Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some thoughts on Advertising Schools.

When I was a kid in the business I worked as a copywriter for Bloomingdale's. I literally wrote and produced maybe 15 ads a week. I was with Bloomingdale's for two years. 100 weeks X 15 ads = 1,500 ads.

Before I worked at Bloomingdale's I wrote catalog copy for a shoe company. I probably produced 100 pages a year. Again I was there two years. So I produced 200 pages.

In short, by the time I got my first agency job, I had produced something like 2,000 pages of ads.

Today, kids go to four-year colleges and then often go to two years of graduate school to put their portfolios together. That's fine, I suppose if that's your thing. But to my mind, it's a bit like learning to ride a bike from typewritten instructions. You might be able to do it, but it's infinitely inferior to a hands-on experience.

This is all to say that I worry about the artificiality of our business. Kids paying a fortune to learn how to write ads that can flourish only in a client-less, Unique-selling-point-less, deadline-less universe where the only brief ever considered is "will it win an award"?

Advertising is an expensive proposition for clients. I think my agency bills me out at a rate that would make a well-heeled lawyer blush. I have to provide value for the clients who pay my way. I have to make the ads I do not a 'cost center' but a driver of value.

I'm not sure they teach that in advertising schools either.


Rich Siegel said...

I think we are cut from a similar cloth. I started writing recruitment ads for banks, engineering companies, hospitals, and such. We cranked out 10-15 ads a day. And it took me two years before I could land at real agency job writing ads for fishing lures and hunting rifles.

Today's newbies get hired Monday and expect a promotion by Friday. They can't solve real world problems. That's when most Creative Directors pick up a phone and call me. God bless these kids.

Bukes said...

How many juniors do you hire these days without ad school books?