The best time to work in advertising is now (Column)
February 03, 2014 | Nick Dean | Comments
Nick Dean is president of KBS+ Toronto
For those of you who, like me, spent the majority of your formative years in the 90’s, you may recall thinking that music was so much better in the ’60s and ’70s with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones… not recognizing at the time that Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Radiohead were in the midst of a music revolution. A similar parallel exists in advertising now.
Like any industry, advertising can be a true roller-coaster ride of emotions. However, in the thick of pitches, project deadlines, procurement and all the distractions the day-to-day business can throw at you, it’s easy to lose sight of all the positive benefits a career in advertising can offer and it’s only natural to think that the best of this industry is behind us.
As part of AdWeek’s FFWD festivities, I was lucky enough to see a keynote from Momentum chairman and CEO Chris Weil. In his thirty-minute address, Weil spoke passionately about the need for advertising agencies to once again be proud of the industry we work in, the jobs we create and ultimately the positive impact that our advertising has on the economy.
I was reminded why I joined this industry, why I still love it today and why there is no better job in the world than a career in advertising. In an attempt to share some of the wisdom imparted on me, I’ll provide my perspective on what rekindled my sense of pride.
Bar none, advertising is the most creative business in the world. Nowhere else will you find the eclectic mix of business types, artists, writers, builders, inventors and strategists all working side-by-side to solve a client challenge. We are paid to come up with beautiful, shocking, funny, emotional ideas. It’s a true blend of art and science, and many of us would agree that art often reigns supreme.
People outside of this business don’t necessarily understand what it is we do everyday, and I’m often asked what exactly my job entails. The best way for me to explain it is by telling them it’s like a never-ending MBA program. On any given day, we are faced with a new business challenge that clients entrust us to solve strategically and creatively. Each day brings a new brand, a new problem and a new solution. It never gets old and monotony is certainly not part of my job description.
This business forces us to stay fresh and relevant. Empowered young people who bring fresh thinking, fresh perspectives and fresh attitudes to the table surround us everyday. The latest apps, games, social platforms, pop-culture trends and technology are all part of their day-to-day existence, and thus they educate all those around them, making us all that much smarter.
It may scare the heck out of some, but we are all active participants in the next technological revolution. Whether it’s the democratization of manufacturing through 3D printing or the ongoing evolution of wearable tech, a career in advertising encourages us to explore these new areas, to leverage these wonderful developments, and ideally build upon them. Our clients are demanding modern marketing techniques to help them position their brands as leaders and achieve their business objectives. We are encouraged to be makers and inventors, ultimately doing things that have never been done before.
The ultimate goal of advertising is to connect people with brands. It can help them find that perfect designer dress for their wife, that perfect toy for their child, that government service to help better their lives or raise their awareness around a social cause. We are active contributors to society and help push the economy forward.
If you’re not having fun in this business, then you’re doing it all wrong. From burning the midnight oil over pizza and beer to find that killer creative solution, to a full-on Nerf gun death-match on a Friday afternoon. We work hard, and this is handsomely rewarded with the play hard side of the equation.
So, is the best is behind us? Did our predecessors in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s work in the heyday of this industry? Hell no. The best is yet to come and there has never been a more exciting time to be in this business. So, celebrate your career and tell the world you are proud to have a career in advertising. I am.