Day in the life of
Advertising Manager – Anthony Mixides
I began my career at some very large and mid-sized agencies, and continue to work with agencies as a freelancer. Most of my friends are people I met at those first agencies – we endured a lot and, as Stephen said, worked and played hard. We grew up together, and nobody understands us the way we do.
What I liked best about working at larger agencies is the incredible knowledge you amass – about a variety of industries as well as in-depth marketing, demographics, psychographics, you name it, you learn it.
I didn’t mind the all-nighters as long as they weren’t a once-a-week event. The better agencies try to keep them to a minimum, but you’re always working into the evening in any case. Then it’s off to unwind – which is why you don’t get in until later in the morning.
I also liked the fact that advertising, unlike many other businesses, has awards for creative work. Even though the awards are relatively meaningless they are a great way to get together with people from other agencies to compete, network, and just have a lot of fun.
The other factor is that ad agencies tend to be insular, so you get to know just about everybody in advertising in your city or area. That can be a good and bad thing, but IMHO mostly good. Leave one job for another agency, and before long your old colleagues will be working with you again 🙂
The casual atmosphere is a benefit, as well. We creatives never got dressed up unless we had a client meeting or just felt like it. Some agencies have an “agency dog” to play with; others have games to help break the tension.
You should look into the chemistry of the people who work there. A lively, happy, creative crew will make even the worst clients and deadlines bearable. Seek out agencies whose current work is similar to your own sense of style and humor; otherwise, you could be fighting uphill battles.
The thing I liked least about agency work was the amazing approval layers. Every idea had to go through a supervisor, then the creative director, then the account people, and in some cases, the upper management — before it ever got to the client. As a result, many of the edgier, breakthrough ideas never saw the light of day. As a freelancer, I’m now free to show my clients all of my work, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the client often will “buy it” after all.
Turnover at agencies is fairly high, because creatives love to look for new experiences and, as was mentioned above, a bad economy can lead to layoffs as ad budgets are cut. If you’re slightly edgy and snarky, a good team player, confident and funny, you might like agency work a lot.
plan, direct, or coordinate advertising policies and programs or produce collateral materials, such as posters, contests, coupons, or giveaways, to create extra interest in the purchase of a product or service for a department, an entire organization, or on an account basis.