Why Advertising is the Best Job in Corporate America
By Matt Weiss
Everyone loves to hate the advertising industry.
The TV show "Mad Men" portrays the heyday of advertising as a
men's club of gin-swilling, secretary-exploiting,
self-satisfied white men who live in Connecticut and work in a
bubble surrounded by dim-witted, loyal clients.
I beg to differ. My job is to bring in new business to the
agency -- in my case, McCann Erickson, New York, which
produces work for Intel, MasterCard, the U.S. Army, Verizon
Wireless, L'Oreal, Staples, Weight Watchers and other leading
Advertising might not be as exciting as Man vs. Wild or the
NFL playoffs, but it does provide a career path that is more
stimulating than Wall Street or the law or many white collar
professions. Advertising is a unique combination of art,
creativity, mathematics, industrial psychology, marketing,
media and a host of other disciplines.
Here are seven more reasons to jump into a career in
You can get a film deal. OK, I'm exaggerating, but only
slightly. But the creative environment of advertising does
provide a career path to Hollywood for dozens of writers
and directors every year, from Michael Bay to the guys who
directed the "Cavemen" spots for Geico. The vest
advertising is better than most of the movies and TV shows
out there, and you can get paid accordingly. Until you can
write screenplays for Steve Carrell or create the next
"South Park," you'll be having more fun than should be
Be the next Steve Jobs. The crazy-ass idea you have for
faxing burgers or filling up your car online might just
happen tomorrow. The world of advertising, media, the
Internet and technology is changing so fast that no one can
predict what will happen next month, let alone 10 years
from now. You can change the world. (And it beats changing
Be an outlaw. Renegade thinking and behavior is rewarded.
Are you quirky and full of weird ideas? Are you innovative,
prone to breaking rules, and feel you always see the world
differently than your friends and colleagues? You'll fit in
perfectly at an ad agency.
This is not your parents' career. Advertising is a youthful
business, for people in their 20s and 30s. Your youth is
valuable because you are talking to your peers. You can
text your friends in a meeting and it will be cool.
You'll never be bored. You actually get paid to surf the
net, look at YouTube, talk about "the Office," diss Britney
and Paris, and discuss "American Idol." You're involved in
every aspect of popular culture. You'll think on your feet.
Your lawyer friends will be sick with envy. You will never
have to attend a conference in Brussels.
Leave the suits at your parents' house. The uniform for
creatives is t-shirt and jeans. Even the "suits" -- the
account people -- don't wear suits any more, because they
are expected to be an integral part of the creative
process. In the summer, you can even wear sandals or flip
flops. And there are keg parties on Fridays. Seriously.
You'll be on TV. Your work will be in the world. Your Mom,
your boyfriend or girlfriend, your posse, your kids, they
will all see what you do. If it's good work, people will be
talking about your work on the subway, on blogs, on TV.
Advertising isn't brain surgery or rocket science, but it
makes an impact. You can be a player. And you?ll never have
to wear plaid pants or go near a golf course.
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