Like it or not, advertising is essential to our society. Without it, our lives would be very different. Without all of the money advertising brings in, we would have to drastically change how we do business. Facebook: runs on advertising. Snapchat: also runs on advertising. Anything online that’s free: advertising. It isn’t always a bad thing. PR moves, like Morgan Stanley donating to charities every quarter, are a form of advertising that helps people, even though Morgan Stanley gets a nice tax deduction from it.
When I was 10 years old, I saw a countdown of the best Super Bowl ads of all time. The first one that I saw was the Mean Joe Green Pepsi spot. Immediatly I felt like I was that kid, and that did something to me. The older I got, the more marketing started to interest me, and now here we are. I love advertising because 1) I like a decent amount of the design and creativity that goes into the good ones 2) I’m fascinated by the ones that work and 3) It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a living for years. Clever ads, the ones that make you think, the ones that make you feel something, those are the ones that make advertising worth while for me. Any asshole who got an A in English can write a shitty ad, but to make something truly great, you have to leave your head, and get into the mind of the customer. I always thought that was so cool: to learn about how other people live and the things that would make their lives better so I can make them things they want to watch, so they can buy things that could help. Now that’s an idealistic way of thinking, I know, but I want to make that a reality.
I’ve always considered myself a decent writer, but the more I write, the more I look back on the work I’ve done and think “What the fuck is this? What was the strategy here? Why would the target demo even look at this?” Maybe that’s growth, maybe it’s just looking at my work with a fresh set of eyes, maybe I do suck. I’m sure I’ll look at all of the articles and scripts I’ve written, the print ads I’ve made, and even some of the display ads, and think they’re all terrible. The point here is this: advertising, if done right, has the potential to help people, to make them feel differently, even if for a second or two. That’s powerful to me. That’s why I love advertising. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a copywriter.
I’ve always had this fantasy of what my life in advertising would be like; working long hours on projects that challenge me creatively, working with other like-minded people my age who like to work hard and play harder, having to suck it up and deal with clients who are stuck in their ways in order to make things that stick out. I’d stumble into work at 9, pour myself a cup of coffee that I don’t have to pay for, and spend the next 4 or 5 hours writing, then going to meetings to brainstorm potential ideas for campaigns. I’ve never worked in advertising, but thinking about what it would be like is a lot more appealing than my shitty minimum wage job slinging coffee and bad food (which really could be done by a vending machine and an oven)
I’m not trying to convince anyone that advertising is an ethical, morally-conscious profession. I’m just trying to show people another way of thinking, one that might open their minds a little. I’m also hoping that if any Creative Directors see this blog, they’ll think of me next time there’s a copywriting position open.