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Commercials on television, ads in newspapers, billboard campaigns, and radio sponsorships: all are forms of advertising, and all are designed somewhere along the line by an advertising agent. Most companies and product sponsors advertise their wares, but few of them actually conceive of the advertisements themselves. Advertising agencies and advertising firms exist for that purpose. An advertising agent is a professional who meets with business clients, analyzes the client’s market needs, and designs an advertising campaign that will help meet the client’s sales goals.
The main job of an advertising agent is to sell advertising. The job is one that requires marketing skills as well as a keen understanding of the relevant environment. An advertising agent must be creative, innovative, and persuasive. The agent must be able to conceptualize an ad or scheme that will both appeal to the client, and captivate the consumer. In many ways, the job of an advertising agent is to bridge the gap between the producer and the consumer.
Most advertising agents work as part of an advertising team housed in an advertising firm. Business clients usually retain the firm to coordinate ads, and the firm then assigns a team of agents to take the case. Advertising firms build reputations based on the number of successful ad campaigns they have launched, and on the success and general recognition of the work in their portfolios. Coining slogans and creating memorable ads are hallmarks of advertising work well done.
An advertising agent’s day-to-day job will depend primarily on the type of advertising his firm engages in. Print ads usually focus on catchy symbols, artwork, or phrases. The advertising agent in this circumstance would work primarily in content generation and layout.
Television ads, on the other hand, focus more on storyline, often encompassing key attributes of a brand or product with techniques like humor or real-life stories. An advertising agent in charge of a television campaign typically devotes most time to brainstorming ideas and selling pitches. Once a client accepts a pitch, it is usually the agent who will then coordinate filming, casting, and overall commercial production.
The Internet is also proving a fertile ground for advertising, and a growing number of advertising agents work in web design and the development of Internet advertising techniques. Some online ads work in conjunction with print ads, such as the development of websites that correlate to products advertised elsewhere. Other forms of web advertising are web-exclusive, such as targeted e-mails, search engine-sponsored links, and ads placed on third-party websites.
Advertising agent duties differ depending on the medium at play, but in all cases the agent must be able to competently research both how to create an effective ad, and also how to market that ad. The types of periodicals and publications in which an ad should run to be effective, for instance, or what time of day a commercial should run — and on what channels — are pieces of successful advertising that the agent is usually responsible for. There is no fixed advertising agent job description that fits all of varied tasks across the advertising spectrum. Advertising agents will generally be successful, however, if they approach problems as a listener, as a researcher, and as a creative thinker.