Breaking into Advertising
Breaking Into Advertising
by Helen Borel, Ph.D.
Now that you know you must get on staff at an ad agency if you want to be paid for your writing or graphic talents for campaign concepts you are creating (see my hub "Freelance Ad Writing," subtitle "Freelance Ad Creation: for Client or Agency?"), here are some tips that could help you break into this exciting field of work - where artists and writers are paid well every day for work they love to do.
If you've never worked in an ad agency, let me tell you it can be quite exciting work and you get to meet all kinds of interesting people (read, "characters"). Here are some tips to get yourself ready for job interviews at ad agencies:
As a creative person, if you have some terrific ideas, and you're a graphic artist, do some rough drawings with suggested headlines and proposed content for body copy (the paragraphs under the headline). Do a number of these - create ads - on various types of products or services, say about 6 to 10 different campaign concepts.
Buy a portfolio in which you will put the graphic renderings with their headlines and suggested body copy. And bring this demonstrative portfolio, along with your resume to the interviews, preferably with Creative Directors. ("Human Resources" people are the last personality types to understand creative personalities or the concepts you are displaying in your book. So steer clear of them whenever possible. You'll meet them to fill out the necessary employment forms once the Creative Director decides he or she wants you on board.)
You'll want to call each agency in advance to find out who the Creative Director (full name) is on the accounts you wish to work on. As an artist, you'll want to see the Art Director or Creative Director-Art.
Follow the same procedure if you are a writer. To interview for an advertising copywriter job, get your portfolio ready as above, with a few differences relative to writing skills.
Unlike the graphic artist, you can clip out pictures - from 4/C (4-color = full color as opposed to 2/C = black/white + one color) magazines - that have a direct relationship to your copy concept. Print your headline in LARGE UPPER CASE LETTERS on white paper that fits the size of the page-sleeves of your new portfolio.
Then, write some fantastic body copy to explicate your headline (campaign) concept, type this up, with boldface subheads where needed. Remember, the headline, usually in the fewest words, sometimes only one word, should say everything about the product or service necessary to grab the reader's attention if he/she is quickly flipping through the periodical and not reading the body copy at all. Memorable. An idea tied uniquely to the product or service you are selling.
So, even if the reader doesn't buy it right now, remembering this captivating idea (of yours) about it can assure customers will buy it in the future. (Often, customers "buy" the product or service because of a great ad campaign's compelling invitation to do so, not because they otherwise would. And once they try the product or service, only then will they buy it for what the product or service actually does for them.)
The wanna-be copywriter should create 7 to 10 campaigns on different kinds of products and services, making sure the headlines are exceptionally enticing and give a rapid idea (to a page-flipper) what a product/service is about. And, even though many readers may not read the body copy of ads, the Creative Director interviewing you for a writer's job definitely will. Make it superb. Make every word count. Nothing extraneous. Pull it tight as a drum. Use humor or puns for appropriate subjects. But use puns deftly and surgically, where they allow multiple meanings while using an economy of words, particularly in your HEADLINES.
And Good Luck with your interviews. As time goes on and you find yourself working in an ad agency, you will accumulate fully produced and published examples of your work. Then, you will be able to discard (or move to the back of the book some of your early ideas that are exceptional) these initial work samples - and replace them with actual work done for actual clients. That is, for future interviews, when you are moving on up to other challenging ad agency jobs.
For any creativity questions, write me: firstname.lastname@example.org
For emotional health information related to Self-Growth and relationships, as well as to the unique issues artistic personalities face, please visit my hub group PSYCH NEW YORK at: http://hubpages.com/hub/PSYCH-NEW-YORK
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