why i got into advertising & other stories

Maurice Levy, chairman of Publicis, always seems to pop up with a quote or two that catches my attention, and today is no different. AdPulp is on scene with the usual juice on a Fast Company story that profiles Levy’s efforts to merge the targeted world of “marketing” with the creative world of “advertising.”

Of course, the thing that stuck out to me was Levy’s reason for getting into the ad business: “to chase skirt.”

He pulled that off with Gallic flair, I am sure.

What Levy is really saying, of course, is that advertising has a certain allure that sets it apart from other professions. It is a line of work that people think is glamorous, desirable and, to use an industry-ism, aspirational. He is not the only one to have wanted to be a part of the ad game because it seemed like it would get more envious glances than other careers. Why?

The 30-second TV spot.

Even a so-so spot these days, like Goodby’s for Sprint, is well-shot has high production values and slick editing:

As Tangerine Toad notes, shooting a commercial like this means a chance to go Hollywood and a chance to vicariously experience the glamor of the film industry. It means the Four Seasons and kicking around a film set. It means fancy dinners and drinks and a chance to see a movie star or two.

It is happening less often as TV is replaced by other tactics, specifically interactive, that entail less glamorous production.

And then what do you do to attract the top talent into advertising?

Perhaps interactive, specifically web videos, will demand the same type of production as your typical TV spot, and that will inject some of the old time glamor back into the business. Perhaps advertising will hold its own as MBAs become like undergraduate degrees and creative-types get methodologied and processed out of other fields. Perhaps the next great wave of creative thinking will change the industry as we know it and attract top talent because there is so much opportunity.

But I think that it is going to come down to salary.

You get what you pay for and, for a while now, advertising hasn’t been able to pay top dollar and has gotten on based on its reputation. But with Googles of the world now have a reputation of their own, and they pay a lot more, so the thought of scratching along in Manhattan trying to make it on a Madison Avenue devoid of swanky TV shoots when you could be doing well in sunny California at a hot, young, creative company just isn’t that appealing.

But it could be if it paid enough.


3 responses to “why i got into advertising & other stories

  1. So what made you get into this field?

  2. Could not agree with you more, DB.
    This has been a constant drumbeat of mine, even though I’ve been mocked by the editors at Ad Age for it.
    But creative salaries have dropped precipitously over the past 5-10 years.
    And handing stuff over to a flash guru doesn’t really hold a candle to shooting a TV spot.
    Lack of TV isn’t what’s affecting the pay scale though- it’s the holding companies and the disappearance of the 15% commission.
    But we need to do something to make advertising sexy again.

  3. I got into advertising because a family member in the business told me that I would like it. I learned something about it, talked my way into an internship, and liked it enough (was so thankful to have a fun job) to continue.

    I had also heard that ad men got all the girls.

    In truth, the investment bankers get all the girls, but investment bankers have a lot less fun.

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