Articulating exactly what you want your future to look like – that can be incredibly difficult sometimes. In a recent seminar course, I was tasked with the challenge of laying out my path but I was surprised with how confident I became with what I pictured after graduation.
We were asked to identify three different career possibilities that blend our life passions with our advertising degree. We were to explain why each path appeals to us and how the companies chosen would help us achieve our goals. We had to think about what type of work we are drawn to, the company’s growth and reputation, culture, and also how the company fits into our long-range career goals.
It was originally the copywriting in a Purina pet food that sold me on advertising. I have always enjoyed creative writing exercises as well as creating art from all media, so a career in advertising seemed like a perfect fit. Now that I’m learning more about the industry, I’ve come upon a new challenge. It seems the likelihood of getting a job in copywriting is poor unless I go to portfolio school. My contacts within the larger agencies have all warned me that without going to Miami Ad School, Creative Circus, or VCU my portfolio will be a step below other applicants. Although I was disappointed, I realized the big ideas that spark the creative brainstorming come from the account planning department. I’m eager to learn more about this potential avenue for my future. I’ve also been encouraged to pursue content management after a yearlong internship with a digital marketing consulting firm. I’ve loved strategizing and analyzing social media efforts of big and little companies.
I’m hoping to learn as much as possible about each of the three avenues, Social Media Management, Copywriting, and Strategy. Fortunately, there are four advertising agencies that not only offer positions in these departments; they all have a reputation of positive cultures, progressive strategies, and loyal accounts. Their client rosters each have a strong presence of the industries I’m drawn to. Travel, Media and Technology, as well as Food and Beverage accounts peak my interest the most. They are all located in New York City, the advertising capitol of the world, and the place I’d like to call home.
Grey is a full-service agency known most recently for their extensive collection of Cannes Lions. Since 1917, they have been building some of the world’s most recognized brands. Their focus is to accelerate the potential of their client’s brands with powerful creative ideas across all touch points.1
Right now, they are actively expanding their strategy department, seeking a strong, quick thinker who is self-motivated, and proactively pushing ideas forward.2
They must be inquisitive, and driven to use data as a tool for creative inspiration. In order to excel in this position, I must have the confidence to juggle multiple assignments while naturally providing leadership with clients and internal teams. I’ll have to be a strong communicator and a great storyteller. I think, upon graduation, I would be a perfect candidate for this position, and I would hope to work with travel clients such as Finnair, Emirates Air, the British Council, or perhaps technology companies like Motorola, Pandora, and Cannon.3
Grey, and the guidance of my alumnus contacts within the agency, have been a huge part of my goal development. Sarah and Joey have been my trailblazers, not only for finding success in the industry, but also for fighting for opportunities while still in college. They’ve helped me set higher goals for myself and push myself harder to stand out. They encourage their brands to think similarly. If I had the opportunity to work at Grey, I would be able to push my accounts and myself forward towards insights and innovation that will ignite their brand.
Another agency with a long-standing reputation is McCann Erikson. This agency was founded in 1902 and focuses on digital communication, customer relationship management, and experimental marketing.4 I had the privilege of meeting with this agency and experiencing their culture first hand. I felt welcomed and instantly felt a genuine connection with the account managers. They were engaged and curious about my life and my plans moving forward. I can only assume their accounts are treated as well.
McCann is actively seeking a copywriter to create a central advertising direction for global campaigns. The new copywriter will uphold McCann’s believes that work must be collaborative, passionate, and creative and support diversity in order to exceed client expectations.5
My first job would be to develop and produce creative concepts through execution on assigned brands. I would be helping to determine a written expression for the advertising. I must contribute to layout and storyboard development with the creative teams and maintain quality control in every step of the process. Again, this position demands excellent storytelling skills as well as the ability to present and speak confidently. A creative portfolio will be expected, showcasing my own brand concepts and campaigns. If McCann saw this potential in me, I would like to work with food clients like General Mills, Jose Cuervo, or Nespresso. This company also has a great list of technology accounts like Microsoft, Verizon and Nikon.6
From local to global, Mcgarrybowen’s team of 800 have passionately grown brands from all categories through all channels of communication.7 Having only been founded in 2002, they have been quite successful, while still remaining a sense of humility. This quality could be felt when hearing any of the employees talk about Mcgarrybowen as a brand. They promote passionate ideas, believing in the talent and ambition within the agency, collaboration from all corners, and personal growth through mentorship and leadership. For these reasons, I would love the opportunity to be a Jr. Copywriter at Mcgarrybowen.8
The expectation for this new copywriter would be high. I would be responsible for ideas and writing for simple layouts for one or more general advertising accounts. I must be quick to adapt to different strategies and formats while being able to think across all types of media. I would have to be independent but still confident in my team building skills. It takes an extremely self-motivated, well organizes person to be a copywriter for the Mcgarrybowen accounts. I believe I have what it takes to elevate brands like Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Kraft Heinz, Marriott International, Disney and United Airlines.9
While I think the other agencies would help me grow as an advertiser, I think Mcgarrybowen would also help me grow in character. You can tell this modest agency won’t soon lose sight of its goals. The very first prop used in their very first campaign is still sitting right in the lobby to serve as a reminder. They’ve got a lot more growing to do, and they wouldn’t have come this far without the enthusiasm and courage of their original three owners. I think being surrounded by such brilliant and successful people, who value humility would be a great example for me.
J. Walter Thompson is another globally recognized marketing communications brand that has been igniting brands since 1864. They produced the first ever TV commercial in 1939 and have only maintained that reputation for leading edge content.10
They creative pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business by adopting a unique set of principles. The 4 C’s: curiosity, collaboration, capability and courage best embody the traits of the agency, the work they produce, and the aspects they seek in new hires. They are looking to grow their Social Media Managers, particularly in San Francisco, but I could potentially relocate to New York after proving to be an asset to the agency.11 My job would be to produce content for publication to the company website and social media platforms. Between content creation, maintenance, and editing, I would be helping elevate their brands across the digital plane. I would be distributing information for email blasts, newsletters, and databases as well.
Whether in New York or San Francisco, I would feel right at home within the culture of the agency. They encourage teamwork, inquisitiveness, the pursuit of new knowledge, and the realization that the difficult solution could be the best. I was personally very concerned with the collaboration aspect across departments. I was afraid if I committed to strategy, I would never be able to contribute a creative idea again. They reassured me that great ideas come from all corners of the agency.12
These agencies aren’t just global leaders or industry icons; they are groups of people who love what I love. They all show a genuine appreciation for their employees as well as their clients. You can tell because some of these accounts have been loyal for decades, and some of these executives have tried to leave but keep coming back. It takes passion, extraordinary work, sincere relationships, and enthusiasm for improvement to have such retention. I’d be lucky to work with any of these agencies, and I hope to contribute to the next Lion winning campaign.