I've been a Creative in Advertising for about 3 years now. While this means I am in no way an expert, it does mean I've learned a lot. A. LOT.
I get the feeling that starting in Advertising is like being a newborn: No matter how much you've been prepared for the real world, you find yourself unable to speak the language, unable to take a step on your own, and for some reason there's a lot of drool going on. But you learn. You learn FAST.
Lately I've been trying to put into definite terms just what I've learned about Advertising while actually being IN it. And I think I've come up with a pretty good list. Some things are big picture, some things aren't. But all are important. So I share them with you.
25 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Creative
1. Most importantly: Do NOT wear heels on your first day of work. That day will involve a lot of walking, and possibly a lot of stairs. Stairs you could fall down.
2. You will never get as much time to work on an ad as you did in school.
3. If you don’t know how to do something or know what an acronym means, ask. No one will think you’re dumb, they’ll just think you’re new. Which you are.
4. So. Many. Acronyms. (SMA?)
5. Always ask about timing. When should your Creative Director see rough ideas? When do you present to the client?
6. There is a lovely area between making an expected ad, and making an ad that scares the hell out of every client you meet. That area is where your spots will sell. It takes a while to figure out where that area is.
7. Ask your CD for examples of past work so you know what kind of format you’re working with, and what the standard is (so you can break it, of course.)
8. You’re excited about your idea. The client is excited about how that idea will make their brand look awesome. Always play your presentation to that.
9. Technically, your ad might not be a huge campaign and doesn’t need ‘legs.’ But you should always think and create like it does.
10. No one wants to be fired for trying something crazy and watching it fail. If you bring a super new idea to them, you’re going to need reasoning to back up why it’s fail-safe and/or why it’ll make their boss jump with excitement.
11. Your Creative Director is your friend.
12. Your Creative Director is your boss.
13. Don’t forget either of those.
14. Your idea will go through a billion people’s hands. Do not expect it to come out unscathed.
15. Sometimes you’ll work on international campaigns. Sometimes you’ll design coupons. Right now, your job is to suck it up and do the best you can. No matter how many times you’ve read Hey Whipple.
16. Record your hours. Record what client and project you are working on and for how long, every day. HR will tell you what to do from there. It’s how the agency knows how much to bill each client.
17. Just because everyone in the office wears jeans does not mean you can spend your day on Facebook.
18. Everyone in the office wears jeans.
19. Sometimes you can spend a little time on Facebook.
20. What you think is a short, concise ad is probably a two-minute long, over-complicated piece. Make it shorter and simpler.
21. Have confidence in your ad. If you don’t, no one else will either.
22. When you bring two spots you love and one you think is okay, they WILL choose the okay one.
23. You have to learn when to speak up, and when to smile and nod. No one can teach that, but watch for the Evil Eye from your CD.
24. Make yourself invaluable. Young people can be fired, too.
25. The best thing you can do to ensure your survival in the industry is to be passionate about it. If you don’t care about advertising, no one will be passionate about you.