Myth: Advertising is an unethical and dishonorable profession.
Working in advertising is, in fact, a very respected profession. Unfortunately, there are those that think because you are trying to sell something through advertising that you’re trying to trick or deceive the public.
Advertising actually follows very specific rules that ensure all advertising messages are on the up and up. The last thing an advertising agency wants to do is to harm their client’s reputation by producing materials that could be misconstrued as deceptive advertising.
Myth: Everyone in advertising makes a fortune.
Yes, it’s true, you can make a lot of money working in advertising but not everyone is making six figures. 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.
Just as with any profession, in advertising you pay your dues and you work your way up. What you make of your advertising career is completely up to you.
Myth: It’s really hard to get started in advertising.
There are plenty of opportunities for those who want to get started in the field. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get that corner office with a view, the prestigious income and creative control of advertising campaigns with your first job.
There’s a lot of legwork you’re going to have to do. But if you’re serious about your career in the industry, you can break in.
Myth: Working in advertising is just like working in public relations.
These two industries are commonly tagged as being the same profession. While advertising and public relations can go hand-in-hand, their focus is far different. You can use your advertising skills to get a job in PR and vice versa but just because you work in one industry does not mean you automatically know everything there is to the other.
Myth: You’ll finally be able to put all those great ideas to good use.
There’s a certain process to every advertising campaign. Some clients give the advertising agency a basic concept and they let the agency run with it. Some leave everything to the agency’s expertise and let them handle every aspect. Other clients want to be more involved in the agency process.
In most agencies, you’ll have meeting after meeting after meeting about any given ad campaign no matter what department you’re in. You can exercise some of your ideas to an extent but they may not make it to the client.
As part of the agency team, there are many levels of red tape your ideas and even your materials will have to go through before the project will be complete. The great copy you wrote on Tuesday may end up back on your desk with a bunch of changes by Wednesday. You resubmit it Thursday and by Friday you’ve got even more changes.
Most agencies welcome your creative ideas but don’t get your feelings hurt if those ideas are dashed. It’s not personal, it’s just business. The idea you may throw around in a creative meeting may be the complete opposite of what a client has told their Account Executive they want or what was decided in a previous meeting with other execs within your agency.
Myth: It’s a glamorous, fun-filled career. Every day is a day at the beach.
Don’t you love those movies and television shows where the characters work in advertising and they seem to be having so much fun? Bosom Buddies, Thirty-Something, Friends, Nothing in Common, Bounce – these are just some of the examples of shows or movies whose characters have a career in advertising. And that’s just what they are: characters in a fictional story.
Oh yes, it’s great fun to create an ad campaign and it’s rewarding to be a part of the team. However, there are days you will work extremely long hours, even weekends, and there are days your project may do a 180 and everything you previously worked on is now trashed. Sometimes the best days in advertising are the days when that difficult project finally leaves your hands for the last time.