Ad School or Placement?

I'm in a dilemna. I want to break into advertising and am not sure how to go about it.
I have a BA in Graphic Design and have been introduced to Advertising.
I looked up some advertising MA courses,in London and the USA, and found them very expensive.
I'm thinking that since the MA Advertising course parallels life in a real agency, wouldn't I be better off seeking an industry placement instead?
or maybe short courses, workshops (as a cheaper alternative).

5 comments

CC3's picture
CC3
734 pencils

Your situation is not unique.
Bottom line is no school or course of study will teach you to be good. You need to work on that yourself. An ad school can give you faux challenges to create ads from and show you how to construct a book which is all well and good but, if I can be so bold, here is the advice I would offer up:

1. Create a book. Take the most boring and mundane products and services and make great ads for them. Make me care about a kitchen sponge or thumb tacks or even spray paint. If you can make the ordinary extraordinary you are on your way.

2. Learn everything you can about printing, photography and color theory. The technical nitty gritty is the devil in the details. You can come up with the coolest idea in the world but if you don't know how bring it to fruition...

3. Get into an agency and then take every crap job off the writers and art directors desk and make them great. I had an ok book and lied my ass off to get an agency job as a production guy. But once I was in, I busted my ass learning and taking the jobs that no one wanted just to demonstrate to the creatives that I could do good work. In six months of doing that I went from production guy to Jr. AD and so on and so on. You get out of this what you put into this.

4. Be prepared to be crapped on. Your first few books will suck - guaranteed. Yes, I said BOOKS. Meet with the folks who work you admire. Call them. Get a meeting. Yes, just call. You'll be surprised how many CD's are willing to take time to meet with upcoming folks. Take all feedback positively even the really arrogant shitty humiliating kind. This biz is tough, if you can't hack someone tearing your book apart think about a safer profession, like working the complaints department at the DMV.

The point is this, if you want to work in this biz first have your head checked. As Ogilvy said, "there are easier ways to make money." But if you have had the misfortune of catching this dreadful ad bug, strive to be the best. 80% of the folks in this biz are hacks and short timers doing nothing but creating bad work for bad clients and making excuses for doing so. Be great. Not good, GREAT.

To quote Leo Burnett "Reach for the stars; you might not grab one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud, either.

Good luck to you

Good is the enemy of great.

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Good is the enemy of great.

idyeah's picture
idyeah
29 pencils

I agree with CC3, 100% It's a mad, bad, sad ad world out there; cold and brutal, thankless and ruthless. You have to be strong, or try selling peanuts if you are a cry baby. I tell people to start looking for a 9-5 job if they just want to punch in punch out. Yes, advertising is a 9-5-9 cycle, very much. My day starts at 5 in the morning and ends at 9 in the evening. And then, before I realise, I am back to work again for that big idea which was lost in the din of the day. And then it's 9 to 5 again.

Cheers!

idyeah-make sense

ExNihilo's picture
ExNihilo
47 pencils

Thanks to you too idyeah :) selling peanuts huh?

ExNihilo's picture
ExNihilo
47 pencils

CC3, thanks for this great answer. It makes a lot of sense.
You seem like a respected creative. I read some of your posts here, your comments are always right on.
I'n wondering if you'd mind taking a look at my portfolio, once I'm done with it?

CC3's picture
CC3
734 pencils

Let me know when your in a good spot with your book, I'd be happy to take a look.

Good is the enemy of great.

---------------------
Good is the enemy of great.

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