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The right choice, baby!!!

ARE YOU looking out for a career that enhances your creativity, gives your imagination a free reign, a flourish to your writing? Can you translate your ideas into catchy visual formats? Then advertising is a medium that you will let you do all that and more.

Advertising plays a significant role in today's competitive world. A career in advertising is creative and challenging with lashings of glamour and a lucrative salary thrown in. It is an ideal profession for a creative individual who can handle a pressured work experience.

Advertising serves three basic purposes. To persuade people to buy a particular product or service, to create a positive image of the company or organisation and finally to inform people about matters of public interest, create awareness and attempt to influence social attitudes on issues of general concern.

Attributes

One should have a keen interest in social and economic trends, know the pulse of the consumer and the communication skills to express it; a spirit of teamwork; an ability to withstand the high stress of an extremely competitive work environment, an ability to handle unjustified criticism, innovativeness and originality and above all a great sense of humour which will help you take setbacks in your stride.

When we think of advertising, the first thing that comes to mind is copy writing. Copywriters work with the creative department, which is responsible for conceptualising and designing advertisements. The copywriter evolves a theme for the campaign and provides the text for advertisements. This may include slogans, jingles, scripts and promotional literature as also scripts for television and film commercials. Besides copywriting there are other areas in advertising that have equally bright opportunities.

Client servicing: Client servicing is the department that handles the client's requirements and liaises between client and agency. Those in client servicing must therefore interact with clients, collate information, oversee research where necessary, gauge consumer attitudes and based on this, work along with the various departments to formulate the most appropriate and effective advertising strategy within the specified budget. Management graduates are preferred for this kind of work.

Account executives: In advertising parlance business with each client is referred to as an `account' and each such account is assigned to a team of people headed by an account executive. The account executive supervises his team, drawn from all departments while planning, scheduling and executing the assignment.

Media executives: The media executive identifies the appropriate media, location or time slots for advertisements, keeping in mind the target audience as well as the budget. A degree in advertising & mass communication or in management with specialisation in marketing is a prerequisite. Computer literacy is an important attribute for personnel in the media department.

Researchers: The job of a researcher is to collect information on consumer preferences, market trends and existing competition. Doing such kind of market research involves project planning, designing questionnaires, and interviewing people as also compilation of data and its interpretation and analysis. Market research specialists need to be good at statistics, or have a background in psychology or behavioural sciences.

Most advertising agencies recruit people typically with a management or advertising degree. However, in smaller agencies it is still possible to join as a fresher with a degree in humanities and spend about six months to year learning on-the-job. Most agencies prefer MBA's for posts in market research, client servicing and media planning departments, although a BA in economics is also acceptable. In the creative side besides a degree a command of the language is a mandatory requirement for all copywriters. Some creative talent and a qualification in commercial art from a reputed design or art school is necessary for entrance into the art department.

With advertising dictating almost every aspect of our lives, is it any wonder if a youngster dreams of this field being his `right choice'?

TINA MARIAM JACOB

tina.mas@cnkonline.com

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