Do graduates find advertising an attractive option?

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Small Agency Diary asks the question, ‘Is advertising still attractive to college graduates?‘. The article talks of tremendous enthusiasm for the advertising business from entry-level graduates and the steps that need to be taken to reach out to them.

In India, while a few agencies recruit from campus, there is no hardwired process to attract the right talent from schools. A lot of it is left to the reputation the agency name enjoys – that is the magnet that attracts graduates. Agencies that are in the limelight at awards and whose campaigns get spoken about usually find favour. The creative output, naturally becomes the memory hook. Not much is seen in media about the thinking that goes behind campaign development. There was a time when the advertising business was seen as a way to hobnob with glamourous models. Those days are gone. Yet, for the prospective entry level graduate the advertising business is still fun and glamourous in way. It is a chance to be involved in creating fun ads – ads that get talked about. In any case, advertising is one business which is always in the public eye. And everyone is an expert in it. Ads that get popular plant the thought of ‘hey, that was fun – doing such stuff will be even more fun’ in the minds of prospective students.

The operational stuff that the entry level graduates need to put in is often not highlighted and can lead to some angst in the real world. Those that are aware of planning or have a bent of mind for planning have a relatively easier time than the Account Executives. Apart from the ‘dogswork’ the other dampener is the entry level package. The industry needs to collectively address these two aspects. The creative hot shots and CEO’s hog all the limelight in media. The poor AE is hardly celebrated. Apart from showcasing the creative work during campus recruitment, agencies need to spell out roles at entry level clearly (if they don’t do it already). Agency blogs is another tool that can be popularised and the effort of AEs showcased. Industry awards like Effies also present an opportunity to showcase the planning that goes behind communication. The wide coverage of our Cannes 2008 wins will also go a long way in making the industry more attractive. Maybe even an industry-wide recruitment campaign, a la ‘Join the Army’. Why not? Practical issues of under what aegis will the campaign run (AAA of I?), who will sponsor it etc., this is worth considering.

In my experience, graduates in India do find advertising an attractive option. They come all wide-eyed hoping to get a piece of the action in creative development. If they are limited to chasing art works & bills they do get disappointed. Given the moaning about lack of talent, thank our stars that the industry has not lost its shine – at least for the graduates.

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