View Full Version : Need Info from anyone who works or has worked in advertising

Appalachian Writer
01-09-2007, 03:39 AM
I have a character who works in a NYC advertising firm. I worked in advertising some time ago, like years and I need current info, lingo etc.
The last time I wrote advertising copy, the agency was still using computers as word processors only. HELP!
And thanks in advance,

01-09-2007, 05:32 AM
Are you asking if agencies do the art on computers, the asnwer is yes.

01-09-2007, 06:28 AM
It might be helpful to learn the language with the "immersion" method. Read current and back issues of the trade mags to the industry, like Ad Week and Advertising Age (online.) Go to the big ad agency websights and troll around.
You'll get a good sense of how things may/may not have changed, how the terminology differs, the position titles they hold, etc.

Appalachian Writer
01-09-2007, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. A big scene in my book involves pitching to a potential client, a multi-million dollar account. Anyone able to tell me how that's done these days? I could really use your input.

01-09-2007, 04:46 PM
I'd offer to help but when I worked in advertising we still used TYPEWRITERS!!!! We had just begun to use word processors on a very minimal basis when I left.

01-09-2007, 04:56 PM
What kind of position does your character hold? Copy-writer, Media Buyer, producer - creative/art director, production artist?

Appalachian Writer
01-09-2007, 05:59 PM
She's just been promoted to Advertising Exec and is pitching a new ad campaign to her first big client. How would she do that?

01-09-2007, 08:57 PM
I worked in pharmaceutical advertising. An account manager wouldn't pitch a new ad campaign to her first big client. The big client would send out an RFP -- request for proposals. A bunch of agencies would scramble to come up with campaigns, often working long hours and weekends (the RFP would usually come with little warning and short deadlines). All the agencies would pitch, and the client would select one.

However, you could have an existing client, for whom the agency has already done past work, with a new product or just requesting a new ad campaign.

01-09-2007, 09:24 PM
Now, this is just a guess. I went to college for Advertising and Graphic Design, but that was before the computer age. This is my take on what the scene would look like:

I would imagine an advertising pitch would be done on a projector that's hooked up to a computer. Somehow I don't see a person standing at the front of the room with big bristol boards anymore.

She would be in charge of a team that handles the different aspects of the campaign: print, tv commercials, etc. and they would all work to put together a campaign.

Perhaps a multimedia presentation with graphics, bites from potential television commercials, samples of print ads, narration and everything - the 'pitcher' sits back and lets the execs watch the show, then he or she takes questions. High tech, Vern...

Am I waaaay off base?

01-09-2007, 09:28 PM
I have been in marketing for the publishing and financial industries for awhile and have worked with many ad agencies. Illiterwrite is right-- I am assuming that this BIG client is an existing one, and that she's just presenting a new advertising campaign to a client that they've represented before. Our companies usually had a multi-million dollar contract with just one agency, and different teams from the agency pitched all our campaigns. Usually it's a team of people that presents to a client (art director, copywriter, account manager). They will include boards with snippets of art, PMS colors, possible slogans, radio/tv scripts... and mock-ups of brochures, posters, other marketing tools. Sometimes they will include several options. They will identify how this ties in to the client's existing branding. They will include a file with financials/timelines. The presenter(s) will explain their reasons for coming up with such a campaign and how they think it will position and impact the client. When the presentation is complete, the client will usually take away the information and deliberate on it in private, move things around, tweak them, and sometimes (sadly) throw them back to the drawing board.

What else can I tell you??? Well, those are the basics, at least!

01-09-2007, 09:36 PM
I would imagine an advertising pitch would be done on a projector that's hooked up to a computer. Somehow I don't see a person standing at the front of the room with big bristol boards anymore.

Am I waaaay off base?

Not off base, I am sure some companies do that, but mine all did it the old fashioned way. I prefer having the presentation done to me in person. You can actually SEE the PMS colors exactly the way they'll be, hold the paper stock they're planning to use... and really get a sense of the presenter's stake in and enthusiasm for the project (because if your agency isn't excited at the beginning, they NEVER will be). Some things seem to get lost in hi-tech :) Sure, a presenter might include a small "movie" in their presentation, but I would still like us all to be in a room together...

Appalachian Writer
01-09-2007, 09:59 PM
Thank you. I pretty much had the same idea. I missed the air projector. I want it to be personal. My character HAS to meet the other main character during this pitch. I only have one other person in the room from the agency. She's a copy writer. Do you think that I need additional characters to represent the agency? I also thought this might be first pitch to the company, but after talking to you guys, I think I'll make this first pitch for the new product, an effort to keep the company in the agency's fold. Do you think this scenario sounds plausible?

01-12-2007, 12:19 AM
My two cents, from working at both a huge Chicago agency and now at a small Raleigh agency: you definitely want to be in the room together, with a personal, human contact element, but most everything these days IS done via computer/projector/Powerpoint, at least as a reference. Also depends on the type of client (high tech vs. low tech, big $ vs. modest budget). Don't want the client to think you're blowing all their budget just on the presentation. You could pitch a new campaign to an existing client for a new product, to reposition and existing product, or even an "image" campaign that's just about the personality of the company and what it makes/sells in general. The creatives (at most, the writer, art director and creative director--at least, the creative director) would present the actual work, while the account exec would handle the setup, recommendations, wrap-up, discussions, etc. Doubtful there'd be any research or media people involved at this level--only when the campaign is closer to being produced and the media being placed. As for the client, you'd usually see 1-3 people from their end, unless this is a "preliminary" meeting that has to clear a hurdle or two before going to the "higher ups" within the client's company. As a courtesy, most client pitches are on their turf, though occasionally we present to clients in our own office, if it's better for their schedule or if our technology is more conducive. Hope this helps!

Appalachian Writer
01-15-2007, 04:44 PM
Thanks for your advice. My girl is doing fine. I did promote a copy writer to creative director. Was that cool? Could that happen?

01-16-2007, 12:41 AM
Sure--that's how I got there. The CD (industry slang) could still BE the copywriter on a project. My agency is so small, I'm the CD and I do most of the writing. But even in a large agency, the CD would still have some involvement in the creative product, writing as much as he/she had time for...

Keep in mind, unless your character's a superstar creative who's being rewarded for a breakout campaign or something, she probably wouldn't make CD much before age 30, and more likely 30+.

pink lily
01-23-2007, 06:32 PM
I worked in the telemarketing department at a country radio station in 1990. We used the computer to plug in phone book entries to our script. Then we'd mock up a sample commercial, call the potential client, play the mock ad for him while reading aloud the name of his company, telling him that the announcer would say this in the final produced version.

It worked very well.

But it's nothing like your character's proposed giant deal. The only similarity might be that the advertising agent has already worked hard on the mock-up so it's pretty much ready to deliver to production if the client buys.