To be quite honest, I've written posts talking about this before, just ask Me or Restrictions or check our back catalogue, but hey I think it'll be interesting to see what I write with the shitty weeks of work I've been having lately. Just rest assured writing something positive now will probably have backlash later regarding our beloved industry.
So Why does Advertising NOT suck? Well if you past the wide variety of shortcommings offered by advertising and you look deep you can see a few things that make it not suck. Lets take it by numbers and see how far I get before gagging.
1. Even if it's pure shit, people can actually see your work. Regardless of how shitty an ad is, the reality is that if your mom or dad ask what you did at work today, you can flip through a magazine, a newspaper, youtube or a website showing exactly what you did. It might seem silly but it is an opportunity to have your work appreciated (or criticized). But your work doesn't go unnoticed in internal emails, timesheets, excel documents or beloved TPS reports. I've actually had the chance to have an answer to that question staring at me from a billboard and being able to just point and even if it's just an illusion that your work is awesome, people can actually say, wow, Bob's new billboard sucks or rocks. What straight laced white collar job allows you to do that? Exactly.
2. So you work in creative and all your layouts get changed constantly. At least you don't have to do the exact same thing each and every day and are actually required to mix things up. you see, even if the creative you are forced to approve sucks ass, at the very least it can be almost identical to another ad in premise, but should at least have some difference. That's at the maximum level of sucking. When you do make good work, it really stands out, and that's when your job is not the hateful soul sucking activity it regularly is.
3. You are forced to stay actualized. To be a good creative you are actually required to see random shit. Movies, music, websites, memes etc. What other white collar job can you ACTUALLY justify watching a nutshot on youtube? None whatsoever. Work at a bank, at an accounting firm, a law firm, anything and you'll see that those sites can actually be blocked and no amount of forwards can make up for watching whatever the hell you want when you want it.
4. Dress code or lack of one for that matter. Honestly, this is quite the selling point for a lot of people because you don't HAVE to wear a specific type of apparel. Some places are a little more flexible than others, but you have to agree that in comparison to most other jobs, you're really not forced to wear anything remotely resembling a dress code. Trust me, I've gone from khakis and button shirts on presentation days to plaid sweaters and Pearl Jam t-shirts and you're still cool.
5. Variety. For however typical a scenario might seem, the diference from one ad agency to the next is startling in comparison to your average company. Trust me, I've gone to presentations to bank offices, electronics clients, fast food clients and health care buildings and the offices are a lot more homogenous than I'm comfortable with admitting.
6. Your main problem shall probably come from your client. This means that you work in a decent working environ (trust me this is REALLY relative). But after some thinking, I've confirmed that most problems I'm frustrated with are created by insecure micromanaging fuckwad clients rather than the people I work with because even if a CEO wants to change everything, it is probably because of some traumatic experience with a dick client that was having a bad day and took it out on the people presenting (which happens a lot more often than you think).
7.Even if your computer sucks, it'll probably be better than the one your client uses. I've gone to offices that still have computers with Windows 95 (this was 3 years ago, I shit you not).
8. If you're lucky enough, you'll get to travel to a film shoot, a transfer or something actually quite interesting. If you're an art director you have more of a chance of getting invited to shoots because, well you're the art director.
9. Your sense of humor is probably welcome. Being brutally honest, and ad person's sense of humor is about 3 times as nasty as your average professional. Hell we work in creative and constantly want to one-up people regarding a nasty story or fecal description. Absurd analogies are not met with busy telephone faces and people at the very least will get you. Good luck telling the same dick joke at a law party.
10. You WILL meet talented people. In a span of 25 years at a company, I'm quite sure my future father in law has met limited people who are massively talented and diverse. He knows people that know medical information, can maintain a great conversation and sell shit. In advertising you will meet people who should be writing for a living, would be standup comedians, great musicians that just never made it, sculptors and painters, and wonderful actors. you will also meet people that can do what other average people do, but they choose to stick it out in the Ad Biz.
11. You will meet young people that will surprise you with their talent and old people that will surprise you with their relevant insight. I love it when someone constantly says some people are outdated yet those dinosaurs are more creative and insightful than themselves. I also love a Jr. Copywriter saying something in a meeting that was the differentiating factor whether to buy a concept or not. Though there might be some resistance from the sides related, it will be nowhere near as nasty a grudge match as in other industries.
12. You will come in contact with TONS of information. New products that will be released, test screenings, a new car before it's launched and also actual news that really keeps you up to times with what's worked, what's working, and what will work... even if it's speculation. What other job actually requires you to do as random research as advertising? Just do a blog run and see just how much information DOESN'T repeat itself.
13. We look towards the world to see what other people are doing. This seems basic and almost a dumb thing to say but take one moment and really think about it. You see a print layout in Bangkok, one from Bucharest, one from Bombay or New Delhi, Stockholm, London, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro and it's ALL relevant. When was time timesheets from Singapore meant one iota to the existence of any other company?
I could actually keep going but I'll stop at 13 because it's one of my two lucky numbers, the other being 4, but as you can see, though I may be frustrated, dejected, jaded and fed up with stupid situations that piss me off, I'm pretty sure I would be no better at any other place. That's just the way I am until I finally put up, publish a book and can take a breather from the other things that annoy me. But thanks for this post, it actually helps me to cope with my rather lack luster feelings lately. Trust me, I haven't had the funnest run lately and I'm not exagerating when I say that I was one push from quitting last week. So thanks man. I needed to get my shit together.