Dr. Ashwini Ramesh (With inputs from Nivedita U, BA-2021)
Interacting with an advertising professional from Leo Burnett Orchard, students of the National School of Journalism (NSoJ) learnt nuances of the vocation, creativity, identity, and diverse employment opportunities. Ms Vidisha Dave who has worked in various capacities in leading advertising agencies conducted an interactive session on ‘Advertising and its careers’ recently.
Examining advertising agencies and the teams within, Ms. Dave said, “An advertising agency has different teams handling strategy, copy, art, editing, studio and brand management. We have to recognise our strengths and specialise in them to make a career in the niche area of advertising”, she said.
The brainstorming session detailed four vital skills required to jumpstart a career in advertising. The foremost skill is creative writing -which is needed to write ad copies, mailers, brochures, web banners, and various brand communication collaterals. “A creative writer should connect real-life experiences and trends to make the brand communication contextual and relatable with its audience,” Ms Dave said. The second skill is designing - this is to design print or digital ads, web pages, banners, mailers, logos and most importantly, to design elements of brand identity. “A designer should be well versed in using software like Illustrator or Photoshop and should be involved in brand visualization, brand packaging, and provide inputs for studio production along with members of the creative team.” The third skill is strategic thinking - this is needed to build the brand’s personality, position it in the market, and define communication strategy for campaigns. A strategic person should also analyse market trends to route the brand in a strategic direction. And, the fourth skill is good communication - this is to manage teams, decode briefs, build lasting relationships with existing clients, and seek new clients/business opportunities. However, Ms. Dave stressed that “skills can be built over time with experience, but one has to be interested in the stream of work that takes place at a creative agency”.
Top advertising agencies across the globe and the work specifics of leading advertising agencies were explored. Influencer marketing and media buying and employment opportunities were assessed. Ms. Dave elaborated on the medium of creatives used in social media, meme marketing, and topical content.
“Controversies around brands affect them differently. Impact on service brands is higher as compared to product brands. For example, a controversy around a jewellery product brand like Tanishq does not affect that much as people would return to them if they like their jewellery. But, if a controversy strikes service brands in education, banks, hospitals, etc.. people would think twice before returning to them,” Ms. Dave added. Analysis of advertisement themes on social issues, LGBTQ, Covid-19 pandemic, women empowerment was made by citing examples from medium range to premium products.
Most importantly, facets of liberty and creativity became highlights of the technical session. “Agencies have unique work schedules. They do not work on fixed hours or complex arrangements. Work experience is satisfying. Work culture is thriving and young. Practice, patience, and time are fundamentals to work in an advertising agency”, Ms. Dave told students.
Dr Ashwini Ramesh is a faculty member at the National School of Journalism and Public Discourse (NSoJ).