‘Oh, he is an advertising’.
That’s all my dad would say to his friends about my profession. It doesn’t have the same ‘weight’ as saying that someone is a Rocket Scientist at NASA. Advertising as a profession is not held in great esteem by the general public, understandably so. I guess they do not know enough to form the right impression – they perhaps think its all about glamourous models and bizarre creative ideas. There is also a belief that relatively speaking it is a flaky profession not as ‘important’ or demanding as other professions. Yes, we don’t do serious stuff like finding a cure for cancer but we have enough to be proud of. We do play an important role in the business of creating brands and stimulating the economy. And we have fun while doing that. As mentioned by the authors of the book DraftFCB Ulka Brand Building Advertising Concepts & Cases, the “profession demands so much from so many different talents – psychology to analytics, from strategy to creative and craft of filmmaking to sophisticated media sciences. In a sense it is the ultimate team sport — as demanding, as exciting and as rewarding.”
Forget the outsiders, are industry insiders proud of their own profession? I feel a lot of us tend to deride our profession, always whining about things that are wrong. As George Tannenbaum says hundreds of thousands of ad agency folks curse their profession every day. If we learn to take pride in our profession, every day could be a lot more enjoyable.
Another common aspect within the industry is the hierarchy of disdain. Chances are the ad agency Account Manager looks down upon the PR professional (er…if they ever get to interact with each other). The Creative folks have always had a disdain for the Servicing blokes. And so it goes. There was a time when the Direct Marketing folks in an ad agency were the also-rans. They used to be part of a 4-slide presentation (usually Slides 102-105) towards the end of the pitch presentation. The same syndrome is now apparent in the way Digital professionals are treated today.
So before we seek respect from people outside the industry, let us treat our own and related kind with a bit more respect. PR, Digital, Activation and other related professions have a role to play in brand building – just as important as advertising. Within our own tribe let’s not invent levels of importance – let’s not forget it’s a team sport. And that what goes around comes around.