of its process. You are seeing it because the client wants you to be aware of their product. And more often than not, the idea was clever, the shoot was fun to work on and the execution of the campaign and the relationships with your client, media, creative and production were enjoyable to be around. And whilst the client may have butchered the idea to something different to what it was original pitched in as, you get to tell your friends and family that you made that ad. And they will look at you like you’re so clever and ask a lot of questions, because they just don’t understand your industry.

Fridays are always considerate.

They are always just that little bit quieter than a normal day. Less client emails. Longer lunches. Friday is in the air. You still work hard and have the same daily doings, but there is something about Fridays that actually just feels like a Friday. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you have anxiety, sort it out.

Closed door conversations means something is going on in the agency and it’s best to not let that affect you. 95% of the time, it’s not about you. 5% it is, and sometimes it good. So just let it happen. Spending your time worrying about why someone has left the room when they’ve answered they’re mobile is not healthy and can really affect how you work.

Creatives are like kittens.

Or puppies. Or a soufflé. If you don’t look after them and give them the love and attention they need, they will mess you up. They are very good at blaming the brief for being wrong, the client for not knowing what they want and you for not being on their side. You need to have balls. You need to be able to hold your ground and back yourself. Having a good relationship with creative means for a good day. Dreading briefing a team because you know you know they’re going to kick up a stink makes for a bad day. My tip, learn how they work and surprise them with treats.

Do it for the right reasons.

Results driven vs awards driven. Too often, ideas are pitched to clients that stink of chasing awards. If you go in with results as your personal objective, you will have a better relationship with your client, which is just so important. When your boss receives an email from your client saying ‘X is doing a great job’, you will score you a bunch of points internally.

Be prepared to work late.

And on the weekends. It’s not always like this, but sometimes you just got to get the work done. But being productive and efficient helps eliminate that. Sometimes there’s a ‘culture’ where people just stay until the boss goes. Get your work done and go home I say. There’s always something more to do and having a life outside the agency will actually keep you sane and interesting.

So, if you like the sound of that, get on board. It’s just like any job I suppose, but you get to see your work on the TV, and sometimes you’re treated like a rockstar.


Advertising Account Director in Melbourne


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